Submitted by: Andrea Alvarez-Hernandez

Grade Levels: 3-5
In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 2-5, students use BrainPOP resources (including the Make-A-Map concept mapping tool and GameUp) to explore recycling in their community.

Students will:

  1. Explain the importance of recycling.
  2. Determine how to reduce waste and discuss ways that we can help in our school, home and our community.
  3. Analyze the process of recycling paper, aluminum, and plastic.


This lesson plan is part 1 of a recycling unit. Part 1 of the unit focuses on the importance of recycling and how can we recycle. Part 2 of the unit focuses on making a Recycling Station (Students will design recycling posters) This lesson was designed for 4th/5th grade special education students, but can be adapted for multiple grade levels and abilities.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Write the word 'recycle' on the board and ask students, “What comes to your mind when I say recycle?” Write down student responses.
  2. As a class, watch and discuss the Recycling Video on BrainPOP.
  3. What can we do make sure that we are recycling properly? Have students record key vocabulary from the movie and the discussion on this topic. Project the Recycle Activity for the class to see and complete it together.
  4. Send students to their computers and ask them to work together with the person that is seating next to them to use the Make a Map Tool. They should create a concept map which features the most important concepts from the movie.
  5. Below-grade-level students can then practice their recycling skills through the BrainPOP Jr. Recycling Activity and the BrainPOP ELL Play It in which they must help Moby answer 10 questions correctly to reach to the surface. On- and above-grade-level students can use the Sortify Natural Resources playful assessment.
  6. For closure, have students discuss how they help with recycling at home. How can they help with recycling in the classroom?

Extension Activities:

For part 2 of the recycling unit, have students create posters about recycling (perhaps using part of all of their recycling concept map made with the Make-A-Map tool.) Students can hang these posters above recycling stations in their school or community to encourage recycling.