What do we cover?
Our classroom program delivers waste literacy education to grade 5 students in the Toronto area. We have a series of lessons, designed to improve scientific and waste literacy and to foster a sense of curiosity about the natural world and human impacts on the planet.
Our program includes four lessons: 1) plastic cycle, 2) watersheds and their relationship to litter, 3) impacts of plastic on ecosystems and 4) solutions to plastic pollution. Each lesson is 60 to 80 minutes long, including at least two inquiry-based learning activities and a reflection on the topics learned with connections to local research and current events. Each workshop is designed to stand alone or be taught sequentially over four separate classroom visits.
Our lessons are based on Global Competencies and aim to prepare the next generation for the future. Matter, energy and sustainability are some of the fundamental concepts connected with the Ontario Curriculum.
To reduce barriers of accessibility, our classroom visits are offered at no-charge. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to access materials, participate in science-based learning and help inspire positive actions towards waste reduction.
Our school program utilizes a peer-to-peer teaching model. This means that our Trash Team volunteers, comprised mainly of undergraduate and graduate students, design and lead lessons in grade 5 classrooms in the Toronto area. Our lessons include a series of STEM-based activities.
How to book a classroom visit
At present, we are hosting synchronous virtual classroom visits for students at home or in the classroom in the Toronto area. Please email us to discuss technical requirements and to schedule a visit for your Grade 5 class. If you are outside the Toronto area, we encourage you to use the online versions of our lesson plans.
While we are focused on delivering lessons for Grade 5, members of our team are always interested in presenting about plastic pollution to all ages. If you teach another grade level or youth program and are interested in having a member of our team present and share STEM-based activities, please email us.
In parallel, we aim to evaluate the effectiveness of our program, enabling us to develop evidence-based strategies for education about plastic pollution. As part of the classroom activity, and with the help of the teachers, students will be given a short paper questionnaire to assess their understanding of the subject matter and their general environmental attitudes and behaviours prior to the lesson plan. We will administer the same survey in the classroom two months after students participate in the lesson plan. A consent form will be sent to parents or a guardian with information about the lesson’s activities, the study and what is required of the participants for the study. Parents or guardians will have to approve and sign the consent form. If approval is granted, student participants will complete the survey in a classroom and the process should take no longer than 10 minutes each time.
This research is in collaboration with Dr. Shelby Riskin.