Author: Steve Pisani, Teacher
School/Organization: St Nicholas College, Mtarfa Primary School, Malta
Being that the issues of waste separation and recycling are currently concerning issues in Malta, I believe that the learning scenario ‘Garbage Museum’ to be the perfect resource to make my students aware of what is garbage, the difference between different types of garbage and how they can recycle garbage themselves.
Implementing ‘Garbage Museum’ in my Year 4 class
Learning Scenario The learning scenario was implemented in a classroom of 8/9-year-olds at Year 4 level in a Maltese State School. The classroom consists of 5 girls. (I teach the smallest classroom in our school. Imtarfa Primary has a small population, one classroom per year.) Students were already familiar with the topics of ‘garbage’ and ‘recycling’ being that we write a daily journal and quite frequently we discuss issues that arise in Malta and affect the students directly or indirectly.
Introducing the students to the issue of waste
The first step taken towards achieving the goals of the Learning Scenario was to ask the question ‘What is garbage? ‘through a Mentimeter activity and let the students brainstorm their ideas.
Results of brainstorming exercise on Mentimeter.
The students were shown several photos and videos taken from the Europeana website and were asked to discuss freely what they observed.
Students watching one of the Europeana Videos regarding waste.
Some of the Europeana Resources from the LS were used whilst I added other resources.
Students were sent around the school premises to take photos of what they think is garbage and upload photos on Padlet 1 .
Students taking photos of waste around our school.
Observing the large amount of recyclable waste that we had at school, the students discussed ways by which we can re-use and minimize this type of waste.
Monitoring and analyzing recyclable waste at school
For 5 days, the children collected waste that was supposedly to be thrown in the recyclable bag. They divided the waste into 4 different boxes: paper, plastic, metal and non-recyclable waste.
Students collecting recyclable waste.
Waste separation in class.
By the end of the 5-day period the students designed a bar graph to represent the different types of waste collected at school.
Creating a bar graph representing the recycled waste collected.
A Bar graph was chosen instead of a pictogram as it was a Maths topic that was being covered in class during the week.
Informing the school community
In the original LS, a garbage museum was created. In our implementation, the students created 2 posters to show their findings and the way forward to the rest of the school during morning assembly.
Students designing posters and writing the information that they found.
The posters that were created by the students for the school presentation.
They presented activities done in class using recycled materials and suggested a way by which organic waste can be turned into compost too.
Separated waste collected, presented to the school.
Students present their findings to the school.
Cooperation in teamwork
Being that the LS has a whole class approach, all 5 students worked together, listened to each other’s views, and helped one another were needed in all parts of the LS starting from the first task until the presentation at the end. Citizenship education was experienced throughout the LS when children were understanding that by working together, they can bring positive change in the community that they’re in.
Organizing information and developing artistic skills
Students were able to organize the information that they collected and present it in a bar graph. Children were encouraged to be as creative as possible when it came to designing the posters. They also developed their creative skills when they used recyclable waste and turned it into flowerpots.
Creative learning motivated the students to engage in the subject and to produce even more ideas.
Creating flowerpots from used soap bottles.
Developing a sense of responsibility while seeking a solution for daily life issues
Students were presented with a problem, and they were asked to address it. When they discovered that recycling was not being carried out as it should be at school, they were worried and instantly tried to find a way to solve the issue. Although focusing on recyclable waste, they also wanted to find a solution regarding the organic waste produced by our school community. Students understood how important it is to reduce and recycle waste correctly as this is something that concerns the environment that they live in.
Responsible for the adults of tomorrow
Europeana resources helped me to present current issues to my class and lead them to understand how they are affecting the country. Furthermore, it eased the process by which the students could think of a solution. By using historical photos and videos and linking them to the Year 4 curriculum the students could easily associate resources with current issues affecting our country. As a teacher, I believe that using these resources helped me to invoke critical thinking, a process that is valuable for the students as it will lead them to make more reflective decisions in what they do.
A valuable resource at the click of a button
Teachers can find an extensive amount of teaching resources online. The issue is how many of these resources are effective and will leave the desired effect on the students. It is challenging to find beneficial resources, but by browsing the endless Europeana resources I feel that I have a powerful tool that I can use not only to engage students in learning but to also reach all students according to their abilities and needs. Europeana resources can be integrated with most topics that are carried out during the scholastic year thus making the teacher’s job simpler since they can blend different topics together.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Garbage Museum (LS-TR-734) created by Iay Rancıoğlu
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? You might also like:
- Implementation of ‘Let’s make green decisions’ (SOI-RO-260) implemented by Daniela Hortensia Bogdan
- Food for Thought: sustainable learning experiences (LS-PT-532) implemented by Maria de Fatima
- Water is Life: Give Life to the Future (LS-TR-536) implemented by Aysearslanhan
Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.