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Waste Generation

Middle

Description

This action-oriented resource focuses attention on the issue of water reduction. Using an inquiry-based learning approach, students conduct school, personal, and classroom waste audits to yield 'before' results. After scrutiny and analysis of their findings, students make behaviour changes to meet a waste reduction challenge.


Teachers and students are provided with detailed instructions for constructing and monitoring an out-of-doors compost bin, and/or an indoor vermicomposting bin.  Resource components include:

Background information on waste generation problems and solutions.

Activities to Assess Waste Generation:

  • Waste Walk About - assesses school waste generation
  • My Daily Waste-assesses personal & home waste
  • Waste Reduction Challenge-students are challenged to reduce personal waste for one day

Activities for Student Action:

  • Introductory Student Reading: The Magic of Composting
  • Experiment #1 Outdoor Composting
  • Experiment #2 Indoor Vermicomposting

Four additional extension ideas are included.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Audit & data collection
  • Compost bin construction
  • Vermiculture bin construction

Strengths

  • The resource is easy to use and involves students in inquiry.
  • The authors have included ready-made check lists for student data collection.
  • The instructions for the compost bins are clear and thorough.
  • Interesting background information is provided.
  • The lessons empower students to create meanigful change.

Weaknesses

  • The background information is for teachers only. A visual presentation for students would be far more engaging and informative.
  • No marking rubrics or checklists are provided for ease of assessment.

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Themes Addressed

  • Waste Management (3)

    • Composting
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • Supports the ESD perspective.
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 Good
  • Students explore environmental dimensions of the problem.
  • Background reading is provided and discusses both social and economic dimensions. However it is unclear how this reading is to be used and by whom.
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 Very Good
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

This is a definite strength of the resource.

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 Very Good
  • Questions for guiding discussion and providing a reason to care are provided in activity 2.1
  • Lesson 2.2 p.3 invites students to revisit their thoughts and feelings through discussion or journaling.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
  • Not an aspect of the resource.
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 Very Good
  • Students get outside and around the school.
  • Students build and monitor a compost bin outside.
  • Students work with red wigglers.
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
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
  • The lessons focus on the present and 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 Good
  • The 'right' answer is to reduce and the activities all lead in that direction. Getting to that answer requires a combination of structured inquiry and guided investigation.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very 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 Satisfactory
  • Students are provided with intriguing personal questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves a unique experience.
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 Satisfactory
  • The activities are heavily visual-kinesthetic. There are no ideas for differentiation or adaptation provided.
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
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
  • Students work in groups.
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 Satisfactory
  • There is opportunity for teacher assessment but no rubrics are provided.
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
  • It is suggested that students can take the Waste Reduction Challenge to the entire school through daily announcements.
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 Poor/Not considered
  • This is not an aspect of the lessons.
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 Satisfactory
  • Four extension ideas are provided.
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.