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Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Here, you can find free sustainability lessons to use in your class and upload your own lessons to share. Be sure to rate the lessons you use and leave comments for your colleagues!

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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

What Are We Wasting?

Lesson Description:
  • Identify and describe how an individual’s action in regards to waste management can affect change and improve the environment.
  • Measure and compare the weight of objects.
  • Find the mean (e.g., average) for a given set of data.
  • Locate the position of a positive number on a number line.
  • Conduct a simple investigation and draw logical conclusions.

Lesson Type:
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

Time Needed:
Collection of trash throughout the day, 30 minute session at the end of the day
Standards Addressed:
Geography Standard 16: Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources.
  • Benchmark # 5: Know advantages and disadvantages of recycling and reusing different types of materials.

Geography Standard 18: Understand global development and environmental issues.
  • Benchmark # 2: Know ways in which resources can be managed and why it is important to do so (e.g., conservation practices, recycling non-renewable resources).

Mathematics Standard 3: Use basic and advanced procedures while performing the process of computation.
  • Benchmark # 1: Multiply and divide whole numbers.
  • Benchmark # 8: Solve real world problems involving number operations.

Mathematics Standard 4: Understand and apply the basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement.
  • Benchmark # 3: Know the basic standard units (e.g., ounces, pounds, liters, grams) and relationships between them (e.g. between ounces and pounds).

Mathematics Standard 6: Understand and apply the basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
  • Benchmark # 1: Understand that data represents specific pieces of information about real-world objects or activities

Science Standard 12: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  • Benchmark # 3: Plans and conducts simple investigations.
  • Benchmark # 4: Use appropriate tools (e.g., scales) to gather scientific data and extend the senses.

Language Arts Standard 8: Use listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
  • Benchmark # 3: Respond to questions and comments (e.g., gives reasons in support of opinions).

Materials Needed:
  • Kitchen trash bags, one per student
  • Latex gloves
  • Old newspapers
  • Data Collection worksheet provided
  • Pencils
  • Scale

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools