ALEX Lesson Plan

Exponential Trash

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Nancy Caffee
System: Blount County
School: Blount County Career Technical Center
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32246

Title:

Exponential Trash

Overview/Annotation:

Waste disposal is a problem for the entire Earth and must be dealt with in a responsible manner to maintain biodiversity in ecosystems. After investigating the amount of waste they produce as an individual, family, class, school, community, and society, students investigate how items decompose in a landfill and develop arguments to support a solution to the problem. Students engage in argument to defend the effectiveness of a design solution on a proposed method of disposing of waste in their school and community. 

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
Life Science
7 ) Use empirical evidence from patterns and data to demonstrate how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem (e.g., deforestation, succession, drought, fire, disease, human activities, invasive species) can lead to shifts in populations.


Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.7.7- Interpret data to see how changes in an ecosystem (e.g., drought, forest fires) affect the animal population in an area.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
Life Science
9 ) Engage in argument to defend the effectiveness of a design solution that maintains biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g., using scientific, economic, and social considerations regarding purifying water, recycling nutrients, preventing soil erosion).


Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.7.9- Identify human behaviors that are harmful to the environment; compare the effectiveness of various solutions to these problems (e.g. recycling, preventing soil erosion, organic gardening).


Local/National Standards:

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Learning Targets

I can:

1. calculate the approximate amount of garbage produced by the class.

2. describe options for dealing with trash: recycling, reusing, incinerating, use of landfill, and composting.

3. describe how long trash will last in a landfill.

4. identify the basic components of a landfill.

5. identify problems associated with landfills and investigate possible design solutions to these problems (Examples: smell, methane gas, contamination of groundwater, scavenging birds, loss of natural resources, and increased traffic from trash trucks).

6. design and defend a proposed solution for dealing with trash and present the design to the class.

7. use evidence from patterns and data on the human activities of recyclingreusingincineratinguse of landfill, and composting to demonstrate how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in populations.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Engineering and Design: Design a solution for reducing the amount of garbage.

Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Copies of the following worksheets:

Tons of Trash  p. 10 SURC Education Kit 

Boxes, Bags, and Bottles p. 28 SURC Education Kit 

Ten different plastic containers per group for the Plastic Parade p. 17-18 SURC Education Kit investigation. Have Students bring in plastic containers for their group or begin collecting plastic containers at least a week before the activity.

The following items are needed for the Biodegradable? p. 25-26, SURC Education Kit  investigation.

1 milk carton or container to represent landfill

1 piece of plastic bag

Enough dirt or potting soil for each group

Water

Container

Enough lettuce for each group to have a small piece

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer and projector

Interactive Whiteboard or Interactive Tablet (Optional)

Document Camera (Optional)

Computer lab with Internet access (Optional)

Java must be installed or enabled

Background/Preparation:

Students are divided into diverse cooperative learning groups of four. Cooperative learning groups should be blended with various ethnicities including both girls and boys. Higher achieving students should be combined with the lower achieving students.

Review vocabulary terms recyclingreusingincineratinguse of landfill, and composting.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Engage:

Humans produce 246 million tons of waste every year. What does the human trash footprint look like? View Trash Footprint, National Geographic Channel.

Explore:

Before the exploration, students will hypothesize how many bags of garbage the class produces in a year.

1. Calculate the number of bags of trash that the student and class make in a week by completing the Tons of Trash p. 10 SURC Education Kit worksheet.

2. Complete the investigation Biodegradable? p. 25-26 SURC Education Kit. What happens to buried garbage?

3. How much garbage is in our lunch? Students will discover how much garbage the class makes with their lunch by completing the Boxes, Bags, and Bottles p. 28 SURC Education Kit investigation.

4. Are most plastics recyclable? Students answer the question by completing the Plastic Parade p. 17-18 SURC Education Kit investigation.

Explain: 

Students will report on how many bags of garbage the class produces in a year and explain how their calculations compared with their hypothesis.

  1. Discuss the role of the landfill. Diagram of Landfill, Landfill pdf.
  2. Describe how long trash will last in a landfill.
  3. Review vocabulary: organic, renewable resource, non-renewable resource
  4. Describe options exist for dealing with trash: recycling, reusing, incinerating, use of landfill, and composting.
  5. Lead a class discussion on problems associated with landfills and investigate possible design solutions to these problems.  Problems include smell, methane gas, contamination of groundwater, scavenging birds, loss of natural resources, and increased traffic from trash trucks.

ELABORATION

Working in cooperative learning groups, students will:

Apply what they have learned about how much trash they produce to research the effects of trash disposal on the local ecosystem including the effects on the population in the area.

The group will then design a solution to the problem and prepare evidence to argue why their solution will work.

Research the effects of landfills on the shifts in local populations.

Each group will create a solution to the trash problem and present their design to the class.

Each group will prepare a presentation to support their research and argue using evidence on why their design would be best. 


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

All worksheets can be evaluated for student understanding.

Class discussion and student response can be assessed for student understanding of the use of empirical evidence from patterns and data to demonstrate how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem because of the human activity of producing trash can lead to shifts in populations.

Example Scoring Rubric for Oral Presentation from Read, Write, Think can be used to assess group presentations.

Acceleration:

The Southern Utah Recycling Coalition offers an excellent  SURC Education Kit that provides teachers with a wealth of activities to choose from to extend their lessons on reducing, reusing, or recycling.

The following investigations are some suggestions for students or groups that finish early could complete and report the findings to the class.

Dirty Water p. 45 SURC Education Kit 

Juice Boxes p. 16 SURC Education Kit 

What We Use Today Affects What We Have Tomorrow p. 66 SURC Education Kit 

 

Intervention:

Allow students who need more time to complete their project at home. Use some of the projects from students who finish early for students who need remediation to use as an example. Assign a peer tutor to work with students who need extra assistance.

 


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.