Virtually every shopper leaves the store with a bag. The authors of Fifty Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth
(Javna, 1990) comments that most bags are made of the "earth's
treasures." The production of bags uses such resources as wood or oil
to manufacture plastics, and manufacturing adds to pollution. Many
discarded bags are not recycled, which add to the volume of garbage in
landfills. Sometimes consumers can choose the type of bag in which they
want their purchases packaged. In other situations, consumers may "just
say no" to bags and carry their purchases home with only the receipts
Distribute a copy of the How to Bag It Activity Sheet to each student. Have students read the information at the top.
How to Bag It Activity Sheet
Organize the class into groups of three to five students. Ask them
to discuss the pros and cons of using different kinds of bags and
record some of their notes in the chart. Ask them to discuss using
others kinds of bags or ways of wrapping purchases for the "other"
category. They might also include in this category the strategy of
refusing bags for small purchases. Ask each group to note some
especially good ideas. Have a group representative share this material
with the class.
Allow students time to poll ten classmates and record the results in the chart on the activity sheet. Review different kinds of graphs with the class. Mention previously studied graph types: bar graphs, picture graphs, circle graphs, box-and-whiskers graphs, scatter plots, and others. Discuss their purposes. Ask students to poll ten classmates concerning the type of bad each considers best on the basis of the previous discussion. Each student should decide on a graph that would best show the data.
Students should then graph the data, which they have already collected. If needed, students can use grid paper for their graphs.
Have students answer Question 4 concerning their choices of
types of graphs. They should meet in groups and critique each other's
choice of type.
Have each student complete Question 5 and check it with a
partner. As the students work, circulate and listen to the discussion.
Spot-check some of the students' work to ensure that it is reasonable
and accurate. Have students show their graphs to the class and share
some of their interpretive statements.
Lead students in brainstorming ways to use their bags with
conservation in mind and ways that disposable bags can be reused and
recycle. On the basis of the discussion, ask each student to make a
plan for improving their uses of bags.
- Shaw, Jean M. and Firkins, John. September, 1993. The Arithmetic Teacher. p 27-40.
- Javna, John. 1990. Fifty Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. Kansas City, Mo.; Andrews & McMeel.
- Discuss the pros and cons of kinds of shopping and grocery bags.
- Gather data.
- Make and interpret a graph.
- Develop a recycling plan.
NCTM Standards and Expectations
- Design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set.
- Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments.
- Represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs.
Common Core State Standards – Mathematics
Grade 3, Measurement & Data
Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step ''how many more'' and ''how many less'' problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
Common Core State Standards – Practice
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.