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Kirsten Schmidt

Project Based Lesson
Title: Garbage Can Audit
Grade Level: 3- 5
NGSS.SC.3.N.1.1- Raise questions about the natural world, investigate them
individually and in teams through free exploration and systematic investigations,
and generate appropriate explanations based on those explorations.
LO #1: In teams, students will synthesize a research question that accurately
conforms to stated criteria as their first step in the research process.
NGSS.SC.3.N.1.3- Keep records as appropriate, such as pictorial, written, or simple
charts and graphs, of investigations conducted.
LO #2: Within the investigation, students will construct accurate graphs to illustrate
their findings, earning 3 or above on all criteria of the graph rubric. (You will need to
create such a rubric.)
NGSS.SC.3.N.1.5- Recognize that scientists question, discuss, and check each
others' evidence and explanations.
LO #3: Working in groups, students will perform an investigation and then produce
justifiable conclusions based upon their research. Each group must provide at least
2 justifications for each conclusion.
NGSS.SC.N.1.6- Infer based on observation.
LO #4: After performing observations, students will synthesize at least1 accurate
inference, providing 2 justifications for this inference.
NGSS.SC.4.E.6.3- Recognize that humans need resources found on Earth and that
these are either renewable or nonrenewable.
LO #5: Based upon their research, students will accurately classify resources as
renewable or nonrenewable.

MAFS.3.MD.1.2 Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using
standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l). Add, subtract, multiply, or
divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given
in the same units.
LO #6: Working in teams, students will accurately measure mass of objects using
standard units of measurement.
MAFS.3.MD.2.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a
data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step how many more and
how many less problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For
example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5
LO #7: Within the investigation, students will construct accurate graphs to illustrate
their findings, earning 3 or above on all criteria of the graph rubric.
MAFS.3.OA.3.7 Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the
relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 5 = 40, one
knows 40 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from
memory all products of two one-digit numbers.
LO #8: Without calculators, students will be able to accurately multiple and divide
within the range of numbers 0-100.
MAFS.3.NBT.1.2 Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and
algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship
between addition and subtraction.
LO #9: Without calculators, students will be able to accurately add and subtract
within the range of numbers 0-100.
MAFS Mathematical Practices
MAFS.K12.MP.5.1 Use appropriate tools strategically
LO # 10: Given instrument used for measuring, student will choose an appropriate
instrument and then record accurate measurements.

LAFS.3.RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text,
referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
LO #11: Given a reading assignment, students will formulate 3 comprehension
questions related to the text and accurately answer each one.
LAFS.3.RI.1.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events,
scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in a technical procedures in a text, using
language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
LO #12: Given the scientific definitions of renewable and nonrenewable items,
students performing the renewable/non-renewable activity will accurately analyze
the effects of resource depletion, earning 3 or above on all criteria of the Follow Up
Questions rubric. .
LAFS.3.RI.2.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific
words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
LO #13: Based upon their research, students will accurately classify resources as
renewable or nonrenewable.
LAFS.3.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey
ideas and information clearly.
LO #14: Given a research project, students will effectively collect data and write a
report of their findings. The report must earn 3 or above on all criteria included in
the Report rubric.
ISTE (Technology Use):
Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making: Students use critical
thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and
make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
LO#15: Given a research project, students will effectively collect data and write a
report of their findings. The report must earn 3 or above on all criteria included in
the Report rubric.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations- Plan and conduct an investigation
collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, using fair tests in
which variables are controlled and the number of trials considered. (3-5-ETS1-3)

