Natural resources are raw materials that we obtain from the environment and use in many different ways. By reviewing the concept of "needs vs. wants," students begin to consider their role in using natural resources. Students will watch the LOOP SCOOPS videos "Garbage" and "Magazines," prompting discussion about how they can help protect Earth's natural resources by reducing the amount of materials they use, reusing materials when possible, and recycling.
This lesson can stand alone, or follow the companion lesson, Needs vs. Wants.
- Understand that natural resources are raw materials that we obtain from the environment, and that people use natural resources in many different ways
- Understand that some natural resources are limited and that we need to protect them
- Learn that there are many things that people can do to help protect Earth's resources
Grade Level: 1–2
- One class period (30 minutes)
1. (Estimated time, steps 1–5: 15 minutes) Begin by reviewing the concept of "needs vs. wants." Ask students to explain how needs are different from wants. (An example might be that we need clothes but we want fancy shoes.)
2. Introduce the concept of natural resources by explaining that these are raw materials that we obtain from the environment. Have students identify natural resources in their immediate surroundings, such as cotton in their clothing, wood in the furniture, paper in books, etc. If some students are from outside the United States, you may want to ask how natural resources are used differently in their native country. Discuss how by weighing their own personal wants and needs, students can help protect Earth's natural resources. For example, you may ask, What's wrong with throwing paper away instead of reusing or recycling it?
3. Explain that some natural resources, like petroleum (from which most plastic toys are made), are limited in supply. Other natural resources, like trees, can be grown and harvested in a responsible way so that the supply does not run out.
4. Tell students that they are going to watch an animated video about a boy named Oliver and a big pile of garbage. Tell them to look for something in Oliver's garbage that somebody else might want.
5. Show the Garbage Video. If students haven't seen the Happiness Video as part of the "Needs vs. Wants" lesson, show it now, as well. Then ask students how Oliver's experience in the "Garbage" video is similar to his experience in the "Happiness" video. (He didn't know what he had or what his things were worth.)
6. (Estimated time, steps 6–8: 15 minutes) Ask students to identify ways that they could share or recycle what they no longer need or want. Write these ideas on the board. Students could then come up with a project, such as an ice skate/soccer cleat swap, or a toy clinic to clean and donate used toys. Discuss swap meets that are held at local schools or parks.
7. Tell students that they are going to watch another animated video, this time about a girl named Clementine. Before viewing, ask students if they have a lot of magazines or catalogues in their house and what they do with them after they've been read. Tell them that after they watch this video, they may think of things to do with them.
8. Show the Magazines Video. After showing the video, draw three columns on the board (or have students draw them on a sheet of paper). Label the columns "Reduce," "Reuse," and "Recycle." Brainstorm ways to reduce consumption, encourage recycling, and create art or other fun things from reused materials. For example, they can make cubby hole decorations, self-portraits, and gift wrap. Food containers that are clean can be used for storing art materials.)
Check for Understanding
The following questions can be used as writing or discussion prompts. Help students connect their individual actions with the larger concept of natural resources.
- How could using both sides of a sheet of paper before recycling it help protect natural resources? How could using old magazines or catalogues to wrap presents help protect natural resources?
- What about donating a teddy bear or some old clothes to a thrift store? How could that help preserve natural resources?
- Did watching these videos change how you think about the things you have? If so, how?
Lesson developed in collaboration with Creative Change Educational Solutions.