Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.

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!

All of GEF's lessons and programs are offered at no cost.  Become a member to support GEF and enjoy member only benefits! 
Join button_03

Professional Development

GEFinstitute LOGO_WEB GEF Institute offers affordable, online sustainability courses eligible for professional development or academic credit.
Give your resume a boost!

Sponsor a Teacher

Support educators in your community by helping them earn a Certificate in Sustainability or take an online course. Find out more about sponsorship!
Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Pre K-K: Reduce Your Trash

Lesson Description:
  • Explain the need to reduce the amount of trash they generate, and describe ways in which they can make changes in their actions to support waste reduction.
  • Measure and compare the weight of common objects using non-standard units of measure.
  • Collect, record, and interpret data using a variety of graphic representations.
  • Analyze collected data and draw logical conclusions.
  • Use graphic representations to communicate their ideas and inform their audience about their actions to reduce waste.

Lesson Type:
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

Time Needed:
30-40 minutes per day for one week
Standards Addressed:
Technology Standard 3: Understand the relationship among science, technology, society and the individual.
  • Benchmark # 3: Know that man-made materials, products and systems can affect the environment adversely, yet there are things that can be done to circumvent this process (e.g., disposing of waste properly, reusing objects, recycling, reducing the amount of trash created, composting, shopping green, buying in bulk).

Science Standard 12: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  • Benchmark # 1: Know learning can come from careful observation and simple experiments.
  • Benchmark # 2: Know that tools (e.g., balance scales) can be used to gather information and extend the senses.

Mathematics Standard 2: Understand and apply basic and advanced properties of the concepts of numbers.
  • Benchmark # 3: Understand symbolic, concrete, and pictorial representations of numbers.
  • Benchmark # 4: Understand basic whole number relationships (e.g., 4 is less than ten).

Mathematics Standard 3: Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation.
  • Benchmark # 2: Solve real world problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers.

Mathematics Standard 6: Understand and apply the basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
  • Benchmark # 1: Collect and represent information about objects or events in simple graphs (e.g., tally charts, picture graphs).

Language Arts Standard 8: Use listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
  • Benchmark # 1: Make contributions in class and group discussions.
  • Benchmark # 2: Ask and respond to questions.
  • Benchmark # 5: Use grade level appropriate vocabulary in speech (e.g., terms related to waste reduction and recycling).

Materials Needed:
  • Large, clear plastic trash bags
  • Balance scale, large enough to accommodate the full trash bag
  • A pile of books that weighs the same as the heaviest bag of trash
  • Two recycling bins-one for paper, one for other recyclables
  • Chart paper
  • Poster markers
  • Paper, pencils and crayons
  • Copy of the book “Why Should I Recycle?” by Jen Green
  • Copies of the Letter to Parents provided

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Located in: Science | Math | Language Arts

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools