Waste Web Quest

Complete a web quest to learn about waste and recycling.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
  • Suggested Time: About 2 hours, as one or two sessions


Computers with internet access, Waste Web Quest worksheet, paper and pencils.

National Standards

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Roles of the citizen.

Language Arts:

  • Developing research skills.
  • Evaluating data.
  • Communication skills.


  • Science as inquiry.
  • Regulation and behavior.
  • Population and ecosystems.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)

Language Arts:

  • Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. (4, 5)
  • Determine the meaning of general academic & domain specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area. (4, 5)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (4, 5)
  • Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. (6)
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings. (6)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. (6)


  • Scientific inquiry and applications. (4-6)
  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • The total amount of matter is conserved when it undergoes a change. (4)


The student will be able to:

  • Explain why it is important to reduce waste.
  • Answer reading comprehension questions using information about waste and recycling from web sites.
  • List possible solutions for reducing waste, using the 3 “R’s”.
  • Write a plan in paragraph form for reducing waste in the community and in the home.


  • Ask students to list items they threw in the trash yesterday. Point out how much trash was thrown away by just one class in one day.
  • Ask students to raise their hand if their family recycles on a regular basis.
  • Reading the following passage to the students: "Every day you throw away something. So do your friends, neighbors, and almost every person on earth. Right now the world population is 6.5 billion people, and the U.S. population is 300 million. That’s so many people throwing away lots of trash! So much trash is a big problem and raises some serious questions. Where will all the trash go? How does it affect our planet? What happens to the trash once it leaves a house? Are there solutions to this problem? This trash problem may not seem important now, but the problem will only get worse as you grow up and live in a world with more people, more trash, and increasing damage to the environment. Today you will be learning more about what we do with trash and what impact trash has on the environment. Your goal will be to gather information and then come up with solutions for the waste problem."


  • Distribute the Waste Web Quest worksheets. Tell students waste is another name for trash. Remind students to read over the questions before starting the assignment. They do not need to read every web site in its entirety. Students may complete the work individually or in groups, depending on the number of computers.
  • Continue the same day or the next day as desired: once students have answered the questions, students should return work individually or in groups to write a plan in paragraph form for solving the waste problem in the community. Ask students to include ways to involve others in reducing waste.
  • Students should then work individually to write a plan in paragraph form for reducing waste in their homes. Again, their plan should include ideas for involving the whole family in reducing waste.
  • Once students have completed their plans, discuss their waste solutions as a class.


  • Students may present their plans in the school and/or to their families.
  • Students may get credit for implementing the plan in their home (get parent/guardian signature to confirm).
  • Students may plan and hold a no waste lunch day. For ideas, see http://www.recycleworks.org/schools/lunch.html


Ask students how they will change their personal habits to reduce waste.


See: Waste Web Quest Worksheet

Posted in 4-6, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies.