Recycling in New York

Lesson overview

In this lesson students will develop their knowledge and understanding of what waste is, defining it into categories. They go on to investigate the process of recycling demonstrating an awareness of its benefits.

Lesson outcomes
  • Describe what waste is
  • Explain recycling: what it is, the benefits, how to recycle
  • Define waste by categories
  • Demonstrate waste awareness
  • Demonstrate learning

Expedition Prep Checklist

Download the Google Expeditions App on all devices and select the expedition Recycling – New York Department of Sanitation.

Explore the expedition, review descriptions and questions and identify points of interest.

Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (10 mins)
    Lead a class discussion about waste, ask students where waste goes and what is meant by recycling. Students share their knowledge of what items can be recycled and discuss whether it is good practice.
    Ask each student to keep a waste diary for 5 days (prior to the lesson). keeping a record of all the waste they throw away at home and / or at school.
    Students can use the Student Sheets in the Lesson resources section. Student Sheet 1a can be used to record their diary. Before starting their diary students should read the key facts about recycling on Student Sheet 1b and further information about waste categories on Student Sheet 1c.
  2. Expedition (20 mins)
    Lead students through the expedition. Use the scene descriptions to guide the class and highlight points of interest.
  3. Activity one (15 mins)
    Ask students if they can improve their recycling at home or school, then examine their waste diaries. Students identify what items they threw away the most and account for why they threw them away. Students identify which category of waste has the most items. Record the class results and identify the most commonly thrown out item by the class. Work out which category of waste the class collectively made the most of and identify the most common reasons why the students threw items away.
  4. Activity two (15 mins)
    If there is little or no recycling provision ask the students to propose how they would organise collecting the waste, where they would store it in class and how the waste would then be recycled? Students then present their ideas with the evidence they have from the class review to support their ideas.
    If recycling provision exists at home or school – as a class discuss if they can improve their recycling efforts based on the findings from earlier. If the waste identified previously is recyclable – how can it be recycled at home and / or at school? Ask the students to propose how they would organise collecting the waste, where they would store it in class and how the waste would then be recycled?
    Ask the students to present their ideas to the appropriate person with the evidence that they have collected from the class review to support their idea.
  5. Extension
    Students develop a plan for a class recycling program, proposing how they would organise collecting the waste, where they would store it in class and how the waste would then be recycled?

    They then present their ideas to a school admin with the evidence they have from the class review to support their idea.

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