Trash scavenger hunt

My garbology class this term ended with us reading Gita Wolf’s Trash!: On Ragpicker Children and Recycling. I had read it to the students last year and it left such an impression that I decided to share it again, even though its length requires at least 2 classes to read through it in its entirety.

The final class of the term, however, was the trash scavenger hunt. It’s a terrific way to see what they’ve learned–if they can categorise various types of trash properly. And, because it’s a contest, they are filled with excitement and joy to see who can finish first. My husband was visiting class that day and he even discovered some of them were in such a hurry to win that they tried pulling trash out of the segregation bins!

Students also received their Deepavali homework, which is shared below.

  1. Find someone to interview, ideally your grandmother or grandfather or someone of their generation, and talk to them about how life was different when they were your age. Ask them questions like: How much plastic they used? What they did with their belongings once they were no longer useful? How often they ate outside their home? How often they bought things just because they wanted them? Then write down the answers so we can discuss once you return to school.
  1. Pick any object–it can be a pencil or a bicycle or anything you use or like–and trace its life cycle. Study the object, figure out what it is made of, where those items come from, and what will happen to it once you are finished with it.
  1. Fill in the chart on this sheet. Keep track of every single object you use for an entire week. You can even do it for longer if you like! Fill in the boxes below every day and bring it back to school to share at the end of the holiday. The first line is one example of something you could use.
What time of the day did you use it? What product or item did you use? What materials is it made of? How much longer do you think you’ll be able to use it?
6 am toothbrush Bamboo and nylon 8 months
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