LO#16: Given a research project, students will effectively collect data and write a
report of their findings. The report must earn 3 or above on all criteria included in
the Report rubric.
Specific Learning Objectives
See Learning Objectives under specific standard
The teacher can share the learning objectives at the time that they teach that
topic. They can write them on their dry erase board and change as the lessons
Guiding Questions
Define waste in our classroom garbage can and give examples of waste.
What are ways that we can reduce, reuse, and recycle?
What impact does garbage have on our Earth?
How much garbage do people create? How much of that can be reused?
What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?
Diagnostic Assessment
See the attached Diagnostic Assessment document and the rubric for grading it.
Formative Assessment
The formative assessments consists of the worksheets for the activities, matching
vocabulary assessment, and the formative assessment. The formative assessment
will be something that you might want to give closer to the end of the project. The
document entitled Formative Assessment is where you can find the assessment
and answer key. The teacher will also utilize exit tickets to determine if
misconceptions still exist or to pinpoint areas of concern. If there are any concerns
then the teacher will use reteaching strategies.
Teacher will review the exit tickets, worksheets and matching vocabulary
assessment when they are given to identify problematic areas for students. The
formative quiz will also be administered and reviewed in the middle of the project.
A performance based formative assessment is provided. In the document Garbage
Audit (PDF) you will find worksheets that they will need to fill out as part of their
performance based formative assessment.
Feedback to Students

As students work on formative assessment, worksheets, vocabulary assessments,

and exit tickets, they will be afforded the opportunity to learn the correct answers
At the end of this project, the students will be given back all of their own work with
some comments from the teacher and asked to check for any mistakes. They will
make changes in green pen to make any corrections to their answers. The teacher
will provide written comments to students at the end of the project about any errors
they found, their diagnostic assessment, formative assessments, and summative
Summative Assessment
Have students write an imaginative essay about a make-believe town that no longer
could collect its citizens trash. Students should include what caused the problem
and how the people tried to solve it. See rubric to go along with the essay.
Prior Knowledge
If students are going to help solve the garbage (waste) problem, they first need to
understand the size of the problem. Throwing away a single gum wrapper or banana
peel doesnt seem very important, until we see the cumulative impact of everyones
combined trash over a period of time. By performing a classroom or school wide
waste audit, students will gain the necessary perspective to realize that everyones
individual waste contributes to solid waste management problems.
Explanation of prior knowledge on mathematics, addition and subtraction of
numbers within 1000. They should also already have some idea of how to multiply
and divide. Knowing how many days are in a week, month, and year will be
needed, but is information that you can give them.
Explanation of prior knowledge on science, they should be able to keep a log/record
of information. They should also know how to follow the scientific process. Students
should be able to make inferences about things that they observe.
Explanation of prior knowledge on language arts in reading is to be on grade level
for that specific time of year. They should also have some knowledge on text
features that can be found throughout informational text. Students should have
knowledge on how to ask/answer questions, and create their own questions.
Teacher Presentation
Activate Prior Knowledge: First give have them complete the Diagnostic
Assessment. To activate prior knowledge, they should do a picture sort.
(ATTACHMENT: NATURAL RESOURCE CARD SORT) First have them look at the
objects without any specific instructions on how to sort them. Have a discussion
about how they sorted the objects and why they made those choices. Then after
about 3 minutes let them know that all of the pictures have to do with the topic of

recycling and resources. Next, have a discussion about the different ways they
have sorted and what made them think of those topics. This is a behavior
instructional strategy(card sort).
Next, start the powerpoint about Renewable and Nonrenewable that uses popcorn
as a visual on how resources are/were used. (ATTACHEMENT: RENEW AND
NONRENEW ACTIVITY PPT) At the end of each activity, have the groups talk about
what they observed and then come together as a class to discuss their
observations. The discussion is a cognitive instructional strategy.
Then pass out the nonrenewable/renewable resources foldable. The students can
attach this into their science folder or notebooks. (ATTACHMENT: FOLDABLE) This
note taking is a cognitive instructional skill.
The topic that will come next is that garbage is made up of renewable and
nonrenewable resources. They will need to be able to place items that were in the
trash into categories(paper, wood/yard debris, food, building material, plastic,
metal/glass, clothing, miscellaneous, hazardous material). (ATTACHEMENT:
CATEGORIES ANCHOR CHART) They will base their choices on which material the
object is mostly made of. The students goal is to find out which material they use
the most. This will be found by weighting the garbage and each specific category.
In this exercise, students will collect their own personal garbage for an entire day.
Another option for this lesson is to assign your class as a team to collect
representative samples from the schools waste bins. In this exercise they will be
utilizing their math skills of graphing, different operations(addition, subtraction,
multiplication, division), mass, and volume of the garbage. Doing the garbage audit
is a inquiry based application instructional strategy.
To actively engage students and start to build their knowledge on the topic of
recycling, renewable, and nonrenewable resources show them the video entitled
Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling: Environmental Concerns that can be found on
Discovery Streaming.

