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Waste Reduction Week in Canada 2017

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource is a kit that can be used as a starting point for any educator who wants to educate their students to reduce the amount of waste they are producing.  

The kit presents two beginning activities: 

1. Waste Assessment: The students will collect and analyse their classroom waste as well as waste from various locations throughout the school.  They will gather data on a Waste Assessment Form by collecting information about the type of waste, the amount and whether it is recyclable, reusable or compostable.

2. Waste Reduction Action Plan: The students will use the information gathered in Activity #1 to create a plan to make the largest impact possible on reducing waste.

The kit continues with suggestions for a multitude of activities that could be conducted during Waste Reduction Week, or at any other time. The activities range from measuring ecological footprints to forming clubs or hosting a Waste Reduction Week assembly.  Steps are also given to help plan your own Waste Reduction Week.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource explicitly teaches the students how to make an action plan based on the data collected.

Strengths

  • The links to the website provide rich supplementary materials.
  • The students will remember the lessons learned through the Waste Assessment activity as it is novel.
  • There are a lot of suggestions and freedom of choice for the teacher/class.

Weaknesses

  • The lack of concrete lesson plans or activities that are laid out for teachers may discourage some.
  • The lack of assessment tools for teachers.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This kit is great stand alone resource that could be implemented at any time of the year for a class action project.  Waste Reduction Week occurs in Canada in mid-October.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Analyzing and interpreting experiments in data probability develops an understanding of chance
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  • Yukon Territory
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        • Analyzing and interpreting experiments in data probability develops an understanding of chance
      • Science
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        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their envionment
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Data represented in graphs can be used to show many-to-one correspondence

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (3)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • General Guide to Taking Action
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Waste Management (4)

    • Composting
    • Cradle-to-Cradle
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource supports ESD perspectives by allowing the students to discuss and consider different points of view regarding waste issues.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The environmental dimension is the most prominent within this resource.  The economical and social dimensions would have to be developed and addressed by the teacher.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

The resource does not overtly address the complexity of the issue of waste reduction; however, the teacher could easily add this component through discussions with the students.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

The activities allow for the students to make a positive change in a variety of ways in their school and community.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Through the examination of the waste produced, the students will be able to identify and evaluate their own habits.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This resource does not focus on this topic.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

There are many opportunities for the students to act locally in their school community as well as their larger neighborhood should they so choose.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

This resource does not address an understanding of the past but clearly gives a sense of the present and the future.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Through the two beginning activities the students will be able to develop their own ideas and thoughts towards their own waste production and how to improve their actions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The students will be able to direct their own initiatives once the two initial activities are completed.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The resource does not include strategies for learners with difficulties; however, there are a multitude of suggested activities that do allow for a large variety of learning styles and multiple intelligences.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

Depending on the culminating activities chosen by the teacher/class, the learning can certainly move beyond the classroom walls.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Once again this component depends on the activities chosen and the direction the teacher chooses to take within the activity.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

The resource does not provide these materials.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Although there aren't any case studies within the resource, teachers are encouraged to visit the website for additional information.  On the website there are numerous videos that could be considered case studies and looked at in depth if the teacher so chooses.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

This component is dependent on the teacher allowing the students the freedom of choice of the activities that follow the waste assessment and the waste reduction plan.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.