Elementary school students learn a lot about the world around them and how they fit into it. As their teacher, it’s your job to help them understand the impact they can have on other people and the environment. One of the most significant ways humans affect each other and the planet is through waste. As we make various kinds of waste that require management, we participate in waste streams that involve people and the planet.
Electronic waste is a specific type of waste that you should teach students about for various reasons. While they’re still fairly young and may not understand all the specifics of a waste stream, they can start to learn about waste management and how various subjects overlap. We go into further detail below.
Learn the Importance of Proper Waste Management
Most young students struggle to understand all the processes involved with collecting a bag of garbage and eventually disposing of it. Giving them a specific piece of waste to follow, such as a school computer or other electronic device, can make these processes easier to understand. Since technology plays such a big role in our world, this also allows them to consider the lifecycle of common items in their life.
Illustrating the lifecycle of a piece of technology is a great way to teach about proper waste management. You can start with the creation of the device or when it no longer works. Ask students to guess where each item goes once it doesn’t work anymore, and help them draw a picture for each stage of the disposal process.
Learn Their Role in Waste Streams
If your students start their waste management activity with the creation of the electronic, then they can learn their role in the life span of that electronic. They can also learn how they contribute to the electronic waste stream and waste streams in general. Properly recycling electronic waste requires participation from them, their parents, and large entities, such as waste management companies.
Older students may want to break down exactly what a waste management company would do with an old school computer or someone’s personal cell phone. Younger students may need to limit their focus to the creation, use, and disposal of the electronic device.
Learn How Different Subjects Relate to Each Other
Waste management doesn’t just involve the waste industry. Local, state, and national governments create laws that govern waste disposal in your area, possibly even for your school. Part of the reason for these laws is that electronic waste can break down and negatively affect the environment.
Including this information in your lesson will teach students how subjects overlap. Electronic waste involves many subjects, including its production, the laws governing it, and its environmental impact. This is also a great opportunity to teach students about sustainable living and how that practice requires us to integrate our knowledge of various subjects.
It’s never too early to teach students about electronic waste. You can help students of various ages and abilities understand electronic waste, proper waste management, waste streams, and subject integration. Encourage your school system to build on this knowledge and lead by example, recycling electronic waste and teaching students details about the process as they grow.