To introduce my students to the concept of different materials (and that materials have different purposes depending on what they are being used for) we began with a hunt around our classroom. I wanted to see if students understood what “materials” meant and also how many different ones they could identify. I was impressed with the list they came up with!
Then we did a fun little “Mystery Materials/Objects” activity. I chose 5 different objects that I thought the students might not know the purpose for, and they had to determine what material it was made of, what the purpose of the object was and they had to draw a picture of it. They had so much fun trying to figure out the objects.
I decided that going to the local landfill could serve as a provocation for further inquiry. This was such a great field trip and it sparked some great conversations among my students upon our return. We reviewed photos from the trip and talked about the impact we are having on the environment.
I also brought in this great bracelet from The Trashy Crafter to demonstrate how materials can be repurposed when they no longer serve the original purpose. I opened up the package with the students (it came in an old map instead of an envelope).
This particular bracelet was made from the pages of the book, “The Little Mermaid”…which happens to be my daughter’s favorite story. Check her awesome store out by clicking here.
This company is a prime example of how we can repurpose materials to keep them out of the landfill. It was also the jumping off point for our culminating activity. I told my students that I wanted them to come up with a plan to repurpose old materials into something new and useful.
We had such great fun with this unit and there were so many opportunities for great discussion. I love seeing how first and second graders can think deeply and critically about important issues!
The printables used in this unit (as well as rubrics and other lesson ideas), can be found by clicking here or on the image below:
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