Major funding for LOOP SCOOPS is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the information in these materials has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83447601 to WGBH, it may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
The materials in everyday products come from many different renewable and nonrenewable sources. In this lesson, students apply geographic knowledge and critical thinking skills to consider where materials come from. By examining objects from their own backpacks or the classroom garbage can, students piece together the objects' "life stories" and discuss implications for disposal and biodegradation. Watching the animated "Electronic Gadgets" video prompts students to think about the materials in a video game player, and the animated "Orange Juice" video leads students to think about the life cycle of bottled juice. Both videos lead to a discussion of how changes in their own behavior can reduce waste and pollution.
This lesson can stand alone, or you can follow it with the companion lesson, Biodegradation.
If the lesson will be taught at the beginning of the day, you may want to bring garbage from home, save garbage from the previous day, or ask colleagues to share their garbage for use in the lesson. (Note: For safety, only you—the teacher—should remove items from the garbage can.) Instead of using garbage for the lesson, you could provide everyday items, such as a water bottle or cell phone, or ask students to choose items from their backpacks.
1. (Estimated time, step 1: 10 minutes) Seat students in a circle. Spread several sheets of newspaper on the floor in the center of the circle. Tell students that they are going to see what's inside the classroom garbage can. Wearing rubber gloves, remove objects from the garbage can and place them on the newspaper, as students identify the items.
Optional: Instead of using the garbage can, you can provide everyday items, such as a water bottle or cell phone, or ask students to choose items from their backpacks.
Choosing one item (such as a banana peel, juice box, or snack wrapper), tell students they have a challenge: to tell this product's life story. Ask students to brainstorm answers to these questions:
2. (Estimated time, steps 2–4: 10 minutes) Divide the class into pairs or groups, explaining to students that they will now try to add more details to the story. Post the Product Life Cycle Chart (PDF) on the wall, or distribute individual copies of the chart to students. Help students plug in the information for one object. (Let students know that they can skip the fourth column if they are not yet familiar with the terms biotic and abiotic. They will be coming back to this chart later in the lesson.)
3. In pairs or groups, have students generate as much information as they can about the item in 60 seconds. (It may be helpful for students to know that the United States is approximately 3,000 miles across, and it is approximately 7,800 miles from Taipei, Taiwan, to New York City.) Display responses.
4. Students probably won't have much information to fill in the chart. If this is the case, ask students:
5. (Estimated time, steps 5–6: 10 minutes) Show the Electronic Gadgets Video all the way through.
6. Lead students in a discussion.
7. (Estimated time, step 7: 5 minutes) Present the following science. Refer to the chart as you read.
Optional: To make this section more interactive, have students prepare oversize vocabulary cards with the words life cycle, raw materials, biotic, abiotic, and decompose.)
8. (Estimated time, steps 8–10: 10 minutes) Now tell students that they are going to watch a video about orange juice. In the video, a boy named Ben will learn that orange juice can have two very different life stories. Tell them to watch closely to see what the life stories are.
9. Play the Orange Juice Video. After watching the video, discuss the following questions:
10. (Estimated time: steps 11–12: 10 minutes) Ask students to think of other comparable food items and compare their life cycles. Emphasize that packaged foods aren't "bad," but knowing the full life cycle of a product can help them make better choices. Some possible examples are tap water vs. bottled water; baked potato vs. French fries; corn on the cob vs. tortilla chips; tomato vs. ketchup.
11. Discussion or writing prompts:
Lesson developed in collaboration with Creative Change Educational Solutions.