The Kingdom of Throwaway

Grades: 3 to 6
Class Time: l hr.

Focus: In order to focus the students on how much the American people throwaway every day, find a story that deals with waste issues, have students write original stories about waste after discussing the problems involved with waste, or read the story from More Than Money – An Activities Approach to Economics entitled “The Kingdom of Throwaway.”
Outcome: Students will understand how waste affects the cost of items and impacts our resources.
Objective: Students will be able to give examples of how we waste our resources and at least five solutions for solving the problems of waste disposal.
Core Competencies: Sharing earth-space with others: the community.
Procedure:
1. Read stories about poor waste management to students or have students write original stories after researching the topic.
2. Have students make a list of all the things they see around the school that they consider wasteful? around the community?
3. Have students discuss the items on their list and prioritize these items.
4. What solutions can they come up with for solving the problems they have discovered?
5. How does waste affect economics. Point out that when we have waste, there is less money to spend, and therefore more opportunity cost.
6. Integrate lesson into science lesson on recycling.
7. Make a mural of all the waste products you have found.
Materials/Resources: Stories about waste including the story “The Kingdom of Throwaway” from Scott, Foresman, and Co.
Evaluation: Solutions for solving waste problems, mural, and stories.
Extensions: More able students can research how waste affects the economy of the U.S. and go more in depth of what problems are caused by our wasteful habits. A debate can be conducted for other classes. A waste reduction project could be conducted throughout the school.
Vocabulary: Waste, valuable, important, sensible, advisable, necessary good, saving
Related Skills: Reading and writing, understanding scientific concepts such as recycling.
References: Lenning, Lorene R. (1990). More Than Money – An Activities Approach to Economics. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, and Company.
Source: Edwards, Cindy and Murphy, Carole (1995). Elem. Educ. 253, Social Studies Methods, Univ. of Mo., St. Louis.