Saturday, September 27, 2014

This Is Disgusting ... But It's Fun

I walked into the PTA room the other day and saw a garbage can overfilled with all kinds of garbage in mixed together. On top of it all were a few plastic bottles and I thought, we need to get in this garbage. I took the garbage out of their room, and brought it into my classroom one afternoon.

The next morning when the students came in, they saw the bag of smelliness in the front of the classroom.

Why is that in here?
What is that?
Who forgot their garbage in our classroom?

I was asked a flurry of questions, but before answering them, I asked them what they saw.


Then I asked them again to look closer, and to find a partner and do a Think, Pair, Share.

From this, I started getting observations about the plastic bottles, recycling, and someone may have seen a piece of paper in there somewhere.

Then I asked what we could do about it. Someone said we should recycle the bottles. So I asked about the paper. They agreed we should recycle that too. I told them that we still can recycle some of this "junk" and I passed out some plastic gloves. (Ironic, I know.)

We went into the school's entryway where all the hallways come together. It is a large area with ceramic tile floors that can be easily cleaned if need be. 

I passed out some clipboards so they could write t-charts onto some (already used on one sided) paper. Their charts were separated into a G for garbage, Pl for plastic, and Pa for paper. The students took turns coming up and digging into the garbage and deciding which bin to put it in.

There were plenty of "EEWWs" and "OHs" during this process. I am sure that most classes heard some of this.

Soon we had the garbage separated and a pile of data. Then it was off to lunch.

When they came back from lunch, we set out using the data to make bar graphs so we could get a picture of what kind of trash we separated.

The next step in this inquiry is to write letters to the PTA to ask them to be careful about what they throw away. I am also going to stress to my students that we need to also help them, so we may ask the headmaster to give the PTA two more bins so it is easier for them to recycle.

I just thought of this, but we could also make some posters of the kinds of things they can recycle to hang in the PTA room.

*The title is a quote from one of my students during the garbage sort.

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