K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

Learn more

Related pages

  • Jordan Lake Educational State Forest: Students will learn about the ecosystems which make up a forest and the animals that inhabit it.
  • Technology and stress on the environment: Students will build a bubble-powered rocket and “blast it off.” Students will examine the stress to their immediate environment, alternative choices, and the cost of repairing the damage. They will list other types of technology and possible environmental stress.
  • Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education: Students will learn the importance of North Carolina's wildlife resources at this environmental education facility.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

We hope that the students will realize the importance of conservation and inspire them to do their part in recycling, reusing, and reducing in their everyday lives. The students will play the dumptown game and learn how a city can reorganize itself into a recycling town and how much different recycling programs cost.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

50 minutes


  • computers with internet connection
  • worksheet
  • pencil
  • blackboard and chalk or overhead projector

Technology resources

Access to EPA website Recycle City


We would like the students to write a page of what their household does/should do to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Step 1

Discussion of recycling, reusing, and reducing to show students the effect this has on the environment.

  1. Talk about non-renewable and renewable resources.
  2. Talk about what products that can be recycled in their community.
  3. Talk about how to reduce by showing even to buy products with the least amount of packaging.
  4. Talk about reusing items to create projects such as a milk cartons for a bird feeder.
  5. Students should participate in the discussion by volunteering their ideas and experiences.

Step 2

Enter the EPA website Recycle City and let the students explore Dumptown.

  1. Click on Welcome to Recycle City and let the students click on different quadrants of the map to learn about the city.
  2. Click also on the link under P.S. to learn about the history of Dumptown.

Step 3

Allow students to play the Dumptown Game. As they add/delete programs, let them fill out worksheet of plans they implemented, how much they spent, and assess of how the programs affect the town (what it reduced, etc.). They will do this for four trials.

  1. Click on Dumptown Game under Welcome to Recycle City.
  2. Let the students read the directions.
  3. Click on Play the Game.

Step 4

Discuss among all the students the cheapest plans, the most benifical plans, etc.


The teacher should collect the worksheets and evaluate on participation.

Supplemental information

Recently, The Daily Tarheel reported that North Carolina set a new record of producing 10.2 million tons of garbage between July 1999 and June 2000. This amount of garbage is 1 million tons more than the previous year. This amount also indicates that 1.3 tons of garbage is thrown away by each resident of North Carolina. This information shows the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


The EPA is a great website with many opportunities to create your own learning tool. During the four trials, the teacher can set limits to the amount spent or which item of garbage to reduce.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Earth and Environmental Science

        • EEn.2.8 Evaluate human behaviors in terms of how likely they are to ensure the ability to live sustainably on Earth. EEn.2.8.1 Evaluate alternative energy technologies for use in North Carolina. EEn.2.8.2 Critique conventional and sustainable agriculture and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 9–12 — Earth/Environmental Science

  • Goal 2: The learner will build an understanding of lithospheric materials, tectonic processes, and the human and environmental impacts of natural and human-induced changes in the lithosphere.
    • Objective 2.06: Investigate and analyze the importance and impact of the economic development of earth's finite rock, mineral, soil, fossil fuel and other natural resources to society and our daily lives:
      • Availability.
      • Geographic distribution.
      • Conservation/Stewardship.
      • Recycling.
      • Environmental impact.
      • Challenge of rehabilitation of disturbed lands.