We have officially entered the season of extravagance—and it might be the perfect time for students to think about not only consumption but also the way that consumption impacts our environment. Wonder 784: Where Is the Largest Pile of Trash? is a wonderful springboard for learning about the use and abuse of our planet, and steps to take in being responsible citizens of the earth.
Many purchases include far more than the item we are buying. From toys to big ticket items like computers and TVs, there is plenty of trash: packaging, such as cardboard boxes, plastic cases, Styrofoam packing materials, giftwrap, and maybe even batteries to dispose of and then replace.
I’ve seen an interesting activity where students look through a bag of trash as if they are archeologists, trying to piece together what they know about the family who disposed of the items. Who are they? What did they do? What are their ages? Etc. This not only focused on the environment, but gives a scientific/historical perspective as well.
Maybe your activities and discussions can impact recycling as the season begins. I’m eager to learn fresh ideas!