Environmental Engineers

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Students will learn about recycling and share with their families how to recycle.

Big Idea

Environmental engineers address issues that help improve the quality of life for humans and the earth.


5 minutes


The students begin the lesson in our regular meeting area.  I ask,  "what does it means to recycle?"  I also ask, "Does your families have a blue recycle bin that they set out with their trash." 


Because only one person raised their hand to respond, I allowed that student to speak with the group.  She says, "My momma has a blue recycling bin and it has three arrows on it."  I ask her if she knows what the arrows represent.


I say, "I recycle like this student and it helps our planet earth.  Let's discover how recycling is good for our earth."




15 minutes


Next, I say, "Since no one else recycles, let's read about it so we can understand it and share with our families why recycling is important to our world."


I begin this lesson by reading Why Should I Recycle?  Once I complete the entire book, the students will use right line left line to share what they have learned about recycling.  The students in the right line speak first and share what they have learned and then the students in the left line share.


After each student has shared, I select two or three students to share with the whole class.


20 minutes


As a person who believes in the importance of recycling, I collected oatmeal containers.  These containers make excellent table trash cans.  I have one container for each table.  There are four student tables.


I just happen to select a winter day to present this lesson when there were few students in attendance at school.  So, the few students worked together to decorate the oatmeal containers.  I say, "Decide how you are going to share the responsibility of recycling or repurposing the use of the oatmeal containers."


I allow the students to make the decisions on how they will divide the duties. They work cooperatively to decorate the oatmeal trash can.  We have orange construction paper, glue and glitter. I model how to attach the paper and put the glitter on the container being careful to reuse extra glitter.


15 minutes


After the students work on their oatmeal containers, I call the students back to our meeting place. We briefly discuss what it means to recycle.  This time the conversation is valid.


One students says that she will tell her mother about the blue recycle bins and ask her if she will use it on their trash day.


I say, "Now that we know any object can be repurposed.  This is what recycling is.  Using things again or using things created for one purpose for another purpose."



2 minutes


Finally, I ask the students to name objects that the could repurpose of recycle.  As students list objects, I put tally marks on the board to represent the number of ideas they present.


I say, "Recycling is important to our earth and ways to reuse items is good for plant earth.  If you are able to talk with your family about recycling, I suggest that you should show them how to recycle.  Help your family recycle items during the week so they will  keep recycling each trash day."