Waste Can

Wastes and Recycling
A webquest for sixth grade science
By Mr. Buhite


Every day you throw away something. So do your friends, neighbors, and just about everyone on the planet. There are a total of 6 billion people on earth (290 million in the U.S.) who regularly throw things away. With so many people throwing away things, we end up having quite a lot of trash. This leaves us with a big problem and an endless amount of questions that we must try to answer. What impact does this have on our planet? Can we continue to live with such a carefree attitude? What happens to the trash once it leaves our house? Are there better ways to do things? These are all questions that will have a huge impact on your life. One day, you all will be making choices that affect our country and our planet so it is important that we learn as much about this situation as we can. Even one person can make a difference!


Today you will be learning more about what we do with our trash and what impact trash has on our environment. Your goal will be to gather information in order for you to be able to form your own opinion on what should be done to deal with the waste problem. You will be using several different Internet sites in order to gain information about different topics dealing with waste. You will also be answering questions as you go and will be taking some notes that are required and some that you feel are important. Finally, you will be using this information in order to create a plan for yourself, your family, or your community to try to eliminate the trash problem. This plan may include several different strategies. The end activity will be for you to complete at home. You will need to use waste materials from home in order to create something. More details will be given about this in the future.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you work:

  • Am I answering the questions as I go?
  • Am I gathering information that will be important for me to know or is interesting to me?
  • Am I looking for ways that my family, my community or I can make a difference?
  • When I make my plan, what makes it different than what is already being done now? How can I make sure that it works? (ex. not everyone recycles now)


  1. You should have a new piece of notepaper with you. Use one half or side to answer the questions as you go.

  2. Use the other side/half for notes you feel are important to know or will help you come up with your plan to eliminate waste and how you can make a difference.

  3. Before you go to each website, look at the question you need to answer. When you are searching, you are only looking to answer that question, find interesting information, or find ideas for your plan to eliminate waste and build something out of wastes. Don't spend too much time at one place.

  4. Go to: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm
    http://www.nrdc.org/cities/recycling/recyc/chap2.asp and answer:
    1. Why is it important that we take care of our wastes and reduce them?

  5. Go to: http://www.recycleworks.org/kids/index.html and answer:
    1. Why is it important that we don't make too much waste and that we conserve our natural resources?

  6. Go to: http://www.resourcefulschools.org/fun-recycling-facts/did-you-know/recycling-facts and answer:
    1. Why should we recycle? (give several reasons)

  7. Go to: http://www.obviously.com/recycle/guides/shortest.html and answer:
    1. What are some products that we can recycle? What can't we?

  8. Go to: http://www.recycleworks.org/kids/howtohelp.html and answer:
    1. Explain the 3 "R's" and how they can be used to cut down on waste.

  9. Go to: http://www.moea.state.mn.us/campaign/school/index.html#lunch
    http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm and answer:
    1. What can you, your family, and your community do to help eliminate waste (hint: 3 R's)

  10. Look at the following websites to help you get ideas for your at-home project. For this project you will need to use things your normally throw away to create something that is useful, decorative, or creative. Be sure to write down anything you feel will be useful.

  11. With any leftover time you may go to the following sites and try some different games dealing with wastes, recycling, or the environment.


Students will be graded on the following criteria:

  1. Participation (4pts): student worked effectively at finding needed and important information and taking accurate notes. They worked hard at all tasks
  2. Questions: (20pts): Thoughtful and accurate responses to the six questions that are to be completed. Extra thought was given on the last one.
  3. Directions: (3pts): All directions were followed and completed.
  4. Plan: (18pts): You have a well thought out plan to eliminate waste that answers all the important questions.
  5. Family Plan: (20pts): You have a useful and thoughtful plan for your family to cut down on waste and to recycle more and you put the plan into action.


During the next class you will need to reflect on your answers to the previous questions and then plan what you are doing for the following tasks. Reflect on these and be ready for tomorrow.

  1. You will need to create a plan for people (think of yourself) to eliminate waste. How can it be done? What can we do with it? How can we avoid it? (think of the 3 R's) and how can we make sure people listen?
  2. You will also need to come up with a plan for your family to cut down on waste and recycle more. This will need to be signed when you are completed and I will later ask you about your progress.
  3. Create something that is useful, decorative, or creative from things you normally would have thrown away in the trash. Be creative!!!!!!!!