Think Earth: Water and Hazardous Waste Disposal

Think Earth 2014/15
Fourth Grade
Topic: Water and Hazardous Waste
Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives:
 Water Cycle review
 How & Why to
dispose of
hazardous wastes
 Landfill
 Identification of
recyclables from
HazMat from trash
Core Objectives
4th Grade: Health Ed,
Standard 1, Objective 1
50 minutes
Materials needed:
 Water Cycle/HHW
 Game answers
 HHW bucket &
 Landfill & Water
Cycle diagrams
 Flower pot &
 HHW flyer
 ½ pg natural
cleaning recipes
 RU tri-fold
 Lesson review email from teacher
1. Introduction (review of Recycle Utah, recycling, sorting and
Mother Earth). This is what we’ll talk about today: (5 min)
2. Water Cycle. Distribute diagram and pencils for all and play the
maze game. The first person to get to the next number gets to read
the ‘answer’ (or explanation). (10 min)
3. Drinking Water. What happens to water that flushes down toilets?
Show diagram (ground water to reservoir (or well) to
filtration plant to sink/toilet to pipes to wastewater facility to
ground water). It’s important to keep ground water clean since
we drink it. Chemicals can be very difficult to filter. (3 min)
4. Ground Water/Landfills. Show landfill picture and introduce
Leachate, or “yucky liquid” (show samples). What happens to the
water that drains from landfills? Briefly discuss the landfill layers.
Talk about the liner (with a flower pot visual). (5 minutes)
5. Household Hazardous Wastes. Flip the Water Cycle sheet over and
do the HHW exercise. Hazardous Wastes have nasty chemicals in
them and need to be disposed of properly – NOT in our trash cans,
down the sink or toilet, which will end up in our ground water take to the Wanship landfill. (show take home sheet on HHW).
Make sure the students understand that recycling (including
toxins) prevents waste from going to the landfill and becoming a
nasty liquid that could get into our ground water. (10 minutes)
6. HazMat Game. Display a covered bin and three signs: Curbside
Recycle & Other Recyclables & HazMat. Review the three Curbside
Recycle categories, remind them about other RU recyclables, too.
Select individuals students to come up and pick an item from the
bin, hold it up and let the class help designate which category it
goes into. (When Bleach shows up, take the time to explain
Alternative Cleaning Materials: Vinegar, Baking Soda, lemon juice &
Hydrogen Peroxide – have samples). (15 min)
7. Finalize lesson by asking what they learned (turn to neighbor for 1
min, share knowledge, then report to class). Hopefully, “We need
to keep our water clean and dispose of HazMat properly.”
This lesson was made
possible by a grant from
Park City Foundation
Recycle Utah, 1951 Woodbine Way / PO Box 682998, Park City, UT
PH: 435.649.9698. Recycling drop open 24/7.
Visit us at
Supporting Information:
LEACHATE is any liquid that in passing through matter, extracts solutes, suspended
solids or any other component of the material through which it has passed.
Leachate is a widely used term in the environmental sciences where it has the specific
meaning of a liquid that has dissolved or entrained environmentally harmful
substances which may then enter the environment. It is most commonly used in the
context of land-filling of putrescible or industrial waste.
In the narrow environmental context leachate is therefore any liquid material that
drains from land or stockpiled material and contains significantly elevated
concentrations of undesirable material derived from the material that it has passed
MEDICINE DISPOSAL: at all Summit County sheriff offices and police stations 24/7 in
a drop box.
What is Ground Water?
Ground water is the water present underground in the tiny
spaces in rocks and soil. Underground areas where ground water accumulates in
large amounts are called aquifers. Aquifers are layers of rock or soil that can store
and supply enough water to wells and springs to be economically useful. Most
ground water moves slowly--usually no more than a few feet a day. Ground water in
aquifers will eventually discharge to or be replenished by springs, rivers, wells,
precipitation, lakes, wetlands, and the oceans as part of the Earth's water cycle.
Who Uses Ground Water?
Ground water accounts for over 95 percent of the nation's
available fresh water resources, and is the drinking water source for half the people
in this country. Many households, towns, cities, farms, and industries use ground
water every day, or depend on lakes and rivers that receive part of their water
supplies from ground water. Ground water wells near Superfund sites supply public
and private drinking water wells, irrigation, and other agricultural needs, and
commercial and industrial businesses. Ground water quality is very important.
What is Hazardous Waste?
More than 70,000 chemicals are used regularly around
the world. Improper use and disposal can have harmful effects on humans, plants,
and animals. But even when used properly, many chemicals still have the potential to
harm human health and the environment. When these hazardous substances are
thrown away, they can become hazardous waste. Hazardous wastes are most often a
by-product of a manufacturing process, but there are many sources, including
wastes we throw away at home.
Regardless of the source, unless we dispose of hazardous waste properly, it can
create health risks for people and damage the environment. When hazardous waste
is released into the air, water, or on the land it can spread, contaminating a broad
area and exposing more people to health risks. Proper management and control can
greatly reduce the dangers of hazardous waste. Improper management and disposal
of hazardous waste in the past created the hazardous waste sites that are now in the
Superfund program.
water contamination is nearly always the result of human activity. In areas
where population density is high and human use of the land is intensive, ground
water is especially vulnerable. Virtually any activity whereby chemicals or wastes
may be released to the environment, either intentionally or accidentally, has the
potential to pollute ground water. When ground water becomes contaminated, it is
difficult and expensive to clean up.
Bottom Liner System
A landfill's major purpose and one of its biggest challenges is to contain the trash so
that the trash doesn't cause problems in the environment. The bottom liner prevents
the trash from coming in contact with the outside soil, particularly the
groundwater. In MSW landfills, the liner is usually some type of durable, punctureresistant synthetic plastic (polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, polyvinylchloride).
It is usually 30-100 mils thick. The plastic liner may be also combined with compacted
clay soils as an additional liner. The plastic liner may also be surrounded on either
side by a fabric mat (geotextile mat) that will help to keep the plastic liner from
tearing or puncturing from the nearby rock and gravel layers.
A water molecule is called "H2O"
It's made of 2 hydrogen atoms (H + H) and one oxygen atom (O). H2O can be a
VAPOR (a gas in the air), a LIQUID (what we usually think of as water or a SOLID
The sun is the "pump" that keeps water going around and around. To learn more,
find H2O's path through the water cycle, starting in the center at number 1.
When you get to each stage in the cycle, read its numbered explanation at the
bottom of the page.
• Water vapor gathers in clouds. Wind cools the vapor, turning it into a liquid
(rain) or solid (snow, hail or sleet).
• Gravity makes the water fall to earth.
• Some water runs across the land into bodies of surface water -- lakes, streams,
oceans, etc.
• Other water soaks ("percolates") into the ground.
• Percolated water is stored in the ground in "aquifers" (layers of rock, gravel and
sand). This ground water slowly moves through the aquifer toward the sea.
• Eventually, ground water becomes surface water, too. For example, it may
bubble up through the ocean floor, or appear on the land as a spring.
• The sun heats surface water, turning it into vapor that rises into the sky. And
the cycle begins again!