Elementary Inquiry Questions

Q: How can we reduce the amount of trash and recycle more?


For their unit on Sharing the Planet which focused on human actions that impact the environment, the grade 2 students conducted a trash audit, collecting trash from bins all over school, and sorted them into 12 different categories, including burnables, non-burnables, PET bottles, paper, food, etc.  


The students discovered that most of the trash was actually recyclable.
They wondered - what will happen to all these recyclable materials when they are taken away in the yellow trash bags that the school uses?  Could we find a better way to do this?

The students then visited a cardboard recycling factory to learn more about the recycling system. When they learned that plastic doesn’t decompose, they invited a high school teacher into their classroom to explain why. They then walked around the campus and did more research to find out why and when people use PET bottles and paper cups to try to find a way to not use them as much as we do.

They decided action was needed! A group of students chose to tackle the issue of wast management at NIS by starting the “Action on Waste” group, which then joined forces with a group of high school students who wanted to work on this as well, and for several weeks the issue of waste and recycling was a big topic at NIS!


With the help of the maintenance team, the trash bins in the classrooms and hallways were replaced by recycling stations, and eventually, paper cups in the cafeteria were replaced by mugs.

This "Action on Waste" project was a big success and it meant so much to the grade 2 students who were involved because they felt pride and ownership for the process of spreading word throughout the community, for the new recycling stations around campus, and were eagerly looking for ways to maintain and improve it.

We are grateful to the students for their actions to help improve the environment!