Native American Tribes - Recycling: Cause and Effect

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SWBAT identify cause and effect within text.

Big Idea

We will learn about the importance of recycling while working with cause and effect.


Learning from the Native Americans

15 minutes

There are so many lessons we can learn from the Native American people.  In this lesson, we will focus on the fact that the Native Americans respected the land, took care of the land and wasted nothing.  If a Native American killed an animal for food, they were resourceful and found ways to use the bones and skin as well as the meat.  

In our previous lesson, we learned about cause and effect.  This lesson will build upon that lesson while focusing on the resourcefulness of the Native Americans and the importance of recycling.

We will begin our lesson with a class discussion.  This is how our discussion will begin:

During this unit we have learned that the Native Americans respected the land and took care of it. They even considered it sacred.  They also used every part of an animal they killed.  They used the skin and fur for clothing and shelter.  They used the meat to eat.  They used the bones for tools and weapons.  They wasted nothing.  What can we learn from the Native Americans? What can we do better?

Cause and Effect Partners

20 minutes

Now that the students are experts on cause and effect, I will give them a chance to show what they know by finding examples of cause and effect within text. The text will be using for this section of the lesson is "Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet."  We have the Kindle version and will be reading it on our iPads. There are twelve sections in this story. Each of these sections talks about a different hero. I will have the students work in pairs to read and analyze one section of the text.  This works out nicely for my class as I have before students.  If you have more students you could easily make groups of two or three to read and analyze each section.  The goal of the partners will be to read and summarize their section of the text as well as identify examples of cause and effect within their section. Their goal should also be to become experts on their section so they can share their section when we do our jigsaw in the next part of the lesson.


Rohmer, H. (2009). Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet. San Francisco, CA : Chronicle Books

Cause and Effect Jigsaw

20 minutes

Now that the students have worked together as partners to summarize and identify cause and effect.  I will have that students split up into two groups.  Each group will have one of each of the partners.  Each section is represented that way.  I will instruct the students to each present their section by summarizing the section and telling the rest of the group about any examples of cause and effect found in that section.  

This jigsaw strategy is a great way to "read" a larger text in a smaller amount of time.  Students are each assigned a piece of the text and present to a group so that the group gets the "gist" of the whole text.

Recycle Project

10 minutes

At the conclusion of the lesson, we will talk a bit about our petroglyph milk jug recycling project.  In the coming lessons, we will be creating a petroglyph panel out of milk jugs we have been saving.  In a little over a month of saving milk jugs, we have collected approximately two hundred milk jugs. That is just our classes. (I teach two classes of twenty-four students each.)  We will then take the time to see approximately how many milk jugs we could have collected as a school in a month. We would then estimate the numbers for our city, then state, then country, then world.  

To think of the numbers in just a month in just milk jugs is crazy.  Then we will talk about how our city has a recycle program and hopefully most of our milk jugs would be recycled if we were not recycling them ourselves.  But where would they all be if we didn't recycle them?  What would that look like?  Why is it important to recycle?  What is meant by the phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?  We will also talk about cause and effect in terms of recycling and not recycling.