Going Green School Campaign

By april vitale, January 26, 2010

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Science

Lesson Time

30 minutes for classroom activities and 90 minutes for homework


Younger students are sometimes not aware of the important role and influence they can have by reusing resources and recycling. To reinforce this point, students will assess their school’s interior and exterior for “green” initiatives. Additionally, students will educate their family on the reuse and recycling of resources and items that would otherwise be thrown away.

Student groups will be assigned an area of school: classroom, halls, cafeteria, and exterior of building. In the interior, teams will be required to design a receptacle for recycling use. The exterior team will design a system for reusing a resource, such as rain water. 

National Standards


Students will:

  • increase their awareness of their role in implementing recycling and reusing materials at their school and home
  • design possible recycling containers for the classroom, halls, and cafeteria
  • design a system for the exterior, i.e, a way to capture and reuse rain water
  • practice oral presentation skills


United Streaming: Magic School Bus Holiday Special, “Recycling Matters” (Explains how everyday trash is recycled into new items.)

Curious George Goes Green (DVD)

Earth Friends at Play by Francine Galko

www.olliesworld.com (interactive)

www.eduplace.com (graphic organizers)


  • 11” X 17” paper
  • pencils
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • markers
  • student rubric for design activity
  • teacher rubric for oral presentation
  • organizer for book report
  • Table or chart to track recyclable trash at home
  • book report


  • conservation: the saving of resources by using them wisely
  • environment: the area in which something exists or lives
  • recycle: to reuse a resource by breaking it down and making a new product
  • reduce: to use less of a resource
  • reuse: to use a resource again and again


The recycling activity follows instructional classes on conservation of resources, reduction of waste, and reusable resources (water bottles, washable containers, reusable bags, etc.).

Day 1:

1. Post questions to answer after viewing either video. (See Video Question attachment.)  Use either United Streaming: Magic School Bus Holiday Special, “Recycling Matters” (1 of 7 segments: Recycling Waste), or “Curious George Goes Green”, DVD/VHS (1 of 8 segments: Curious George Does Trash).

2. Teacher assigns one question per group to discuss and summarize following the viewing.

3. On promethean board or chart paper, teacher records brief summary of each question. (Leave space for add-on info after class reviews.)

4. Class reviews summaries, revises, and/or adds info if necessary.

5. Teacher assigns homework and models creating a chart for recording trash items at home that should be recycled. (Ask students to keep the record for two to three days.)

Day 2:

1. Teacher introduces concept of school “going green.”  Teacher should ask:

  • Why is this important?
  • How can we get started?
  • What areas in our school are currently “green”?

2. Class walks halls, cafeteria, outside area, and records any “green” ideas/objects they see.  Partners or teams share their list with class.  Teacher should ask, “Do you think that is enough?”

3. Lead the class in a brainstorming session on what items we use at school that can be recycled.  Students take notes in their Science Journals.  Also, students should consider what resources can be reused around the exterior of the school building?

4. Use differentiation to create teams, which are then assigned designated school areas.

5. Teacher assigns homework: Students should think up ideas they can share with their team about possible designs. On-going: Continue charting trash found at home.

Day 3:

<span >1. Teacher reviews teams’ assignments.  Teams discuss and agree on a design.  Teacher facilitates and reviews final choice by each team.

(Note: An “exterior team’s” assignment is to design a system for reusing a natural resource. {It will probably be rainwater.  Accept any reasonable idea. Exterior team’s design can include a water bucket and hose, etc., to collect rainwater under spouts, or borders around edges to prevent erosion, for example.})

(Note: Teams must design an original container for their interior. NO manufactured-type trash baskets.)

2. Teacher assigns book report due on Day 5 and distributes non-fiction graphic organizer.  If necessary, Teacher models using organizer. On-going: Continue charting trash found at home.

Day 4:

1. Volunteers share “at home” chart of recyclable trash.  Students orally compare/contrast their charts.  Lead a discussion so students conclude that they can post the list at home for family members.

2. Teams complete their sketches and agree on their final design.  Each team should have a “recorder” who takes notes as each team develops their oral presentation.

3. Teacher distributes Oral Presentation Rubric and facilitates during this stage.

4. Presenters practice their presentations.

Day 5:

1. Each team presents their design sketch.  Allow time for constructive feedback from other teams about the design, not the presentation skills.



Student rubric for design activity

Teacher rubric for oral presentation

Differentiation:  Mix HI-LO students to form cooperative teams

Enrichment Extension Activities

Individuals/teams compose/write a persuasive piece to convince Principal to “GO GREEN” by implementing the team’s idea.

Teams can produce a 3D model if materials are available.

Volunteers can present book report orally.

Teacher Reflection

Possible adjustments:  Completion time (300 minutes for classroom activities) may need to be increased to 360 minutes.

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