This month in science we are talking about reduce, recycle, reuse, and conservation of resources in K. Since I do a lot of this at home, I always enjoy this unit. I do a lot of this in the classroom anyway, it's kind of fun to see the kids realize they've seen it in action all year and we are already doing some things!
Part of our standard is that the kids understand the difference in reduce, reuse, and recycle. But for me, reduce and reuse go hand in hand, so the first couple of weeks we focus on those.
******I LOVE Jack Johnson, and this song is great because I don't mind if the kids get it stuck in their heads and sing it all day! I start our unit with this and use it many times, as the pictures are great!
Reduce and Reuse:
I always start this unit out by talking about landfills. Some of our kids go with their parents to the "dump" and know what I am talking about. Others have no clue. We live in a very rural area and many do not have trash collection at home. We talk about the pictures of landfills from the picture above, and talk about running out of room to dig holes!
Many of our kids understand "wasting" so reducing for them is not wasting. They've heard that all year in terms of wipes, paper, paper towels, etc. After some discussion about the concept, we make a list of all the ways we reduce our trash at home and school. This is where we start blurring the lines into reusing.
*********I point out the following for them:
*All their papers are run double sided, if it can't be due to a cutting activity, we use the backs for another purpose. (Free write without lines, math practice, spelling practice).
* Laminating papers so many kids can use rather than a copy for everyone.
*Using the Smartboard instead of chart paper
*Hands on activities rather than paperwork
*Keeping scraps from art projects to be used in other art projects
*We do a lot of word/letter searches in newspapers . We keep using the same papers forever!
********Then we move to reducing through reusing. They can pretty quickly identify the "extra papers" box that we put the extra double sided copies in. They use these often to "play school" or if they are bored during free explore time. I show them the things on my desk area ONLY that I do to reuse rather than waste:
*Acrylic tumbler for my water
*My little basket of extra one sided copies cut into eighths that I use the blank side for writing notes, lists, words for kids, etc.
*The food containers I reuse rather than toss to store the class guinea pig's hay, food, etc.
*The boxes and toilet paper tubes that go in the pet's s cage for toys
*I pull out my lunch box and show them that I never use ziploc bags in packing lunch, instead I use containers.
*******After getting their mind whirling, they take off with the scrap paper and a pencil and tally around the room identifying all the things they see being reused (lots of wipes boxes, cereal box fronts turned into "books", our bag of plastic grocery bags for days they forget backpacks, etc. )
*******They have a two week homework project called trash to treasure in which they take an item and make it into something else. I LOVE to see the creativity, and get some cool ideas (last year a student turned a vinyl record into a bowl!) . This isn't due yet, but I will come back and edit this post to show some of the best. This year, I showed them a few pictures from these posts to give them some ideas of how many things you can do!
I am taking in toilet paper tubes today and giving each student one to create something. Should be interesting!
Our county does not have recycling collection, and most of my kiddos this year have never recycled.
*This video clip is from How Stuff Works on Discovery network. I suggest showing it and NOT using the audio as it does mention beer. Don't need to get off track with their discussions of their parents' drinking habits!
*This is a video the kids love because of all the machinery! It's about recycling plastic bottles.
*We play a recycling sorting game. I bring in a bin of my recyclables and we sort it. I teach them to look for the numbers (we can only recycle 1 and 2 plastic here, so we talk about how other numbers are in great need of being reused!). After we've done it once, I divide the pile into 2 portions and they relay race to recycle.
*I also have this out as a center activity during our unit. I bought it from Lakeshore several years ago.
*Another printable that can be made into a center Lakeshore printable recycling game
Micheal Recyle Online game
Nat Geo kids Recycle Roundup
EPA booklet printable
Some of my favorite books: