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Lesson 5: Taking Out the Trash

Recycling Unit

Lesson 5: Taking out the Trash


Students will be able to analyze the solid waste that they generate over a period of time.

Students will be able to make graphs and analyze them.

Students will be able to predict the amount of waste produced the next week.


N.ME.05.09 Understand percentages as parts out of 100, use % notation, and express a part of a whole as a percentage.

D.AN.05.03 Given a set of data, find and interpret the mean (using the concept of fair share)

and mode.

D.AN.05.04 Solve multi-step problems involving means.


One week’s worth of trash


Graph paper


  1. Teacher Lecture: Introduce the concept of graphing waste over time. The teacher should have collected one week’s worth of trash for the activity.
  2. Student Activity: Students will divide into groups, each one taking a bag of garbage. The students will then sort the trash into recyclable and not recyclable materials.
  3. Student Activity: As a class, the students will record their data in a chart and then graph the results. As a group, the students will discuss ways in which they can decrease these numbers. One suggestion may be starting a recycle bin. Each student is then going to write a prediction of the amount of materials that will be found in the trash next week. This same process will be done on Friday of each week.
  4. Teacher Lecture: The teacher will present the students with information about waste generated in 2003. This is available in a pi chart in Project Learning Tree. The teacher will also share other facts about waste from 2003.


I will be able to student learning by the way they work in their groups and the predictions they make about waste.

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