Digging For Dirt

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce learners to concepts related to trash removal, as well as to evaluate statistics regarding the production and removal of trash products.

PrintThree to Four Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • explain the different methods being used to eliminate trash.
  • answer questions regarding facts on the production and removal of waste products through interpretation of graphical and written statistics.
  • create a graphic display of statistical information.
  • draft a letter, in the form of an extended response, to a governmental official regarding the information gathered.
  • A recording, which is dominated by loud city noises; including traffic, construction, and verbal outbursts. As a alternative if such a recording is not available, ask the first four or five learners entering the room to join you off to the side of the room, solicit their help to introduce this lesson. Ask them, on cue, to simulate loud noises of a big city type, i.e. car horns blaring, whistling for taxis, loud music, hawkers of newspaper/magazines, jackhammers in the street/construction/repair, etc…
  • Fact Finder Recording Sheet (HandoutOne).
  • Research Cards (Handout Two)
  • A copy of your communities recycling efforts, which includes disposal of hazardoustrash (Can be obtained through City Hall.)
  • Teacher’s Key for Fact-Finder (Handout Three).
  • Speaking Out (Handout Four).
  • Mailing materials (optional)
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent/Student Homework: Tell learners to gather information regarding any trash they see that is disposed of incorrectly. Have them categorize the items. Tell them to discuss this with an adult. During the week, have learners look for, and record, the different types of trash they see along the road/sidewalks.



  1. Anticipatory Set: Begin the class with the recording of city noises or alternative. Ask the learners to create a journal entry explaining how the recording (or learner performance) differs from what they heard in Lesson One (The Nature Sounds). Ask what feelings, if any, they have associated with what they heard today and the change in what they heard. Ask them to define the cause and effect of these changes.

  2. Place the learners in groups of four and distribute to each learner a copy of the Fact Finder Recording Sheet (Handout One).

  3. Explain to the learners that they are on a fact-finding mission; that they are to be the first detectives to uncover all of the facts. Tell them you are looking for the top detectives, those who can gather the needed information most quickly and thoroughly and accurately.

  4. Review the information on the Fact Finder Recording Sheet (Handout One) and answer any questions the learners might have concerning what they are to do.

  5. Give each team a copy of Research Cards (Handout Two) and access to the Internet. Tell them they can work as a team to uncover the answers by dividing the questions, or any other way of working together to find the answers.

  6. When a team has completed their investigation, have them self-correct their Fact Finding Recording Sheet (Handout One) using a copy of the Teacher’s Key for Fact-Finder (Handout Three).

  7. As each team completes the self-correcting of their responses and turns them in, hand each learner in the group a copy of Speaking Out (Handout Four). Go over the instructions together group by group. If available, it is recommended that the learners use a ‘word program’ on the computers to reduce class time used for editing and revising. Have learners start with a rough draft allowing them time for peer editing and completing a final draft.

  8. When the learners complete their final draft meeting the requirements set forth in Speaking Out (Handout Four), supply mailing materials or plan to deliver the letters to the local government.


The learners will be assessed on their involvement in the class discussion and group work as evidenced by the satisfactory completion of the Fact Finding Sheet, as well as the depth and accuracy of their “speaking out” assignment.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.11 Identify a corporation's responsibilities to its community.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.