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How Trashy are You?


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Keywords: Solid Waste, Enivronmental, Recycling
Subject(s): Science, Health and PE
Grades 5 through 12
School: Dansville High School, Dansville, MI
Planned By: Amanda Johnson
Original Author: Amanda Johnson, Dansville

How Trashy are You?

Purpose:
This lesson will allow students the opportunity to visually determine the amount of trash the average teenager produces in a 24-hour period.

Grade Level:
This was designed for a nine ten environmental science class.

Materials needed:
One large garbage bag per student (clear liners work the best for observing collected trash)

One Garbage Tally and question sheet.

Methods:
First students will write a hypothesis about how much garbage they will collect.
They will also write down a guess about how much their garbage will weigh in grams.

Before explaining the lab itself, have a class discussion about what common materials found in garbage are usually composed of.

Lab Explanation: Day 1
Give each student his or her own garbage dump (clear bag)
Explain that they will be carrying their dump with them wherever they go for the next 24 hours. They should place all garbage into the bag; if they want, they can add a Ziploc bag to hold food waste to make sorting easier. (Make sure to note: If it goes in the toilet it stays in the toilet!)

Make sure to let all teachers know what’s going on so students are not punished for carrying their bag to class. I have my teachers act as spies so I know who is really participating.

Day 2:
Have the students weigh their bags in grams as soon as they come into the room and record the number on their tally sheet.

Then have them list out the contents in their bag and what material the item is made out of.


Tally sheet and questions.
Hypothesis:


Guess how much trash you will produce in grams.

Item Glass Paper Plastic Metal

Questions>1. Wasyour hypothesis right? Explain


2. What item is most of your trash made from?


3. Is the above material a renewable?


4. Is the above item biodegradable?


5. How could you reduce your daily waste?


6. Is anything in your bag reusable?


7. Can any of the trash be recycled?
Comments
This could be used for health classes to look at what students eat in a day. Also it can tie to math by sorting and weighing each type of material collected.
Materials: Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Science
Other Items: 25 quart zipper bags, $ 10.00 each, total of $250.00
25 clear garbage bags, $ 5.00 each, total of $125.00