The RethinkWaste Environmental Education team has written and released a comprehensive lesson booklet for students in grades K – 5, complete with teacher instructions, student instructions and activities, and videos with audio readings. These lessons cover topics such as proper waste sorting in a 3-bin system, repairing broken goods, categorizing litter outside, and reducing food scraps through kitchen creativity. Each lesson has a reflection activity, but these activities aren’t limited to the students completing the lessons – they are great activities for adults too!
- Color Your Feelings – from Waste Detectives and Litter Bingo lessons
After learning about all waste, landfills, and litter, you might feel a little blue! This activity encourages students to identify how they feel after learning about these topics and to assign a color to each feeling. They are then to fill in a heart with these colors to show how much of each feeling they have and are encouraged to share these feelings with someone in their household.
This is a good activity for adults to practice too – how often do you take time to check in with yourself to identify how you are feeling about the past, present, or future? How often do you sit down to color? Completing this activity with your student or on your own is a great way to take a reflective moment for yourself.
- Food History – from Eat Your Compost! Lesson
This activity guides students through research of ingredients that they use or see being used in their kitchens regularly. They are to look up what country the ingredient originates from, when it was discovered, and who it was discovered by. The activity also has them read about what countries these ingredients are now grown in, what dishes they are commonly used in, how far away the ingredient is grown, and if it can be grown in California.
Students may not have much input when it comes to building the grocery list, so it is important that adults do their research too. Knowing about our ingredients and making efforts to eat local produce are great ways to reduce waste and protect the environment. By choosing to eat foods that are grown locally or domestically, we can prevent unnecessary emissions and packaging from transport of goods. Learning about locally grown produce is also a great way to try new ingredients!
- Nature Walk – from Post-Tour & Post-Presentation Wrap-Up lesson
The Nature Walk activity encourages students to build a closer relationship with their local environment so they can better understand the need for environmental protection. Students are asked to write down what they saw, heard, touched, smelled, and felt while on their walk.
Whether you are working from home or back in the office, it may seem difficult to find a moment to take a walk or stroll, visit a nearby park, or drive somewhere for a hike. However, just a few minutes of being outdoors can make a difference (as long as the air quality is good!) and provide yourself with a much needed break. Connecting with your local environment and admiring the simple things, no matter where you live or work, can be quite refreshing.
- Advocacy Letter – from Every Litter Bit Counts lesson
In this lesson, a character named Xavi writes a letter to Arrowhead asking that they share tips on how to protect the environment. This letter serves as an example for students to write their own advocacy letter to the company, organization, or governing body of their choice, and shows them how to call for change.
Advocacy letters are a powerful tool for adults to use, too. We can use them to write to elected officials about a bill that we would like them to support, or to companies that send orders with excessive packaging. As consumers and members of our communities, we have the power to use our voices for good.
Did you give these activities a try? We would love to receive feedback on the lesson booklet. If you have a few more minutes, please send your feedback here.