Recycling Projects for Elementary School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Elementary students can get very engaged in projects pertaining to recycling. This lesson gives you some ideas for recycling projects to do with K through 5 in grades.

Why Recycling Projects?

Teaching kids about recycling can be one of the best ways to engage them in learning about conserving the earth's resources. Children are often very interested in issues pertaining to ecology and nature. When you teach them what it means to recycle, you show them that even they have the power to make a difference in how resources get used. A great way to teach students about recycling is through project-based learning. When children work on projects, they see their learning put into immediate action. This helps them make independent connections between theory and practice. Projects can also be a great way to promote a sense of community and help students work across different disciplines. The projects in this lesson are oriented toward teaching elementary school students about recycling. They can be modified to meet the specific needs of any age or type of student.

Community Activism Projects

One great category of project for helping students learn about recycling is a community activism projects. These projects help students understand how they can make a difference in their school or community. Community activism projects can give students a sense of hope for the future and an understanding of how the process of change works. These projects deal specifically with recycling in the school and community.

  • Educational Campaign

Once your students have learned about why recycling is important, they are likely to feel motivated to teach others about recycling. Have your students make informational posters to hang all over your school, teaching other students and teachers why it matters to recycle whenever possible. They can research what goes into a successful poster campaign, and they should interview others in your school about the impact their posters have.

  • Adding Containers and Resources

Often, a roadblock to getting a recycling program started can be a lack of recycling bins or a shortfall of people to help sort different kinds of recycling. Have your students do some research about why community members might choose not to recycle. Then, help them organize a fundraiser like a bake sale or car wash to raise enough money for more bins or other necessary resources.

  • Letter Writing

If you live in a community where your students feel recycling is not sufficiently encouraged, you can help your students learn which local leaders they might lobby to make a change. Show students examples of professional, persuasive letters and have them write their own letters to local council, the mayor, or other community leaders explaining why recycling is important and how they could do a better job supporting it.

Art Projects

Art projects and crafts can be a different way to teach students to recycle. These projects show students what it means to recycle materials sensibly.

  • Tube Tunnels

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