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Sharing the Planet: An investigation on garbage

What happens with our garbage? Where does trash go that cannot be recycled? How much garbage do we produce? The Kindergarten students are asking all kinds of questions during their current unit: Sharing the planet. They are focusing on the types of garbage, on the effects on the environment and what we all can do to prevent garbage.

Learning the Facts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate about 4.6 pounds of trash per person every day. A total of 5% of the people living on earth live in the US, but we make almost 1/3 of the entire world’s garbage. Our Kindergarteners realized that as we keep producing trash, landfills fill up, and we are forced to find more places for all that garbage.

Sharing the Planet

In their current unit, “Sharing the Planet”, the Waldeulen and Schneeeulen Kindergartens at GIS are focusing on preventing garbage. To get an idea how much garbage their class produces, they collected all the trash from lunch and glued the items on a poster. Now they are coming up with ideas on how we as a school can reduce packaging materials and garbage in general.


Reduce Reuse Recycle

The Kindergarten kids are very excited to help the school as a whole cut back on the amount of trash we generate. Many of them have become environmentalists since the start of this unit. With their current motto “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, the Kindergarten students want everybody in school to:

  • Recycle and buy recycled products.    
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
  • Use containers instead of plastic bags.
  • Look for products that have less packaging.
  • Bring cups for milk
  • Use a lunch box instead of paper or plastic sacks.
  • Buy a water bottle and carry it with you, so you can stop buying bottled water.
  • Give water bottles as gifts, so everyone can stop buying bottled water!


An on-going investigation on garbage

“But what do we do with trash that cannot be recycled?” asked our Kindergarteners. In order to find out how material changes over time, they started their own mini “experimental” landfill in a corner of the school property. Their main question of this experiment: How long does it take until plastic or paper break down in a landfill? They buried various types of garbage in dirt. Now they will wait six weeks to find out how the trash will change during this time. The Kindergarten kids can’t wait to uncover the items again and see how or if time changed them at all. What breaks down more easily?  A banana peel, a glass bottle, a plastic container or a paper bag?


In the Interim

In the meantime their investigation has sparked another project: Making art out of trash and recylced items…


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