Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Students learn about how to save the earth by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Students learn why waste is a problem, about the options for limiting waste, and read stories about different people from around the world who have found ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.



Unit 8


Unit Summary

In this culminating unit, students learn about how to save the earth by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Over the course of the year, students studied the different seasons, learned about how animals and plants change and survive in different seasons, and explored some of the life cycles found in nature. Now, in this unit, students think about what they can do to make sure human waste does not hurt the environment. In the first part of the unit, students learn about waste, and why waste is a problem, especially plastic waste. Students then learn about options for limiting waste, including recycling, reducing, and reusing resources. In the second half of the unit, students read stories about different people from around the world who have found ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. Using what they have learned in the unit, students will then make a plan for what they can do to create a healthy community and environment.

As readers, students focus on identifying the reasons an author gives to support points in a text, describing the connection between individual events and ideas, and identifying basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic. In this unit, students explore a variety of texts, including more dense informational texts, poems, and narrative nonfiction. Since this is the culminating unit of the year, the majority of Speaking and Listening and writing work should be a review for students. Students should be able to continue conversations through multiple exchanges with minimal support or prompting from the teacher. Students should also be able to write an answer to the Target Task question, with more of an emphasis on writing and drawing than on dictating at this point. Students should also be able to use simple sentences both orally and in writing to answer the Target Task question. In this unit, students have opportunities to refine their informational and opinion writing. Students create an informational book to teach readers about the Three R’s. Students also write an opinion piece stating which solution they think is the best to help limit waste. 

Fishtank Plus for ELA

Unlock features to optimize your prep time, plan engaging lessons, and monitor student progress.

Texts and Materials

Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.

Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • How does waste impact the environment?
  • What steps can you take to create a healthy community and environment?

Reading Focus Areas

  • Texts on the same topic can be similar and different. 
  • Authors include specific reasons in the text and illustrations to support points in a text. 

Writing Focus Areas

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Name the topic they are writing about.
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to include some information about the topic.

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion about a topic. (WK.1)
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to include multiple details that support the opinion. (WK.1)

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges. 
  • Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly. 



ban biodegrade dispose disposable discarded environment recycle reusable reuse reduce rot transform useless useless

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 8, view our Kindergarten Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Content Knowledge and Connections

By the end of the unit, students will understand:

  • Waste is all of the things we throw away. Waste causes a lot of problems for people and the environment.
  • Plastic is a problem because it lasts forever. People throw plastic in the trash and it does not decompose. Plastic is in a lot of things, so there is a ton of plastic trash.
  • Reducing, reusing, and recycling are ways to limit waste.
    • To reduce the use of something means to use less of it.
    • To reuse something means to use it again.
    • To recycle something means to use it again to make new things.
  • People around the world have come up with different solutions for how to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic and other forms of waste.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

icon/arrow/right/large copy

Unit 7

Exploring Life Cycles

Dive Deeper with ELA Professional Learning

Dive Deeper with ELA Professional Learning

Join our Summer Institutes in July and August 2023.