Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

3, 4, 5

In this lesson, students will understand how reusing, reducing and recycling can save resources and reduce pollution. They will investigate and begin to strategize about what they can do in their school, homes and community to reduce pollution.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • recognize the importance of environmental monitoring.
  • identify humans' influence on mother earth (the environment), as individuals and in community.
  • brainstorm how they as students can affect the environment in a positive way.
  • give examples of and explain the benefits of reusing, reducing and recycling.
  • Copy of the book Dinosaurs to the Rescue! A Guide to Protecting Our Planet (see Bibliographical References )
  • Large chart or projected copy of Attachment One: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
  • Large outline of a dinosaur displayed on a bulletin board
Home Connection 

Ask students to bring a variety of items from home that were destined for the trash but could be reused or recycled or reduced. Students should be prepared to explain how each item could have been reduced, reused or recycled as they attach it to the Slobosaurus outline. The final product will be a large, class collage. Be sure students ask an adult's permission to bring the items to school. Teacher Note: The teacher may want to have a selection of reusable or recyclable items for students who are unable to bring something from home.

  • Brown, Laurie and Brown, M. Dinosaur to the Rescue: A Guide to Protecting Our Planet. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. ISBN: 0316113972


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask the students to observe each of Lesson Three's ( Let's Experiment! ) experiments and complete the Day Two observation on their recording sheets. Discuss any changes they observe. Talk about the significance of the changes.

  2. Ask the students how do you recycle at home. Tell them that it is just one way in which everyone can help reduce pollution and enhance the common good. Remind the students that “common good” is one of the Core Democratic Values.

  3. Read aloud the book Dinosaurs to the Rescue . Stop often to discuss the difference in behavior between Slobosaurus and the other characters in the community.

  4. Encourage students to use the vocabulary words from Lesson One: “Mother Earth” - Past. Check for understanding of the new vocabulary words: recycle: – to make something over into a new product reuse: – to use something again reduce: – to use less of something natural resources – the limited amount of material available from the earth that all must share (common resource)

  5. Ask the students to explain in what way reusing, reducing and recycling are philanthropic acts.

  6. Discuss why it is important for the community to work together to address the problem of pollution. Discuss what is each person's responsibility to make a difference.

  7. On the board or large chart of Attachment One: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle , list ideas from the book and from the Lesson Three: Let's Experiment! homework assignment to fill in the columns.

  8. Display a very large outline of a dinosaur (Slobosaurus) on a bulletin board. Encourage students to bring items that could be reused, reduced or recycled to make a collage on the Slobosaurus. See School/Home connection.


A teacher-created vocabulary quiz on the words learned in Lessons One to Four.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.13 Describe limited resources and scarcity.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.
      3. Benchmark E.7 Define and describe private property and common resources.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Make a connection between fundamental democratic principles and philanthropy.