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The Bag That Wouldn't Go Away- Performance Assessment

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Unit Plan: Decomposer Dynamics Lesson: 6 Time: Session 1 (40 min) and Session 2 (1hr) Setting: Classroom Objectives:

Students design and set up model waste disposal systems that will help biodegradable plastic bags decompose


Students will be able to: explain why biodegradable items don't always decompose after they're thrown out, and suggest ways to promote their decomposition, communicate and support their ideas using a model and written design specifications, be aware of the complexity of the garbage crisis, and the potential roles of technology and citizens in solving it.


Sessions 1 and 2

For each student:

  • copy of the "Challenge Sheet"
  • copy of the "Design Specs Sheet"
  • copy of the "Scoring Sheet" (optional)

Session 1

For the class:

  • several non-biodegradable plastic bags
  • several biodegradable plastic bags
  • 1-liter plastic soda bottle
  • 2 cups of soil
  • watering device
  • piece of biodegradable plastic bag, approximately 13 x 20 cm

For the teacher:

  • pushpin
  • pair of sharp, pointed scissors
  • pair of plastic gloves (optional)

Session 2

For the class:

  • large bag of soil

For each group of 2-4 students:

  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • pair of scissors
  • piece of biodegradable plastic bag, approximately 13 x 20 cm
  • cup for scooping soil

For each student:

  • copy of "Portfolio Cover Sheet" (see "Eco-Inquiry's Multiple Forms of Assessment")
  • copy of "Group Work Evaluation" (see "Eco-Inquiry's Multiple Forms of Assessment")

See Lesson Resources for further details.

Lesson Files:
Benchmarks for Science Literacy: 5A Diversity of Life 5D Interdependence of Life 5E Flow of Matter and Energy 7D Social Trade-offs 8B Materials and Manufacturing 12C Manipulation and Observation 12D Communication Skills NYS Standards: MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science MST 7- Problem solving using mathematics, science, and technology (working effectively, process and analyze information, presenting results)
Next Generation Science Standards
Science and Engineering Practices: Asking questions and defining problems Planning and carrying out investigations Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Hogan, Kathleen. Eco-Inquiry: A Guide to Ecological Learning Experiences for the Upper Elementary/Middle Grades. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, PO Box 1840, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840., 1994.