Students bury various pieces of trash in a plotted area of land outside. After two to three months, they uncover the trash to investigate what types of materials biodegrade in soil.
Students explore the concept of biodegradability by building and observing model landfills to test the decomposition of samples of everyday garbage items. They collect and record experiment observations over five days, seeing for themselves what happens to trash when it is thrown "away" in a landfill environment. This shows them the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable and serves to introduce them to the idea of composting. Students also learn about the role of engineering in solid waste management.
View the video Ě˘ĺŰĺĎTrash on the Spin CycleĚ˘ĺŰĺ to discover what causes huge quantities of garbage to end up on the most remote islands in the world and how this garbage affects wildlife.
Students design and build model landfills using materials similar to those used by engineers for full-scale landfills. Their completed small-size landfills are "rained" on and subjected to other erosion processes. The goal is to create landfills that hold the most garbage, minimize the cost to build and keep trash and contaminated water inside the landfill to prevent it from causing environmental damage. Teams create designs within given budgets, test the landfills' performance, and graph and compare designs for capacity, cost and performance.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is an intriguing and publicized environmental problem. This swirling soup of trash up to 10 meters deep and just below the water surface is composed mainly of non-degradable plastics. These plastic materials trap aquatic life and poison them by physical blockage or as carriers of toxic pollutants. The problem relates to materials science and the advent of plastics in modern life, an example of the unintended consequences of technology. Through exploring this complex issue, students gain insight into aspects of chemistry, oceanography, fluids, environmental science, life science and even international policy. As part of the GIS unit, the topic is a source of content for students to create interesting maps communicating something that they will likely begin to care about as they learn more.
Students explore the concept of "reducing" solid waste and how it relates to product packaging and engineering advancements in packaging materials. They read about and evaluate the highly publicized packaging decisions of two major U.S. corporations. Then they evaluate different ways to package items in order to minimize the environmental impact, while considering issues such as cost, availability, product attractiveness, etc. In addition, students explore "hydropulping" and consider its use as a recycling process.
Elementary Science and Integrated Subjects is a statewide Clime Time collaboration among ESD 123, ESD 105, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Development of the resources is in response to a need for research- based science lessons for elementary teachers that are integrated with English language arts, mathematics and other subjects such as social studies. The template for Elementary integration can serve as an organized, coherent and research-based roadmap for teachers in the development of their own NGSS aligned science lessons. Lessons can also be useful for classrooms that have no adopted curriculum as well as to serve as enhancements for current science curriculum.
Waste disposal has been an ongoing problem since medieval times. Environmental engineers are employed to develop technologies to dispose of the enormous amount of trash produced in the United States. In this lesson, students will learn about the three methods of waste disposal in use by modern communities. They will also investigate how engineers design sanitary landfills to prevent leachate from polluting the underlining groundwater.
Students will follow the engineering design process to design and create solutions to plastic packaging problems. They will create and adapt suitable and sustainable designs that will consider alternatives to plastic packaging for example juice boxes, plastic straws, straw wrappers, bin liners, and single-use containers.
In this lesson, students explore solid waste and its effects on the environment. They will collect classroom trash for analysis and build model landfills in order to understand the process and impact of solid waste management. Students will understand the role of engineers in solid waste management.
In this activity, students work as engineers to build and observe a model landfill. They will understand the process and pitfalls of the use of landfills as a method for the waste disposal.
Students collect, categorize, weigh and analyze classroom solid waste. The class collects waste for a week and then student groups spend a day sorting and analyzing the garbage with respect to recyclable and non-recyclable items. They discuss ways that engineers have helped to reduce the accumulation of solid waste.
Student teams use the engineering design process to create a useful product of their choice out of recyclable items and "trash." The class is given a "landfill" of reusable items, such as aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, juice boxes, chip bags, egg cartons, milk cartons, etc., and each group is allowed a limited amount of bonding materials, such as duct tape, hot glue and string. This activity addresses the importance of reuse and encourages students to look at ways they can reuse items they would otherwise throw away.
Students investigate what types of materials biodegrade in the soil, and learn what happens to their trash after they throw it away. The concepts of landfills and compost piles will be explained, and the students will have an opportunity to create their own miniature landfill in which the difference between organic and inorganic waste will become clear.
Through an adult-led field trip, students organized into investigation teams catalogue the incidence of plastic debris in different environments. They investigate these plastics according to their type, age, location and other characteristics that might indicate what potential they have for becoming part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Students collect qualitative and quantitative data that may be used to create a Google Earth layer as part of a separate activity that can be completed at a computer lab at school or as homework. The activity is designed as a step on the way to student's creation of their own GIS Google Earth layer. It is, however, possible for the field trip to be a useful learning experience unto itself that does not require this last GIS step.
In this activity, students will have the opportunity to learn about how trash is separated in Japan. Students will also separate trash into different categories.