At-home and at school learning resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future
Fall Week 8: Hot Topic - Waste Reduction Week
This week's hot topic is Waste Reduction Week! Waste Reduction Week focuses on the topic of creating a circular economy, using our resources more efficiently, and of course, reducing our waste! We use this week to help think about crucial and innovative ideas of achieving sustainability, and to empower all Canadians to adopt a more environmentally conscious way of life.

The suggested activities below dive deeper into learning about the topic of waste reduction and explore how environmental sustainability and consciousness tie into our economy!
Grades K-3
Just a Dream is about a young boy named Walter, who discovers that his wasteful ways will affect his future. The book introduces readers to a careless boy who tosses rubbish on the grass, thinks recycling is a waste of time and mocks his neighbour, Rose, for her delight in the tree she has just received for her birthday. A great addition to an environmental study connected to Science and Language Arts activities.





Activities
  • Read Just a Dream outside in the schoolyard or listen to the story online. Access the teacher’s resource guide for discussion questions and other activities
  • Complete the Connecting with our actions: A Million Year Picnic. This activity has students examine how long it takes certain items to decompose and, based on that information; they have an opportunity to make their own choices about what is best to take on a picnic. Complete the activity outdoors!
  • Set up a Waste Relay Race outdoors. Using the format of a relay race, students learn how to sort waste properly
  • Write about an environmental issue you care about, in story form.
  • As a karaoke activity, invite students to write and present a song about the importance of protecting the environment
  • Plant a class tree in the schoolyard
  • Design and create posters for your school or community that encourage others to recycle, how to save paper or water or energy, how to reuse a common item, or what to put in the blue box or recycling depot. Share your posters with us at #LearningInsideOut
What did you think of Just a Dream?
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Grades 2-6
This activity engages students in environmental stewardship as they work together to conduct a clean-up of the school grounds. The learning also includes a math component as the class sorts and graphs the type of litter they collect. The interdisciplinary approach fosters informed decision making and civic responsibility while taking students outside into the natural world.



Activities
  • Encourage students to pack litterless lunches throughout Waste Reduction Week. Over a week, weigh and chart the non-food garbage left at the end of each lunch period. Challenge another classroom to see who has the least amount of waste at the end of their lunch. Have students look at their use of packaging and see if they can reduce it
  • Get outside and play zero food waste
  • Have students design small reminder signs such as Please Turn Off Lights, Please Recycle, and so on and post them near light switches, taps, garbage cans, photocopiers and printers. Try to come up with catchy slogans and images
  • To highlight the idea of reuse, have students make an art piece using materials that would otherwise be thrown away. This can be a revealing and imaginative project that draws attention to the amount of waste that we produce. Share your artwork with us at #LearningInsideOut
What did you think of Litter We Know?
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Through various activities, the resource seeks to make students aware of their plastic use and how their actions will directly impact the environment around them. The education kit encourages students to look at how they use plastic and what they can do to use less, such as swapping plastic water bottles for reusable ones. 


 


Activities
  • Have students view The Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary then discuss the impacts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • Research the different types of plastic that float, sink or stay buoyant and the many ways marine life is affected by plastics in their aquatic home
  • Discuss what is a mockumentary and why the artist used this technique to present this information
  • Take the learning outside and create your mockumentary, use a water bottle, plastic lid or straw as your main character
  • Have students create a comic strip for primary students that shows plastic garbage and its travels from your schoolyard to the ocean. Encourage students to use an example that was found in the area in their comic strip
  • Become a remaker and create some artwork using Jane Perkins remarkable recycled art technique
  • Get outside and play Fish Dribble or Turtle Race
What did you think of Plastic Education Kit?
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This lesson introduces students to a different way of thinking about how our economy could work: a circular economy. The resource builds on exactly how a circular economy is different from the status quo and looks at the economic, environmental and social advantages of a new approach. Students critically evaluate our current consumption and production systems and explore better ways of dealing with resources.


 


Activities
  • Open the topic with a discussion of some of the conventional approaches to sustainability, i.e. reduce, reuse, recycle. Direct the conversation toward our use of finite resources. You might ask: What kind of resources are we using in our everyday life? Could we keep going with the way we currently live forever? What are the limitations? What could we do about it?
  • Have students watch Ellen MacArthur's Ted Talk. The video proposes a bold new way to see the world's economic systems: not as linear, but as circular, where everything comes round
  • After viewing, have students complete the What Can Be Done worksheets (appendix 3)
  • Provide students with the following examples of well-known companies who have invested in a circular economy. 1) The Clothing Store H&M is working its way towards a circular economy, focusing on recycling clothing and garments. 2) HP's ground breaking closed loop recycling process uses plastic from recycled cartridges to create new cartridges
  • Have students come up with a project proposal for a well-known company of their choice (p.7). This project proposal will give their chosen company suggestions for how to close the loop on plastics to create a circular economy. Have students write a letter to the company
What did you think of Understanding the Challenges of Finite Resources?
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About Learning Inside Out

Above you will find a selection of activities, broken down by various grade levels. These guides will be released weekly and archived on our Learning Inside Out page, so you can always access the full catalogue.

All activities have been modified from resources on our R4R database, simplified and adapted for both outdoor learning in the school yard or at-home as needed. The activity descriptions below should contain all the information and links that you need!

If you'd like to view the full original resource on R4R, including curriculum connections for every province/territory, click the activity title.

We want this guide to work for you, so your feedback is invaluable to us.
Use the feedback button at the bottom of this Guide, or email us at info@LSF-LST.ca. We would also love to see photos of students engaging in the activities, please e-mail us any pictures or videos you have!
Let us know how this helped your learning and teaching from home or at school indoors and (hopefully) outdoors and what you'd like to see more of by filling out our brief feedback form!
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Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a Canadian charity with over 25 years of experience working within the education system. Our Resources for Rethinking (R4R) database is an award-winning collection of resources that are peer-reviewed by certified teachers and connected to curriculum in all provinces and territories. R4R is recommended on many Ministry of Education websites.
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