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Windsor Opposes Waste - WOW!

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Keywords: science, environment, recycling
Subject(s): Service Learning, Science, English/Language Arts, Earth Science, Life Science, Technology, Math
Grades 2 through 6
Original Author: Anne Michael, Elyria
Our elementary students participate in paper recycling at our school. Students know to save the paper in the bins and the multiple handicapped students collect the paper bins in the classroom every other day. We have a spring contest to collect batteries for recycling. The media center collects used ink cartridges. This is a great start- but we can do more, much more, to instill in the students an environmental awareness of recycling and its importance in their future.

What we propose is a year-long problem-based learning between grades 2 and 6: how can we minimize waste at Windsor school and at home? At the beginning of the year, teams of students from both grades will meet and discuss and identify the problem(s). We will brainstorm suggestions for solutions. We will study various solutions for practicality and appropriateness. Then we will implement their solutions and throughout the year evaluate and reexamine their decisions and actions.

Besides teaching environmental responsibility, this project also fits in the curriculum at grades 2 and 6. Both study the scientific inquiry theory and how to find solutions. Grade 2 studies types of landforms including habitats, environments, pollution, plants animals, food chains and how their needs interact. Grade 6 studies rocks, minerals, renewable and alternative energy sources and resources and technology design. Because we will be using writing, math and socials studies, all subjects would be affected during this project.

We plan to use the Digital Camera Basics Workbooks with step by step instructions in our weekly meeting times with the two grades. The 6th grader will read and explain the booklet and activities to the 2nd grader. We plan to collect data (how much trash we throw away, what kinds of trash, etc.) and use the Tool Factory database to organize their data. We will use Tool Factory Word Processor for persuasive writing and reports. Each team of students will create books that will document the project, show the steps throughout the year and show their growth during the project. We will use Tool Factory Painter to make recycling and waste management advertisements and posters. We will use the Olympus digital cameras to photograph the trash problem in the school building and neighborhood, study solutions and evaluate the success of the recycling project. We will use the Movie Mode of the cameras to make commercials for waste reduction and recycling that will be played on the in-school system and on our local channel for community viewing. The finished books and commercials will also be shared with parents as part of the student led exit conferences at both grades.

Together the classes would also take a bus to the local recycling center and the waste water treatment plant and document those visits using the cameras. The trips will be used for background information, data collection, and gain information about possible solutions.

Throughout the year we plan several experiments in the classrooms on decomposition, pollution, soil erosion, oil spills and acid rain. We will use the Claymation software to create landforms, erosion, pollution, and habitats.
Together the student buddies will read a variety of books on recycling, trash and the environment. All activities and experiments will be photographed to be re-examined and explained later in their books.

We also plan to share information and photograph montage with local businesses and on our web site using the Multimedia Lab software and Tool Factory Home Page. We want the project to be driven by the student teams and this software is student friendly.

We want this to be a learning experience for the students that is reality based and can make a difference to the community. This project will enhance their scientific critical thinking skills all while working as part of a multi-age team benefiting both students.
The children love working together with buddies. This project is a life long lesson in recycling and caring for the environment.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Math- charting and projecting amount of trash in a year or 10 years.
LA- writing letters, advertisements, commercials
Reading- reading books on the topic
Share information with the school district and community on our web page and through the community televisions channel.
Materials: Slideshow, Word Processor, Batteries, Camera Bags, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 30 Bare Books, $1.90 each, total of $57.00
2 Batteries and Charger, $20 each, total of $40.00
1 Set of books on recycling, environment, trash, $200 each, total of $200.00
1 Bus for field trip, $200 each, total of $200.00
Associated File: 4001.kid