Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:   Sheryl Weinberg Southeast Island School
          District Ketchikan, AK

                       ( Level 5 )
     It's no secret that a wealth of discarded products
will outlast most people alive today. . . a disturbing
legacy.  Heightening the collective consciousness of
citizenry has yielded some improved practices.  The
problem may be slowing slightly, but it is not going
away.  In geographically remote localities, where
landfill operations lack technological advances, or may
perhaps be nonexistent, the problem holds special
     This lesson will ask students to consider the
issue of waste recycling alternatives for isolated
settings.  They will be asked to transform discarded
solid waste into a usable item.

Student Motivation:  Ask the students: "What happens to
discarded solid waste in our community?  How do
disposal practices impact our lives?  What kind of
things are discarded?"  As a class, visit the landfill
site, or an appropriate alternative.  Following the
field experience, have students list and discuss what
they saw.  Next have them compare/contrast the same set
of questions relative to a remote environment.

Problem:  The students will list many, different and
unusual items that could be constructed out of refuse
and found objects.  Construction resources are to
include only hand tools and personpower.

Academic Concepts:  Waste management. Design and
measurement. Model building.

1.   Students will be asked to reflect on the questions
     listed under "student motivation".  They will make
     notes or drawings of their ideas for 5 minutes.
     Students will participate in a discussion of the
     issues using their notations as a resource.
2.   Students will visit a landfill.  Following the
     visitation, as a group, they will synthesize what
     they saw and their reactions.
3.   Students will break into groups of two.  Each
     group will be provided with a profile of a
     rural/remote community, including waste disposal
     issues.  Each group will read and discuss the
4.   Given ten minutes, each group will list many,
     different and unusual items that could be
     developed from their communities solid waste.
     Each group will share their ideas with the class.
5.   Each group will create a usable object from
     scavenged refuse, using hand tools and
     personpower.  Refuse selected needs to reflect
     that which would be found in their assigned
     community.  Upon completion the object will be
     described, photographed and displayed.   (At the
     onset of the project students will be asked to
     keep a journal of the evolution of their project.)

OPTIONAL FOLLOW UP:  Each group will be afforded the
opportunity to forward a description and photograph of
their creation to members of their assigned community.

MANY -  Total number of usable objects that can be
        made out of solid waste using hand tools and
DIFFERENT - Number of categories that waste product
        objects can be grouped into.
UNUSUAL - One-of-a-kind objects that can be made
        from solid waste.


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