Classroom Conservation


SUBJECT AREAS: social studies, art, math

CONCEPT: We can all help to reduce the amount of waste generated in the classroom and lunch room.

OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to suggest ways paper and other natural resources can be used and recycled in the classroom.


KEYWORDS: conservation, natural resources


For one week ask students to save all waste paper generated by class activities.
Assign groups to separate papers into two stacks daily: one that has been completely used (e.g. on both sides) and one, for paper that could be used again.

At the end of the week, compare the amount of paper in the stacks and lead a class discussion on "Are we wasting paper?" Give each group some of the reusable paper, pencils, and one of these articles: grocery bag, box, magazine, gift wrap paper, cards, newspaper, lunch bag, or milk carton.

Ask each group to list on the paper all the ways they can think of to reuse the article, or list alternatives to these items that could be used over and over again (e.g. reusable plastic containers instead of sandwich bags, thermos instead of milk carton, etc.). After ten minutes, share the ideas. Repeat the exercise with items used in the classroom.


1. Maintain a room recycling center. Make gifts, models, table decorations, collages, bookmarks, name tags, etc.
2. Give each student a 12 x 12 inch piece of Masonite painted a slate color to use instead of paper for practicing writing and drawing skills. Use chalk and erase the markings with a cloth at the conclusion of each exercise.
3. Instead of using construction paper to teach color awareness, use color cut from magazine pictures.
4. See "Making Recycled Paper" exercise in this curriculum. Try making recycled holiday cards, creative writing paper, report covers, etc.
Back to Trash Goes To School

Back to Solid Waste Activities Grades 4-6

Cornell Waste Management Institute ©1991
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Bradfield Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853