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Elementary Science

Recycling Lessons

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Katie Hodge Katie Hodge 946 Points

What are your favorite lessons on recycling? Specifically, showing students how recycling benefits the Earth. 

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 48701 Points

Thanks Katie for getting this conversation going.  

See this article, might be of help.


Take care,


Megann Kinseth Megann Kinseth 80 Points


My name is Megann Kinseth and I am a pre-service teacher at Wartburg College. Earlier this year, there was a group in my science methods class that demonstrated an oil spill activity to display the importance of taking care of our planet. The oil spill activity was interactive and hands on. Students (pre-service teachers) were given a pan with water and the teachers put vegetable oil and cocoa powder to make it look like crude oil. The students presenting had pre-service teachers try to get the oil out of the water with just spoons, dish soap, cups, and a sponge. We worked together in small groups and had to problem solve with little to no help from the presenters. This lesson allows students to problem solve and apply these skills to a real life issue. After the lesson, we began to think about how our actions as humans can affect our planet and it is important we take care of our planet by recycling, reusing, reducing, and disposing of harmful products appropriately.

I went on pinterest and found a similar version of the lesson if you want to check it out: http://stemactivitiesforkids.com/2016/04/22/earth-day-stem-challenge/


Megann Kinseth

Wartburg '19

Wartburg Pre-service teacher

Abigail Schiller Abigail Schiller 80 Points

Hello Katie,

I am Abigail Schiller a pre-service teacher at Wartburg College. I have created a Clean Water lesson. This lesson teaches students how they can keep the water clean and how they affect the water system. During this lesson, students are assigned an area that pollutes a "local lake." Students are given materials that represent water pollutant/hazardous chemicals. Students are given a small amount of water then they put in water pollutant from their said location. Next, all of the students put their polluted water into one bowl. Students can see that the water is brown and cannot see through it. This lesson can be tied to the importance of recycling. 

Abigail Schiller

Pre-Service Teacher 2020

Tamar Devorah Tamar Devorah 399 Points

Yes, this is a great question! I have also been wondering what are some helpful activites for recycling and other science lessons. I'll keep my eye on this post to see how it goes!

Sarah Walker Sarah Walker 80 Points

Hi Katie!

My name is Sarah Walker and I am a pre-service teacher at Wartburg College. I recently created a cross-curricular unit between reading and science for one of my classes. The unit is intended for first grade, but could be easily adapted. I would be happy to send it to you if you are interested. The unit entails teaching the studnets how to recycle in their town, what items can be recycled, and then it ends with a major project where students are able to come up with their own ideas on how to help their school or their community begin to rececle. My ideas that I think students will come up with is creating bins to put around the school for papers, reccomending to use less paper in the classroom or re-using, making signs to put around the classroom, and then fixing items that are broken so that we do not have to waste by buying new items. The theme of the lesson is reduce, reuse, and recycle. I found some really interesting children's books that go along with recycling and videos to share with students as well. I think it is very important to ensure that students of all ages understand the importance of recycling because we only have one planet so we need to take care of it. Good luck with your lesson.


Sarah Walker

Wartburg College 2020

Wartburg Pre-service teacher 

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