Submitted by: Andrea Kohl

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-5, students use BrainPOP resources to explore recycling, pollution and their effects on the earth. They will also explain the importance of recycling on a daily basis, and create and maintain a recycling bin for daily recycling.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Understand pollution and its effects on the earth.
  2. Explain the importance of recycling on a daily basis.
  3. Create and maintain a recycling bin for daily recycling.


  • Markers
  • Print outs of the Recycling Graphic Organizer
  • 8 10-inch pieces of yarn
  • Hole puncher
  • Lamination machine
  • Old newspapers, math sheets, etc. (provided by students' recycling crate)
  • Construction paper


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Pollution, Paper


Split students into 4 groups, then pass out construction paper (1 piece per group) and markers. Ask students what they already know about recycling and why they think it is important.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Watch the BrainPOP movie Recycling as a class. Students will turn and talk with a neighbor about what they learned from the movie and how the recycling process works.
  2. In their 4 groups have the students complete the Graphic Organizer using the information they gained from the movie. Share the completed graphic organizer with the class and correct them together.
  3. Have each group design a poster on a piece of construction paper. The decorations should have to do with recycling. Have the groups write "Recycling Bin" on the pieces of construction paper.
  4. Laminate the 4 pieces of construction paper, then punch holes in them creating a place to tie the pieces of paper together.
  5. Tie the string through the holes in the construction paper to the sides of the crate.
  6. Have students recycle their leftover paper in their recycle crates throughout the school year and keep track of how much paper they recycle at the end of the week.
  7. At the end of the year, have each group come up with an estimate of how much paper they recycled and then add the 4 groups together. Talk about how much paper was saved and how important it is to continue recycling.