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Informal Science

Recycling ideas to implement in a 4th grade classroom

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Lucia Meras-Torres Lucia Meras-Torres 1040 Points

Hello everyone,
Hope all of you out there are having a wonderful Saturday!
My name is Lucy and I am an aspiring teaching currently in my first semester of Student Teaching at the College of Education in the University of Houston. My classroom is a 4thgrade Math & Science classroom, and I am reaching out to the science community for some help.
We recently covered the natural resources TEK and I closed our lesson with a conversation of the conservation of our planet and different way to do that. The kids loved learning about different ways we can help our planet and because of that I am searching ideas on how to implement recycling with in our classroom while having the students engaged. Unfortunately, the school is not a big supporter of recycling, but I would love our classroom to become one. Any thoughts, ideas or comments you have are extremely appreciated.  
Thank you,
Lucy Torres

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Lucy, here is a good place to start off with something simple:

Kayla Herman Kayla Herman 1575 Points

Hi Lucia,

I am also pursuing my degree in education, and I was recently placed in a fifth grade classroom for a student teaching placement. The students in the fifth grade were working with recycling and they all created a recycling project which they presented to the class. The students could only use materials they had at home or that they found in the classroom (the teacher set aside some old materials the students could use).

The students really enjoyed this project and their creations were amazing! One of the students made a basket out of old magazines, it was unbelievably good. I was thoroughly impressed by their creativity and motivation. The presentation piece tied in some of the literacy standards we have been working with, too. You mentioned wanting to get the students engaged in recycling and this might be an idea for a project you could do in the future. The students you are working with are younger so maybe they could work in teams? Or bring the materials to class and work together to build their creations?

Since the school is not a big supporter of recycling this could be a way to show students the importance and fun in recycling. Once the students created their recycling projects maybe they could write a report or give a presentation to the school principal to convince them to push the school towards recycling more. I wish you the best of luck with your student teaching!

Kayla Herman  

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

I forgot to share a book that is great at introducing the concept of recycling! Galimoto, by Karen Lynn Williams. 

Jamison Bowlds Jamison Bowlds 1196 Points

A good way to do this which will also keep the students engaged is to have them complete projects or experiments with only recycled materials! For example, they could use things outside, old paper, trash, empty coke cans, etc. A way to connect it with another science lesson would be to have the students make a habitat with all the recycled materials they find. 

Luke Mcdaniel Luke Mcdaniel 190 Points

Hey Lucy,

I'm currently working towards becoming a teacher as well and had a few ideas on ways to help. Since your school is not that supportive on your idea of recycling, you could pose this question to your students and have them brainstorm and present ideas for the class on how they can start recycling in the classroom or around the school. If one of the students have a really good idea on how to fix this issue you could bring that to the principle and show them the good work your students are doing in the classroom. I also found this great video of a school that implemented a program of recycling into their school. 

Gabe Kraljevic Gabe Kraljevic 4564 Points

Hello Lucia,

I answered a similar question in another forum:!plus!1tfI39W3Pk_E#101101

Hope this helps,


Lindsay Melching Lindsay Melching 185 Points

Hi, Lucy.  Not sure how close you are to the Houston Zoo, but have you considered having your students recycle old cell phones that their friends or family may have to help with gorilla conservation?  Here is a link you can check out.  We did this at our school with our local zoo and students really got into it.  

Justice Taylor Justice Taylor 1155 Points

A good way to implement recycling into the classroom is by having your own recycling bins. You can have reclycling for anything you use: water bottle tops, paper towel rolls, paper, plastic lids, cereal boxes, cardboard, etc. You can have your students bring in things from home as well and start your own 'recycling room.' The kids will love to feel involved in helping in any way they can. They can also connect this with another science lesson over how waste has an influence on animals and the habitat. 

Annie Berg Annie Berg 225 Points

A lot of cities offer free recycling bins that can be used for recycling. You could offer incentives as well that keep your kids motivated and wanting to recycle. Under the Freebies for Science teachers tab there is a book called Talking Trash, Taking Action, and this book maybe could be used to help reinforce your recycling teachings. I think bringing things from home would also be a good idea, since many families do not recycle. It would also be neat to keep track of how much was recycled in your classroom because it is always nice to hear about the difference that you made and I'm sure that would motivate your children even more. 

Chelsea Gross Chelsea Gross 205 Points

Hello Lucy! 

Your school's local recycling center can be a great resource! Specifically in the first step of implementing recycling bins in your classroom! Understanding and access are key component to ensuring students can begin the habit of recycling. 

Would your school be open to a field trip to your local recylcing center?

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