Students will sort and classify items according to what can and
cannot be recycled while playing a relay game. This lesson should
follow after already having a discussion about what can and cannot
be recycled where you live.
-Collection of clean items that can and cannot be recycled
These can be collected from things being thrown away during the
school day, or an assignment can be given for homework asking students
to bring to school 2 clean recyclable items and 2 clean non -recyclable
If that is not possible, a prior lesson can be to look for and cut
out pictures from magazines.
-Some kind of timer
“We have been talking about recycling. What can be recycled?
Today we will play a game with what we know.” Explain the
You know the personality of your class. This game can be played
You can set up teams, then competition between the groups occurs,
or you can play as a whole group and you are competing with time
and the whole groups previous score. Play enough times to make sure
that everyone gets a turn.
Place a garbage bag for non- recyclables and a recycling container
in front of each group. Also give each group items to be sorted.
Set a timer. 1-2-3-GO! First person runs to the items, decides if
it should go in the recycling container or garbage bag, runs back
and taps the next person. Next person does the same thing and the
game continues until the timer buzzes. (If everyone in the group
has already had a turn, start from the beginning again. Keep going
to get more points.) Depending on your age group, the groups can
check themselves, check the other group’s work, or the teacher
can check. One point is given for each item placed correctly in
the garbage bag or recycling container. One point is removed for
each incorrectly placed item. Or you can just count points for the
correctly placed items.
group: Place one garbage bag for non-recyclables and a recycling
container in front of the group. Place the items to be sorted there
also. Set a timer. 1-2-3-GO! First person runs to the items, decides
if it should go in the recycling container or garbage bag, runs
back and taps the next person. Next person does the same thing and
the game continues until the timer buzzes. Whole group helps to
count the points. One point for each item placed correctly in the
garbage bag or recycling container. One point is removed for each
incorrectly placed item. Record your score. Play again to see if
you can beat your score.
For the very young students you may not want to remove points, just
make a list of how many right and how many wrong each time you play.
You can do this for all age groups to remove some of the competition.
At the end of each play, discuss correct and incorrect sorting of
Discuss results of the game. Discuss what was learned from playing
Ask students what they would like to do next with the items collected
for the game.
Art projects, or ways to reuse each item can be another lesson.
Stickers or hand stamps can be given to all students as a reward
Teacher observation of participation
Teacher observation of correct sorting and classifying of objects