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Be a Food Waste Warrior

135 minutes
Three 30- to 45-minute periods, which includes time for one food waste audit session at lunchtime (schools may choose to audit one day or multiple days)
Primary subjects: 
Health, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
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“Be a Food Waste Warrior” is a three-part science and math lesson that can be adjusted in complexity depending on grade level. It includes food waste audit log sheets, discussion questions, a companion PowerPoint, and additional teacher resources and materials.

Students will learn about the ways in which food impacts the environment by recording data from a student food waste audit during their lunch period.The audit will engage basic science and math skills to (1) convert food waste weights to water used and GHGs emitted, and (2) calculate the difference in GHG emissions depending on whether food waste is landfilled or composted. Participating students will ultimately understand how to reduce food waste and why reducing food waste is important to conserving natural resources and wildlife habitat.

Key objectives for students
Understand what food waste is and where it comes from
Understand and identify how individual food choices impact our environment in direct and indirect ways (including water loss, greenhouse gases, habitat loss, and food insecurity) and why this is important
Calculate daily averages of water wasted and greenhouse gases emitted based on food waste separation and measurement values
Calculate the difference in GHG emissions between landfill and compost disposal methods
Display data in table, chart and/or graph form
Discover ways to reduce food waste on a personal, school-wide, and community-wide level through behavioral changes in the lunchroom and tools such as donation and composting
food waste
Collaboration, Critical Thinking
Curiosity, Optimism
Multi-Disciplinary, Multiple Intelligences, Project-Based Learning, Real-World Application
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