Guided Practice
For Classroom Waste Activity1-Large tabletop or floor space
2-Large tarp
2-Disposable plastic tarps
6-Large trash bags

1 per student-Worksheets (these can be duplicated for students or used on an

overhead projector)
2 per student-Latex or rubber gloves
1 per student-Smocks or shirts (to protect clothing)
2-Bathroom scale
Access to soap and water or Disinfectant hand-wipes
1-Container in which to measure trash (medium size trash can)
Trash collected from representative classrooms
Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources Powerpoint30 pieces per student-popcorn
1 per student-paper
1 per student-pencil
2 rolls-paper towel
Room Set-up:
Popcorn Activity
Students will be split up into groups of 4 and sit around one desk or table. They all
need to be close enough that they can reach the popcorn.

Garbage Audit


all trash
starts here

le resources

Grouping: For much of the in class work group the students into group sizes 3-4.
You can group them based on their reading level or understanding of math concept
being used. Then for the analyzing their amount of waste, you need to decide if the
students will do it independently or in pairs at school. For the in class activity they

will work in groups. When it gets to the individual practice they need to do that
Individual Practice
At this point the students have already had lessons and been taught the topics of
graphing, calculations(addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), weight, and
tools. (This lesson is not meant to teach them on the lesson topics)
Each student will measure the amount of trash that their family makes over one
week. (If this won't work, they could always measure the amount of trash each
student creates at school.) Document entitled Garbage Audit (PDF) is what they
can use for individual practice, the one at the bottom of the document is meant to
be done at home. Both independent at home and in class (group project) are
available in that document. There is no rubric for this because there is a worksheet
for them to record their information and lead them through the activity.

After students have handed in their Individual work, hold a class discussion where
the students share their research into their own waste. The teacher will then give
the Formative Assessment questions and give students time to complete this. They
will also complete the Summative Assessment to check that they have learned the
important concepts. The formative and summative assessments check the most
important skills that we want to see if they have mastered or not.
During the entire lesson, make sure to ask higher level questions to get the gifted
students to think at a higher level.
Gifted students can take this project further than themselves and look at a larger
area that they attribute garbage to (cafeteria, classroom, grade level, or hallway).
Then come up with solutions that are feasible for which size group they looked at
and knowing what that group of people is capable of.
The next part would be to compare two different groups of people in the school to
see which group produces the most garbage. For example they could compare third
grade to fourth grade classrooms. Then they can take a look at why one might be
lower than another.
For higher level readers, have texts that are at a higher level.

Throughout the project, make sure to use as many cognates as possible so that they
are more successful in understanding the topics. It is also key to use as many
images as possible when explaining and teaching the topics. Some of the
worksheets can be translated into Spanish so that you can see if they understand
the topic in their native language.

Hearing Impaired:
Throughout the project, make sure to have visuals for as much as possible so that
they can understand the topic. Also make sure that directions are also very clearly
written out. Another way to help them understand the process and procedures, you
should act out what they will need to do.


Safety Reminders

Handling garbage

Always remember to wear gloves when

handling any garbage

Using plastic bags

Do not put the bag over your head

Protecting clothing

Wear a smock or bring a shirt that would

be okay to get dirty

The teacher will start a conversation about how to stay safe and what they should
"Teacher will review general safety rules with the class before the project. For
each activity,
teacher will list safety concerns with the students and help them
brainstorm ways to minimize
these concerns"