Taking Care of Our Earth
With the help of animated landfill characters, students learn about their environment. Natural resources are identified and shown as students learn how important it is to conserve them. They also discover how reducing, reusing, and recycling benefit our environment, and how air and water pollution can hurt it.
Identify natural resources and see how important it is to conserve them.
- Students will understand that humans use natural resources for food, energy, fuel, and much more. Consequently, using resources carefully is important for people to live in the world comfortably.
- Students will know how natural resources are used and understand how to protect and conserve them.
- Water, one of the most important natural resources, is used for cooking, cleaning, drinking, growing crops, etc. Though a large portion of the earth is covered with water, little of it is fresh water, which people require. This small amount of fresh water is obtained from wells or reservoirs, cleaned, and sent through pipes to homes and offices. After the water is used, it is sent through sewer pipes to be cleaned; this clean water is either used again or put into the ocean. Unfortunately, farm fertilizers, chemicals from factories, litter, and oil, pollute the earth's water supply. Once water becomes polluted, it cannot be used, because it may be harmful to living things. If people would stop dumping their waste into rivers, streams, and lakes, water pollution could be greatly reduced. It is also important that people reduce their consumption of water by fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, turning the sprinklers off when the lawn is soaked, and turning the faucet off while brushing their teeth.
- Air is another important natural resource that living things require to live. Sources of air pollution include: factory smoke, car exhaust, the burning of trash, forest and field waste, and the burning of oil, gas, and coal for energy and heat. Smog is a form of air pollution caused by dust, dirt, and chemicals that can make people's eyes burn and cause them to have difficulty breathing. Strict rules that factories and companies must follow help to reduce forms of air pollution.
- Soil is an important resource, because it is the medium in which plants grow. Litter and chemicals are major causes of soil pollution. Dead soil is a product of farming an area too long with the same crop; this practice leeches the nutrients from the soil, rendering it unusable for growing plants. In order to reduce the damage to the earth's soil, people must not litter, and farmers should rotate their crops.
- Oil is a major natural resource that is obtained from under the earth's surface; it is used in the production of gasoline and plastics. It is imperative that people recycle plastics, so the dwindling supplies of oil are not used simply to replace the plastic that is carelessly thrown into a landfill.
- Students will realize that the useable space in the world's landfills is shrinking because of increased amounts of garbage, and understand the ways in which people may reduce the amount of trash they throw away. Paper and cardboard may be recycled and used again. Also, people can use a lunch box or reuse a paper bag, write on both sides of their paper, and use cloth towels instead of paper towels. Paper recycling will not only reduce the amount of space used in landfills, but it will also decrease the amount of trees harvested for human use. Yard clippings take up a great deal of space in landfills; instead of throwing them away, people can place them in "green waste" containers from which they will be taken and made into compost. Items like books, clothes, and toys can be given to other people instead of being thrown into a landfill. In addition, it is important that people separate batteries, paint, motor oil, and certain cleaners from their regular trash, so that the soil around the landfill is not harmed.
- Students will understand it is everyone's responsibility to take care of the earth; each person should remember the three R's: Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse.
- Before viewing the video
- Start a discussion of what makes the world beautiful — the blue sky, flowers, a green field, or a sparkling lake. Have the students tell something beautiful they have noticed about the earth.
- Now have the class tell what people do that could take away that beauty and what they can do to prevent this from happening.
- Record the above discussion under three headings: What is Beautiful, What Makes These Things Ugly, and What To Do About It.
- After viewing the video
- Compare what was seen on the video with the class discussion from Activity 1. Add to the headings from things learned on the video.
- Discuss the three terms, "Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce." Review the definitions of these words and test the class's understanding by having the students give examples of how they can actually put each into effect.
- Review the video. Have younger students raise their hands for the teacher to record anything they see which they think they can actually do to help take care of the earth. Older students can make their own lists.
- Make a Class Chart of things the class feels they can do to help reduce, recycle, and reuse things so that we will have a cleaner and safer world. Use items shown on the video such as taking shorter showers; recycling cans, glass, plastic, and newspapers; and not littering.
- Have each student make a personal chart listing the things they really plan to do to help take care of the earth. Send the chart home along with a letter that explains to the parents what the children have learned, why they want to help, and how they will help in a practical way.