Theme: Recycling

Rah! Rah! Recycling


Objective: Children will learn the difference between recyclable plastic and paper products, and work together to sort them.

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What You Will Need

  • Protective gloves – adults and children
  • Clean, empty paper and plastic recyclables from home or the classroom, such as the following:

    - cereal, cookie, or cracker boxes
    - plastic bottles
    - juice boxes
    - plastic tubs
    - newspapers
    - magazines  
    - paper scraps

  • Recycling bin for bottles and cans
  • Recycling bin for paper
  • Drawing paper
  • Crayons
  • Old bedsheet or shower curtain – 1

What To Do

  1. Spread the recyclables around the bedsheet placed on the floor.
  2. Begin a conversation about recycling (see Did You Know?).
  3. Place a bottle and can recycling bin and a paper recycling bin in the center of the circle.
  4. Demonstrate how to sort the recyclables, placing them in the appropriate bin.
  5. Ask children to put on protective gloves and then place the objects into the appropriate recycling bin.
  6. Distribute crayons and paper and ask each child to draw a picture of something that would go into the bottles and cans recycling bin or into the paper recycling bin.
  7. Have the children hang their picture above the appropriate containers.
  8. Discuss their sorting and whether it was correct.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Discuss why and how we recycle things.
  • Do you know what happens to the things in the recycle bin? 
  • When you are at home, where do you put your recyclables? 
  • Why do we separate the paper from the plastics?

Explore, Extend and Integrate

  • Throughout the day, try to emphasize ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the classroom. Save broken crayons and reuse them for art projects or melt them down and let the children make “new” crayons. When children are done drawing a picture, encourage them to use the back of the page rather than using a new piece of paper. Tell them why you turn off the lights each time you leave the classroom. 
  • Add “Recycling Monitor” to your job chart.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children identify which container the recyclable item best fit?
  • Can children talk about why recycling is important to the health of their classroom and to the Earth?
  • Do children understand what kinds of things recycled materials can be used to make?

Did You Know?

We recycle to help keep the Earth clean. When we eat our lunches, create art projects, blow our noses, or open a birthday present, we have things that need to be thrown away. Since we do not want to fill our world with trash, we try to reuse some of it. Many of the items we throw into the trash can be repurposed or recycled. This helps to reduce the amount of trash ending up in dumps and landfills. We put these things in a different kind of container so they can be recycled. When we recycle, we often sort paper materials from plastics, aluminum, and glass. The reason for sorting materials in advance is that they are easier to process when they get to the recycling center. Paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass are the most frequently recycled materials.

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Vocabulary

  • recycle
  • reduce
  • reuse
  • plastic
  • paper
  • environment

Child-Friendly Definitions »


Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.**

Learn More »

Did You Know?

We recycle to help keep the Earth clean. When we eat our lunches, create art projects, blow our noses, or open a birthday present, we have things that need to be thrown away. Since we do not want to fill our world with trash, we try to reuse some of it. Many of the items we throw into the trash can be repurposed or recycled. This helps to reduce the amount of trash ending up in dumps and landfills. We put these things in a different kind of container so they can be recycled. When we recycle, we often sort paper materials from plastics, aluminum, and glass. The reason for sorting materials in advance is that they are easier to process when they get to the recycling center. Paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass are the most frequently recycled materials. 

Many of the items we recycle are turned into the same products. For instance, recycled plastic soda bottles can be turned into new plastic bottles and used aluminum cans can be turned into new aluminum cans. We can also recycle used materials to create new products. Used office paper can be recycled into tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and writing paper. Plastic bottles are recycled and become fiber filling for jackets and sleeping bags, carpeting, paintbrush bristles, and skateboards.

Vocabulary

  • recycle – to change a used item through a process that lets us use it again.
  • reduce – to use less or to make smaller.
  • reuse – to use something again or use it more than one time.
  • plastic – an artificial substance made from certain kinds of chemicals that can be shaped when soft.
  • paper – a thin material often used to write on, to wrap objects, and to make things such as containers.
  • environment – the natural world including air, water, and soil that surrounds people and animals.

Lesson Tips

- Do not use cans in this lesson because the sharp edges could cut fingers.

- Some newspapers will leave the children’s hands very dirty. Allow time for washing up.

Books

- Recycle by Gail Gibbons

- Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

- What Should I Recycle? by Jen Green

- The Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Nuria Roca

Important Legal Disclosures and Information

*While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

**There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.