Erase the Waste and Turn Trash Into Cash
Inquiry-Based Science Lessons for Advanced and Gifted Students in Grades 3-4
Americans throw away 254 million tons of trash every year, and students are naturally curious about where it all goes. Erase the Waste and Turn Trash Into Cash, a 30-lesson interdisciplinary science unit:
- Is designed to teach high-ability third and fourth graders how to think like real-world environmental engineers.
- Requires students to reduce, reuse, recycle, and reimagine trash in new and innovative ways.
- Was designed using the research-based Integrated Curriculum Model.
- Features challenging problem-based learning tasks and engaging resources.
- Includes detailed teacher instructions and suggestions for differentiation.
In this unit, students study the concept of innovation and learn to manage and dispose of waste in creative and environmentally friendly ways, all while building an understanding of sustainability, recycling, environmental science, and the green economy. Suggestions and guidance are included on how teachers can adjust the rigor of learning tasks based on students' interests and needs.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION LESSON 1 Appraising Prior Knowledge LESSON 2 What Is Waste Warriors? LESSON 3 Business Plan Bonanza LESSON 4 The Four R’s LESSON 5 The Meet and Greet LESSON 6 Differentiate the Detritus LESSON 7 The Plastic Problem LESSON 8 A Look at the Books LESSON 9 Saving Green by Going Green LESSON 10 The Legacy of Landfills LESSON 11 Recommendation Roundup LESSON 12 Researching Recommendations LESSON 13 Prepping Your Presentation LESSON 14 Pitching Your Plan LESSON 15 Revision for Submission LESSON 16 Roadmap to Recycling LESSON 17 It’s Tally Time! LESSON 18 Recalibrating to Recycle Fest LESSON 19 Product Proposals LESSON 20 Prototype Preparation LESSON 21 Prototype Pros and Cons LESSON 22 Granting Greenness Grades LESSON 23 Consuming Carefully and Consciously LESSON 24 Mapping the Materials Economy LESSON 25 Provisional Placement in Post Production LESSON 26 Choice Board Challenge 1 Part A LESSON 27 Choice Board Challenge Part B LESSON 28 Choice Board Challenge Part C LESSON 29 The Winner of Waste Warriors LESSON 30 Proving Proficiency REFERENCES APPENDIX A Recommended Reading APPENDIX B Master Materials List ABOUT THE AUTHOR COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ALIGNMENT NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS ALIGNMENT
Jason S. McIntosh, Ph.D., is an experienced educator (24 years in the field) and passionate advocate for gifted education