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Waste and Energy

Theme: 
Waste
Grade: 
5, 6
Essential questions
What are some common issues related to waste management?
What are some potential solutions to waste management problems?
What waste management solution do you think would be best for your community?
Why is electronic waste a particularly difficult waste problem?
What can you do to help reduce your contribution to e-waste?
What are some of the risks associated with using nuclear energy?
Do you think the positive benefits of using nuclear power to create electricity outweigh the risks?
What are some actions you could take to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels or nuclear energy?

MODULE OVERVIEW: Estimated total time needed: Six 50-minute sessions

Lesson 1: Eco-Activity: Waste Innovations (Three 50-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students learn about innovations in waste management from communities around the world. Then they work in teams to research options that would solve waste management issues specific to your community. They put together a presentation to promote their chosen option while the other teams role-play community leaders who are charged with selecting the most effective waste management solution for the community. This “city council” then evaluates each presentation and chooses the most compelling option for waste management in your area.

Lesson 2: Eco-Action: E-Waste (Two 50-minute sessions and more time may be needed, depending upon the students’ plan of action)
In this lesson, students learn what electronic waste (e-waste) is and why it is a growing problem for human societies and the environment. Then they work together to brainstorm a way to build awareness and change within the school community and beyond.

Lesson 3: Eco-Activity: It’s Hazardous! (50 minutes)
In this lesson, students investigate a particularly difficult type of waste to manage: nuclear waste. They explore the complexities and controversies surrounding this topic by first reviewing some basic pros and cons related to nuclear waste. Next, they conduct a kinesthetic simulation to reiterate benefits and challenges and help them viscerally understand the complexities of the issue. Finally, they have an open discussion to share what they learned and their thoughts about the topic.

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