Clean Ocean Action

Littering Lessons & Activities

Litter Detectives” by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

  • Grades K-12
  • Students conduct a cleanup of school grounds and analyze the collected litter.
  • Students analyze the possible sources of litter (who littered) as well as the physical distribution of litter (where it was found).
  • Students discuss the litter items and whether they could have been reused, recycled or composted.
  • Students research school policy on littering and potential penalties.
  • Students discuss ways to reduce litter.
  • Supplemental exercise: Students graph the results of their litter collection, comparing and contrasting the amounts of different items.

All I Want for Christmas is a Nice, Clean Earth” by Therese Lloyd, Lesson Plan #AELP-ENV0004

  • Grades 4-6
  • Students investigate items of litter that cause harm to the environment by witnessing their decomposition.
  • Students discuss practical uses in litter control.
  • Lesson can be further extended to increase awareness of the natural role of energy sources within the living organisms of the environment.

Cleaning up for Earth Day” by Adam Mohr, Lesson Plan #AELP-ENV0095

  • Grades K-12
  • Students become aware that pollution is one of the earth’s biggest problems.
  • Students conduct a cleanup of school grounds and analyze the collected litter.
  • Students chart different types of pollution on a bar graph.

Waste Management” by Frances Vandervoort, Philip Nelson and Carolyn Hayes

  • Grades 4-12
  • Students gain awareness of the amount of trash they generate, the problems that result, and possible solutions.
  • Students will investigate household trash, biodegradability, packaging, and recycling.
  • Students form a plan to deal with their community’s household trash.
  • Students conduct an experiment to determine the biodegradability of different items.
  • Students investigate the variety in packaging of common products.
  • Students rate the recyclability of common products.

My Ton of Trash” by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

*This lesson is based on garbage statistics for the state of Wisconsin. It could be adapted to your state by researching the statistics from your locale.

  • Grades 4-12
  • Students will visualize how much solid waste is generated for each person.
  • Students discuss different types of trash and what happens to them after they are put out for collection by their municipal authority.
  • Students discuss what would happen if the garbage men never came. How would that affect the amount and type of trash that their family generates?
  • Students research the rate of human population growth in their state and in the US and discuss the changes in the amount and types of trash, the relationship between an increasing human population and the amount of trash generated, and make predictions about future population growth and garbage generation.
  • Students reuse items in the classroom for different purposes such as wrapping paper (from decorated scrap paper), reusable gift boxes (from decorated cardboard waste boxes) and origami ornaments (from decorated scrap paper).

Stormy’s Activity Book” by Broward County Dept of Planning & Environmental Protection

  • Grades K-3
  • Stormy the Fish tells students the story of how his home river became polluted.
  • Lesson focuses on pollution created by people, and pollution cleaned up by people.
  • Illustrated with opportunities for students to draw and/or color pages.

“A Pig’s Tale” by Olivia Newton-John and illustrated by Sal Murdoccs

*Click here for lesson plan that goes with this book.

  • Grades 4-6
  • Lesson focuses on collecting/saving resources, reusing and recycling and landfills versus dumps.
  • Students create a Swap Box with items in good condition that each child is done using.
  • Students write their own story about an aspect of the environment that is important to them.

Storm Drain Dan” by the City of Phoenix, Arizona

  • Grades 4-6
  • Comic book-style booklet about Storm Drain Dan and his battles against non-point source pollution.
  • Lesson focuses on the health of our waterways by discouraging the dumping of any pollutant into storm drains.
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