Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


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.


One 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.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.
None for this lesson.


  • 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
Handout 1
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Instructional Procedure(s):

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.

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

School/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.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

None for this lesson.

Bibliographical References:

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

Lesson Developed By:

Barbara Dillbeck
Learning to Give


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!


In School







At Home







In the Community









Philanthropy Framework:


Laura, Teacher Douglas, MI9/17/2007 6:09:36 PM

[The positive aspects of this lesson was] Taking what they've learned and creatively coming up with an idea for service project. My kids want to periodically clean up the playground, but in Spring they want to hike around the town and do Spring clean-up of trash, especially by Kalamazoo River.

Barbara, Teacher Muskegon, MI9/17/2007 8:20:15 PM

It (the lesson) explains ways that kids can reduce, reuse, and recycle. Shows students different ways they can incorporate the 3 R's into their lives. Excellent bulletin board idea -Slobasaurus. Students brought "trash" from home and explained how it could be reduced, reused, recycled.

Submit a Comment

Unit Contents:

Overview:Earth Connections Summary


"Mother Earth" - Past
"Mother Earth" - Present
Let's Experiment!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Looking at the Data
Let's Make a Plan

All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.