There are many excellent resources on the internet for teaching about the three R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. To save you some searching, we've listed some we think would be useful as you plan your curriculum. The nice thing about a recycling curriculum is that it can be incorporated into many educational standards, from literacy to mathematics. For example, students can do a trash audit and chart what is thrown away at school or at home (math), read or write a story about recycling (literacy) or perform experiments on how various recyclable materials decompose (science). We plan to add new resources as we find them, so check back often!
These resources incorporate videos with a broad array of activities and downloadable worksheets, as well as teacher guides.
- Republic Services Educator Resources Republic Services, a waste management company, provides lessons and activities for K-12 educators, by educators. The lessons are free, written and vetted by real teachers, and aligned to grade-level standards. Each lesson is designed to fit within a typical class period and can be used individually or as a unit. The lessons are split into levels: PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There are videos of virtual field trips to a landfill and recycling center and presentation slides to help you develop an age-appropriate online lesson. Each lesson has a teacher’s guide with all kinds of background information on recycling and list of resources as well. LINK
- We Are Teachers bill themselves as “your virtual teacher’s lounge where you can find support and encouragement.” The link provided here takes you to 5 Free Recycling Lesson Plans and Worksheets for kids. The lessons are targeted to grades 3-5, but they say they can be adapted for lower elementary and middle school students. You must use your school email account to access the lesson plans. LINK
- Little Lives is a preschool management software company that specializes in fun and simple-to-use technology. They have a variety of PreK lesson plans, the link takes you to the mini lesson plan on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The lesson starts with a cute animated video about what happens to waste after it is thrown in the trash and then defines the 3 R’s. The lesson includes additional videos and activities, like making paper from recycled materials. Although the lesson plan is oriented for PreK, many activities can easily be adapted for K-2 or even a bit older. LINK
- Environmental Protection Agency EPA has quite a few resources for environmental lessons including Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Resources for Students and Educators. At https://www.epa.gov/students there are classroom resources and project ideas, homework help and activities for K-12 students and more. The Planet Protectors Club could provide a great connection for your online elementary students. There’s a badge and everything! The activities include the Case of the Broken Loop, Follow that Trail, and Trash and Climate Change. Each one features a variety of games and activities most kids will really enjoy. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
These are stand-alone videos you can incorporate into an existing curriculum or build your lesson around. We've posted the link, target age range, and the length of each video.
- Reduce, Reuse & Recycle to Enjoy a Better Life by Happy Learning Earth explains how reducing, reusing and recycling will make the earth happier for everyone. Age level isn’t specified, but it is definitely for younger kids (Pre-K-2). 3:40
- PBS Kids Science kids has a video for PreK students about reusing waste materials (4:25) and another video on how to reduce waste (1:16).
- How Recycling Works! By SciShowKids Talks about how waste decomposes and the recycling process. Includes information on the end uses of recycled materials. K-5 4:09 minutes
- How Trash Is Recycled is a Reading Rainbow video in which Levar Burton explains the recycling process. Pre-K-4 6:23 minutes
- Recycling Jobs is appropriate for older students (even adults would benefit from this one). This animated video highlights how recycling contributes to the economy and outlines some of the jobs that students might have within the industry. 1:55
- Life of a Plastic Bottle is another video appropriate for older students, grades 6-12. It details how plastics are sorted and reclaimed. 2:40
- How Big The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Really Is A brief introduction to the impact of plastics on the oceans. Grades 4-8 3:18
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is Not What You Think It Is Another excellent video on plastics in the ocean, this time for older students, grades 6-12. Links plastic ocean garbage to climate change and how it’s being addressed. 7:50
- The Incredible Transformation of the World’s Most Polluted Beach A great video that highlights how one person can start a movement. Grades 4-12 3:23 @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>