The Big Idea: Recycling
How is it done? Why is it done? How does it help in the long-run and in the short-run?

The Essential Question
Why is recycling important and how does it keep the Earth clean and protected for future generations? (How can we help La Union Elementary School and be an example to the community around us by promoting our "Courtyard Garden" recycling project?)

The Earth is our only home, to take care of it is in our best interest as its inhabitants. Some countries produce far larger amounts of waste than others, and some have more proactive recycling plans than others. Environmental issues are at the top of the list for most news and current event discussions, with concerns about global warming and manufacturing catastrophes like the Gulf oil spill. Of all the trash produced, only a small amount is recycled compared to what could be. Most waste ends up in a landfill with some reaching the oceans and waterways of the world. Despite the best efforts of landfills to help protect the environment from waste, dumping garbage in a hole to be covered and left is not preferable to recycling and reusing. The available landfill space is decreasing in our city, the United States and all over the world. What we decide to use and what we decide to throw away can have a major impact on the earth. How do environmental efforts differ from country to country? What methods are used to control waste? How can recycling methods be used to control and reduce waste put into landfills? What methods of recycling are used in the local community, and how can they be improved? Exploring recycling in links to sustainability of the environment and using creativity to exhibit and encourage the community to reduce, reuse and recycle will guide students as they answer the essential and guiding questions while completing the challenge.


The Challenge
To improve our school and exhibit to the surrounding community by finding ways to encourage recycling, reuse waste materials and creatively "recycle" those materials that cannot be reused or recycled directly.


Guiding Questions
What is recycling?

What items can be recycled and what items cannot?

How does recycling impact the environment? What does it take to recycle?

What data supports recycling? How long does it take for certain items to completely go away?

What happens to items that are not recycled?

Where do recycled items go, and how are they prepared? Is there recycling available in Malakoff or the surrounding area? What would a person or business need to do if they wanted to recycle in Malakoff?

How does not recycling lead to different types of pollution?

How is water effected by pollution from recyclable materials? How is land effected?



Guiding Activities
Organizing - KWD Chart
Students will begin the activities by brainstorming what they know about recycling and its links to pollution, what they would like to know and what they would like to do to help.


Clean Up Your World
Students will observe the effects of pollution on a natural environment and help to repair it by playing an interactive game created by Funschool. This will help students begin to realize the importance of recycling as well as brainstorm ideas of how to help a similar community environment.
http://funschool.kaboose.com/globe-rider/earth-day/games/game_clean_up_your_world.html
http://lol.disney.com/games/recycle-rush



Culminating Organization - KLP Chart
Students will organize the research they have completed during the guiding activities and using the guiding resources to organize their thoughts in a culminating chart; showing what they knew about recycling, what they learned about recycling and pollution and what they plan to do now to encourage the community to recycle directly and creatively.





Project Resources for the Solution
Students may use the following resources to accomplish the challenge and answer the essential questions.

Think Maps - http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/graphicmap/

Graphic Organizers - http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/

Edmodo - http://www.edmodo.com/

GlogsterEdu - http://edu.glogster.com/

Graphic Maps - http://www.exploratree.org.uk/


Solutions
After completing the guiding activities and using the guiding resources from this page as well as the Diigo page, students may brainstorm ideas for how to solve the challenge of improving the local community by finding ways to encourage recycling. Some possible solutions are listed below and highlighted in a multimedia page as linked below.

Recycle Day - Students organize and advertise a day where the community can bring various items to the school to be recycled. Recycling centers and businesses will be invited to help students collect and recycle paper, plastic, cans, cooking oil, batteries, ink cartridges and more!

Creative Recycling Classes - Students use what they have learned during the guiding activities to teach others what can be recycled, how to sort it and where to take it, the importance of recycling to reduce pollution and how to creatively reuse materials that are hard to recycle or non-recyclable.

Student Glog - http://mrspayne4.edu.glogster.com/pbl/
Students create a Glog summarizes their solution ideas, including a video about learning from others about making school recycling effective and a sound recording of wind chimes that represent the natural environment they are striving to protect.
Example Glog for Recycle Day Solution
Recycle Day Glog Ad