Trash Pie: Is Your School Serving?by: Krista M. Hoover and Mary Carla Curran

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In observation of Earth Day, third-grade students were invited to examine what they contribute to the landfill and learn new ways they could help protect the environment. In this lesson, students collected, evaluated, and displayed data comparing the trash generated by home-lunch versus school-lunch students. Students interpreted their findings while generating ideas for reducing waste and communicating their discoveries through a letter-writing campaign. Because of the hard work and determination of a few students, an entire school has been positively affected by their recycling effort.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
3/1/2010

Community ActivitySaved in 59 Libraries

Reviews (6)
  • on Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:30 PM

This article is about the recycling program based on Earth day. The teacher, in the beginning, asked students where is the site that they put the trash after they finished the eating in the cafeteria. Then the class will have a discussion on what they observed. The target of this activity is to let students protect the environment by recycling their trash. During this activity, the students will collect the data about the number of trash they throw away between the lunchtime in school and in the home. The students can clearly see that the impact of human activity to the environment since the teacher will show the pie chart that the large gap between the trashes which students threw away in school and in the home. This is a good practice activity that I will use in my future class. I think such activities can cause students interests to care about the living environment. What’s more, it is a meaningful activity which can let students change their behavior on a daily basis to protect the environment. However, I may do some modifications about this activity, for example, before I require students to carry out this kind of activity, I may remind my students do not affect others’ normal activities during the event, and the safety warnings are also necessary.

Qianyu
Qianyu

  • on Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:22 AM

This article mainly states third-grade students did a survey about the trash generated by home-lunch and school-lunch in the observation of Earth Day, then based on their research, a recycling program was promoted throughout the school. It introduces that students began the survey with researching background knowledge from the internet and then had a class discussion about where the trash end up. For the following week, the students individually and independently began to use a Cafeteria Trash Survey Handout to figure out how much waste they throw and sort the data by category. Next, they put those data together and used them to calculate the average amount of trash per day generated by students who ate school lunches and home lunches. Finally, they placed the data in a pie chart so that they can better express their survey results. After the students analyzed the results, they began to think about how to reduce the waste and a recycling campaign was launched. That’s the purpose of Earth Day activity. Talking about what I learn from this article, what impressed me most was that the students collected data by the handout and then organized data into tables to see patterns. In the whole process, the student’s ability to communicate in science were improved. There are many different ways to communicate in science. As a future teacher, I should consciously practice their ability to communicate in different ways. In my future class, I will not only practice students' oral science communication ability through classroom question-and-answer, group discussion, and other forms. But also, as mentioned in the article, I will train students' ability to process and share information through written, graphics, and tables. For example, I will ask them to gather the data firstly, and then try to utilize those data to make pie charts, graphs, tables, bars and so on to better express the information they want to express.

Tianyi Ma
Tianyi Ma

  • on Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:07 PM

I really enjoyed reading the article “Trash Pie: Is Your School Serving?” by Krista M. Hoover and Mary Carla Curran. This article discusses a lesson that was based around Earth Day at an elementary school with third, fourth, and fifth graders. In this lesson, students collected, evaluated, and displayed data comparing trash from home lunches versus school lunches. After learning background information about landfills, different types of trash, and numbers pertaining to trash, students began their lesson. Students were given a handout to survey their lunch trash for one week. With adult supervision, students were able to analyze their trash for their documentation. All students took their individual data and added it to a master spreadsheet for the whole class. At the end of the week, the amount of trash thrown away by each classroom was determined. Students came to the conclusion that the majority of trash thrown away from school lunches was plastic whereas the majority of trash thrown away from home lunches was food scraps. This data was placed in a pie chart, hence the nickname, “trash pie”. Once students analyzed the results, they were given time to think how they could make a change and reduce waste. After discussion, the students decided to create a waste reduction plan for the school by forming a recycling team. I think this lesson was very successful because it allowed students to collect scientific data but also take that data and make a change.

Brittany
Brittany

  • on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:06 PM

This article states an activity about Earth Day. The authors ask students to do research about comparing home-lunch trash and school-lunch trash. The authors want their students could know that the importance of protecting environment and reducing waste through this activity. This is a big activity that cost students one week to do the survey of different trash and complete the sheet like a “trash pie”. Then, students discuss the reasons and results of different trash in the school. During this process, teachers will help students analyze their results. Then, they created a waste-reduction plan for school. Therefore, students learned a lot from this activity. “students not only collected scientific data, but they also became activists for an important environmental issue.”(Hoover and Curran, 2010, p.56) As a class, students will be assessed by their performance, sheets and their own reflections through this activity. In my opinion, this is a good way to educate students the sense of protecting environment. I prefer to let students to explore science by themselves first, then teachers offer supports or scaffolding to help them understand the new concepts. In my future class, if I have enough time, I will give student the similar topic to ask them explore. I believe that students not only can learn new knowledge, but also they can improve solving-problems skills.

Yu Ni
Yu Ni

  • on Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:49 PM

I loved how this article made trash and learning math connected. First off, the title got my attention so I decided to read the article! The article is about an Earth Day activity becoming a recycling program run by third through fifth grade students. Due to Earth Day, teachers asked students about where does their trash like from the cafeteria ends up. The goal was for students to learn how to protect their environment through recycling. In this activity, students were to collect data on the amount of trash from school lunches versus home- packed lunches. Students were to collect their trash from lunch daily and to classify whether the trash was food scraps, paper, cardboard, aluminum or plastic on a chart handout. By letting students count their trash by hand instead of weighing the trash on scales, they were able to see the connection humans have on the environment. The authors concluded that the majority of trash thrown away by school-lunch students was plastic and home-lunch students threw away more food scraps. The article received its name of “Trash Pie” because the teachers put the data collected from the trash in a pie chart.

Kia Shields
Kia Shields

  • on Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:58 PM

A lesson for Earth Day resulted in an inquiry-based project! This article focuses on the topics of environmental awareness, recycling, and waste. Students established a student-run school recycling program after observing the amount of waste was produced at lunch time. I appreciated the pie charts in this article that showed data comparisons between home-lunch students and school-lunch students. As well, this article was an excellent example of curriculum integration. On top of science skills, students were practicing Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Health skills!

Katie H
Katie H


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