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Waste Not, Want Not

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Essential questions
Where does paper come from?
Why should we recycle?
How can we recycle paper?
What is compost?
How is compost made?
What are some ways that compost is useful?
What habits can I adopt to make my lunch more sustainable?
What happens to all the trash we generate?
How could I influence other people to create less waste?

MODULE OVERVIEW: (Estimated total time needed: About four 45-minute class sessions)
This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-Activity: Making Paper (Estimated time needed: Two 45-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students watch a video to see how paper is made from trees. Then they participate in a slideshow discussion that helps them visualize trees and forests and why they are a valuable natural resource. Students then recycle old newsprint into new paper and discover that recycling works. They use their newly made paper to create, for the community, art with a positive message about the environment and recycling.

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Let’s Compost! (Estimated time needed: 40–50 minutes)
In this lesson, students review the types of materials that make good compost and then explore the school grounds to forage for leaves and twigs. Next, they assist while their teacher demonstrates how to use layers of organic materials to create an effective compost pile. After discussing the many benefits of compost, students work together to create a poster that shows what they’ve learned.

Lesson 3: Eco-101: Don’t Waste Lunch (Estimated time needed: 40–45 minutes)
In this lesson, students learn that a simple school lunch can generate a lot of waste. They take a close look at a typical lunch they bring from home and compare it to lunches that produce a lot of waste and lunches that produce no waste. Then they think about how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle to improve their current waste habits. The lesson concludes with students decorating a letter to take home to spread awareness about sustainable lunch-packaging practices.

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