Start Early! Teaching Young Learners about Plastic Use

In this project, student in a 5th grade talented and gifted reading class were tasked with a way to reduce plastic waste in the community. Through initial research of online nonfiction articles and through an in-class investigation of plastic waste produced at home, students zoomed in on the school community as the primary beneficiary of their efforts and identified 2 main goals of their project:

  1. To inform the younger population of Tucker students (1st grade) about the problem of plastic waste through an interactive presentation
  2. To replace the waste produced daily at Tucker in the cafeteria with more environmentally friendly options.

Cohort member: Adam Carpenter

Students: 5th grade students at Samuel Tucker Elementary School

Essential questions: 

  • How does “use of plastic” contribute to type of plastic waste?
  • What cycles of plastic waste production, consumption, waste, and recycling exist in our community?
  • What solutions to problems of plastic best fit our community needs?

English Language Arts Standards:

5.6 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction texts.
5.7 The student will write for a variety of purposes: to describe, to inform, to entertain, to explain and to persuade
5.9 The student will find, evaluate, and select appropriate resources for a research product.

Science Standards:

5.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, login, and nature of science by planning and conducting investigations.