Jim Allison: Breakthrough

Environmental Impact-My World, My Responsibility

Contributor: RESA-Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency

Type Category: Instructional Materials

Types: Lesson/Lesson Plan

Note: This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.


During this lesson students learn how to reduce the impact they have on their local environment. Students conduct an investigation in the classroom observing how the amount of trash generated for a week impacts their life.

Intended Audience
Educator and learner

Educational Level
Early Elementary


Access Restrictions
Limited free access - Some material is available for viewing and/or downloading but most material tends to be accessible through other means.

Performance Expectation

K-ESS3-3  Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Clarification Statement:

Examples of human impact on the land could include cutting trees to produce paper and using resources to produce bottles. Examples of solutions could include reusing paper and recycling cans and bottles.

Assessment Boundary:


This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation

Students are conducting a classroom investigation, watching videos, and creating a poster to help meet this performance expectation. To further their knowledge students could do an investigation to determine how much trash is generated during the school lunch time by measuring and keeping data for a week. A discussion should follow about how the amount of trash could be reduced. Students could communicate their solutions by writing letters to the cooks and principal or by presenting their ideas to the student body telling how to reduce waste.

Science and Engineering Practice

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice

During the classroom investigation, students are making observations and discussing with each other how much trash they are generating in a week. At the end of the week, they are creating a poster to propose their ideas about how they might reduce the amount of trash in the classroom. To extend this, students could do another week of "no using the trash can" to see if they could reduce the amount of trash generated by using some of the solutions presented on the posters.

Disciplinary Core Idea

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea

Along with the classroom investigation, students are watching videos that discuss what actions people take, how that action affects the world, and what they can do to help reduce their impact on Earth. The four types of pollution are introduced and examples are given. After students view the videos there should be discussions about ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle in their local environment. Each student could take a sheet home and work with their family to create a plan to reduce, reuse, or recycle in their home. These sheets should come back to school and be shared and discussed with the class. Students could also take pictures of their recycling/reducing efforts and posted the photo (with parent help) to a class website or in an email to the teacher.

Crosscutting Concept

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept

When students are discussing and creating posters to share the effects of trash in the classroom and how to reduce it, they may see a pattern. If the classroom investigation is done a second time they may see the pattern more clearly. If they do not see this at the kindergarten level, the teacher should help the students understand the pattern of how trash being generated has an effect on the local environment (classroom).

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students are using all three dimensions to meet this performance expectation. They are using prior knowledge and designing solutions to solve the problem of how to reduce, reuse, or recycle in their classroom. At the kindergarten level, students might need to investigate more examples of how humans impact Earth and how they can help reduce that impact.
  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged by doing a hands on investigation (not using a trash can for a week in the classroom). They are collaborating in small groups to create a poster where they can justify their claims about reducing trash. There is opportunity given for students to orally respond to teacher questions. To make the connection to the community, students could go for a walk outside of school to collect trash and classify items that could be reused or recycled.
  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is formative assessment during the lesson with the teacher asking questions and discussing key ideas with students. The poster is an assessment of the small group ideas. Students could create an individual poster or draw and label or write about their ideas to reduce, reuse, or recycle in the classroom.
  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Students are watching videos to learn about the types of pollution and reusing, reducing, or recycling.