- Grade level: Elementary, Middle School, High School
- Subject Area: Social Studies, Math
As part of Earth Day clean up activities, students will inventory the types of garbage that they picked up and generate statistics on what they found. Students will then develop a survey to be distributed to other classrooms to see what type of garbage they were most likely to find.
- Participate in an activity to benefit their community.
- Collect, organize, analyze, and describe data in a real-world situation.
- Make inferences and convincing arguments based on data analysis.
- Formulate reports suggesting an action plan to address a problem in the community.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: Any speed connection will be sufficient if you choose to send out the surveys via e-mail. If you would like to do the survey using a Web page then either a medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or high-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network) is preferable.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Earth Day Participation. Students participate in their local area's Earth Day activities. As students collect trash they keep track of the types of articles they pick up. At the end of Earth Day activities, students aggregate their data to develop whole-class statistics of what they found.
- Lesson Two: Survey Development and Distribution. Based on the data they gathered during their clean-up activities, students will develop a questionnaire to distribute to other schools. Surveys may take the form of an e-mail questionnaire or a Web page with forms that visitors fill out.
- Lesson Three: Data Analysis. When students have received data from their questionnaires, they analyze the data and prepare a report to be distributed to those who participated. Distribution may occur either via e-mail or through a report published on a Web page.
- Lesson Four: Trash Action. After students have created their final report, they will develop action plans to prevent trash from becoming a problem in the future. One example might be if students find high levels of fast-food garbage in their collections, they may choose to contact local and national fast-food restaurant owners to ask them for help in the fight against trash.
Relation to Standards
We have drawn on standards created by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council for the Social Studies as resources for the Earth Day Trash Unit.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may hook up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.