How Can We Reduce Trash in the Cafeteria?

Lesson 3: Limiting Garbage In the Cafeteria


  1. Learn about the environment

  2. Teach recycling awareness

  3. Show students can make a change in their communities

Lesson Summary:

Students will watch a powerpoint showing how excess garbage can pollute the environment and how excess garbage is harmful to the environment. The students will be split up into small groups and will be told to come up with ways that they can eliminate garbage in the cafeteria since reducing any amount of garbage can be helpful to the environment. The powerpoint will also show examples of websites that talk about reducing garbage, so they can get some ideas of what they think would be helpful in their school. The students will make a poster to explain their method to reduce trash. The students will then write their ideas in a letter that will get sent to the school board explaining what actions should be taken in the cafeteria to help reduce garbage and how those actions can help benefit the environment.

Lesson Narrative:

Introduction:  The teacher will start the lesson with a powerpoint exhibiting mind blowing pollution facts about The U.S.  In the next slide there will be heartbreaking pictures of animals impacted by garbage.  The teacher will then introduce the question, how might we limit garbage in the cafeteria?  

To answer this question you will:

  1. In your groups, research different methods to limit garbage in everyday life from the sources we have for you

  2. Pick one method you think will be the most effective and make a poster to explain about that method, which will be presented to the class.

  3. Write a letter to the school board explaining your method, why you think it will be the most effective, how to incorporate your method in the school, and how the school board can help implement your method to reduce trash.  The students will read this letter to the class.

  4. Review the rubric to make sure all elements are included


Possible Solutions:  Possible solutions to the question how might we limit trash in the cafeteria includes, recycling, reusable containers, and biodegradable utensils.  

Presentations (poster/letter): The students must make a colorful and engaging poster to explain their method of reducing trash to the class. The students will then write a letter to the school board to put their ideas in action.

Debriefing:  The teacher will sit the class down as a whole and ask the students if they think another group’s method to reduce trash in the cafeteria is better than their own.  The teacher will wrap up the lesson by asking the student’s personal plan to reduce trash in the cafeteria.  

Culminating Activity: The activity explained above is authentic because the students will be able to come up with plausible to solutions to the trash problem in the cafeteria.  This activity provides the students with opportunity to present their findings to the class.  More importantly, if the students hear the other presentations they can change their minds to pick the method of reducing trash that best works for them and their families. The students must collaborate throughout this activity because a couple students must research, some need to work on the poster, and some need to write the letter.  If the students cannot properly delegate then the teacher will step in to help. The teacher will be able to judge what they’ve learned from the lesson by assessing them with the rubric.  

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