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Lesson Plan 1 – Green Green

Green Green: A Community Gardening Story

Written by Marie Lamba and Baldev Lamba

Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Adaptable Lesson Plan for Grades K-2

What does “green” mean?  Children in grades kindergarten through second will develop an understanding of the importance of taking care of their environment and how litter affects their community. They will determine how to dispose of waste by either recycling, composting, or putting in the trash.

Standards (Ohio)


K.PS.1: Objects and materials can be sorted and described by their properties.

1.PS.1: Properties of objects and materials can change.

2.LS.1: Living things cause changes on Earth.

Social Studies

K.GO.9: Individuals share responsibilities and take action toward the achievement of common goals in homes, schools and communities.

1.GO.8: Individuals have a responsibility to take action toward the achievement of common goals in homes, schools and communities and are accountable for those actions.

1.GO.9: Collaboration requires group members to respect the rights and opinions of others.

2.GO.10: Respect for the rights of self and others includes making responsible choices and being accountable for personal actions.

2.GO.11: Groups are accountable for choices they make and actions they take.

“I can” Statements


  • I can sort objects and materials and describe their properties.
  • I can identify responsibilities at home and in the school and community and describe how individuals share those responsibilities to achieve common goals.

First Grade

  • I can identify how properties and materials can change.
  • I can work toward achieving common goals at home, school, and in my community.
  • I can collaborate in a way that demonstrates respect for the right and opinions of others.

Second Grade

  • I can identify how living things cause changes on Earth.
  • I can make responsible choices respecting the rights of myself and others while being accountable for my actions.
  • I can work effectively in a group to complete a task or solve a problem for which the group is held accountable.


  • green
  • litter
  • recycle
  • compost
  • trash
  • landfill


  • Reusable Rubber Gloves
  • Carefully chosen bag of “trash” with items to be sorted into recycling, composting, and trash.(Kindergarten)
  • Recycle Bin (Kindergarten)
  • Compost Bin (Kindergarten)
  • Trash Can (Kindergarten)
  • 3 pieces of scrap paper (First Grade)
  • 3 equally sized pieces of mulch (First Grade)
  • 3 equally sized pieces of plastic (First Grade)
  • Zip lock bags (First Grade)
  • Water (First Grade)
  • Moist soil (First Grade)


Read aloud: Green Green: A Community Gardening Story


Do a community walk around the neighborhood.  Have children look for litter. (Second grade also looks for ways humans affect the environment).  Children take turns wearing reusable rubber gloves to pick up trash.  How did that trash get there?  Why would people litter?  What would happen if we chose not to pick up the litter we see? Is there a way to keep litter from being in our community?


Video and Discussion

SWACO Recycle and Reuse Tool Interactive Pagel:

Composting for Kids Video:


  • Why did people choose to litter?
  • What should be done with trash besides littering?
  • Why is it important to dispose of waste appropriately?
  • How can you help others learn the importance of disposing of waste properly?


(Kindergarten) Empty a bag of “trash” onto a large tarp on the floor.  Have children determine whether the items should be recycled, composted, or put in the trash. Students should draw examples of their choices for which category items belong onto worksheet. Have students take turns wearing rubber gloves to physically sort items into appropriate bins. Students verbally provide reasoning for why they chose each bin. Compare their before -sort to their after-sort choices. Make note of the different levels of fullness the trash was before and after the sort.

(First Grade) Place, into each bag, a piece of paper, a leaf, and a piece of plastic into three different large sized ziplock bags.  In one bag, place water with the three items.  In another bag, place some moist dirt with the items.  Do not place anything in the final bag.  Have students take turns shaking the bags daily and then recording their observations of the items on the worksheet.  On the fifth day, empty the materials from each bag and have students make observations of each item.  How have the items changed from day one to day five?  What was the cause of the changes (if any)? Were there any difference in changes based upon what bag the items were in?

(Second Grade) Students brainstorm how humans affect the environment around them. Students can use examples from what was viewed on community walk, or can do research to discover additional examples, and can use examples from their own home life.  Students sort their ideas between those that are positive effects or negative effects to the environment.  Have students explain their reasoning for their choices.


Have children work in small groups to create posters, presentations, and/or projects to educate the rest of the school community on the importance of being “green”.

(Kindergarten)  Students will need to show their understanding of how to sort objects for different ways of disposal.  They also need to share why it is important to not litter and to dispose of waste appropriately.

(First Grade)  Students will need to explain how littered items may or may not change over periods of time.  They will need to show encouragement for others to not litter and dispose of waste appropriately.  Finally, they will need to work collaboratively with their peers on creating the project.

(Second Grade)  Students will need to explain how humans make positive and negative changes to their environments.  They will need to explain how they can make responsible choices to dispose of waste properly and what would happen if they chose not to do so.  They will also work in a small group and problem solve how to communicate this information to the community.

Further Extensions

  • Create a recycling plan for the classroom, for the school, and at home.
  • Plant a school garden to add more “green” to the community.
  • Have a compost bin in school garden and/or classroom.
  • Organize an information night to encourage family and neighbors to be more “green”.

SWACO Composting at Home Flier:

SWACO Workshops and Presentations:

Field Trip to SWACO Landfill

Additional Reading:

Not for me, please!: I choose to act green by Christoph J. Kellner