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Science Activities – What is Trash?






     This project is an engaged learning project with students putting lessons to real-life application. It is directed at improving students’ knowledge of science and math, as well as their attitudes and behaviors. Students will use real-world scientific and mathematical procedures, such as collecting data, finding patterns, and assessing results.

     Student activities will include an introductory activity using Recycle City, defining a scientist’s role, defining what trash is and discovering how their community manages solid wastes. They will identify trash categories and items included in each category.  Students will compare their trash habits, school/community trash disposal methods, and school/community use of recycling, and create a trash profile of a typical student.

    Students will explore questions such as: What is trash? How much trash do they produce as individuals? families? schools? communities? How is their trash disposed of? recycled? reused? How could they reduce the amount of trash they generate? What does their trash consist of? What does it mean to recycle? What can they do to promote recycling at school? How much trash do residents create? What are some concerns of the businesses and residents of the community? How do items persons throw away hurt the environment? What concerns do communities have about trash?

    As a result of these activities, students will see ways in which they can have an impact on reducing the amount of trash produced by their community, and ultimately, realize how the environment affects our culture and how our culture affects the environment.

    Students will assume the role of a student-research scientist. Students will collect and weigh their classroom trash as well as the lunch food waste and trash. This data will be compared with data from other participating classrooms. Students will investigate and communicate with trash pals using e-mail and the World Wide Web; collect, analyze, organize, and display data through graphs and maps; access the Internet to find resources on solid waste management and recycling; collaborate with a waste disposal company in the development of their school recycling center.

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