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Ways to Encourage Recycling in Your Classroom

It may seem impossible to encourage your students to recycle in the social studies classroom. However, getting students on board with recycling activities is not as hard as you may think. Share ways to reuse paper and pay attention to resources. Problem solve with your students on more recycling activities. Check out these ways to encourage recycling in your classroom.

Reduce-Recycling Audit

Recycling starts with an “audit” of where things can be used more efficiently. This is a recycling activity that helps students realize how they use resources. First, show the students how to count how many pieces of new paper they use in a week and graph it. Next, ask students to track the use of one pencil through a week of school and graph it. At the end of the week, look at the usage graphs and discuss as a classroom ways that can be made to develop a less resource costly classroom environment. Finally, tracking personal use of classroom and personal learning resources can be the first step toward integrating a successful recycling program in your classroom.

Reuse Materials

After the class has done a resource overview, you can encourage recycling by teaching the class to reuse paper. First, utilize a tray in your classroom where unused one sided handouts or misprints are stored. Next, teach your students that this is where they get paper for class activities. Additionally, use the reused paper yourself to model the classroom norm. It takes a little getting used to, but middle grade students thrive on being unique. As a classroom teacher you can measure how much paper is reused for classroom activities and the class can graph their paper savings.

Recycling Around the World

Another recycling activity in your social studies classroom is reviewing recycling around the world. In many locations, materials are reused many more times before they wear out. This is less common in the United States. For example, Fair Trade artisans in Kenya reuse magazines to create baskets and jewelry. In addition, they use recycled wire to make small sculptures of animals. In addition, many artists use Earth-friendly sustainable practices in their work.
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First, during your studies of other countries, investigate the region’s Fair Trade practices. To begin, locate on the world map where that region is. In addition, discuss the resources that are being reused. Next, show your students images online of the types of products artisans from around the world make from reused items. Finally, invite students to bring recycled materials to your social studies classroom to create their own art object out of recycling.

Recycling Escape Room

Another way for you to encourage recycling in your social studies classroom is to lead your students through this Recycling Escape Room.

What is an Escape Room?

Escape rooms are digital puzzles where students read passages and complete activities in order to solve puzzles and learn information about a topic. The digital Recycling Escape Room is one of my favorites to help students engage in fair trade practices and recycling activities! All your students will need to access the digital escape room is a Google account and access to Jigsaw Planet (a free site).

Digital Recycling Escape Room

First, students are divided into teams of 4-5. Next, students work together to decipher puzzles and answer questions to reading passages with the ultimate goal of being the first to beat the clock. The escape room contains four activities: The Digital Escape Room includes 4 sets of activities, each with a reading and quiz.
  • Cryptogram
  • Maze
  • Cipher
  • Jigsaw
  • You may choose to have prizes in your classroom, and what better prize than a Fair Trade recycled object! If you prefer to not make the activity a contest, that is appropriate and the students will still have fun beating the clock. As your students work through the passage readings, quizzes, maze, cryptogram, cipher and jigsaw, they won't even realize they are learning! Students must read the passages to solve the puzzles. Your students answer three questions about each of the four passages and then decode a puzzle. The Escape Room will not only encourage critical thinking and problem solving, but it will also give them an opportunity to work together collaboratively.

    Start Teaching Recycling Today

    These ways to encourage recycling in your classroom teach your students about the world. What are some of the ways that you teach your students about Earth-First sustainable practices? What recycling activities can you start using in your classroom today? There’s no time like the present!

    Find Escape Room Inspiration With Think Tank

    Check out some of our Categories!

    ♦Astronomy ♦Back to School ♦Black History ♦Character Education ♦Civics ♦Digital Escape Rooms ♦Earth Sciences ♦Environment ♦Geography ♦Government ♦Growth Mindset ♦History ♦Holiday ♦Presidents ♦Revolutionary War ♦Science ♦Social Studies ♦Spring ♦U.S. History ♦Westward Expansion ♦Women in History ♦World History


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    Grab a Free Growth Mindset Escape Room for grades 4-8.

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