In the homework from the last lesson, students were asked to identify items that went in the rubbish at home, show what categories these items fit into, and identify the properties of the items. In class, students shared their findings to notice similarities and differences in how families get rid of rubbish.
We used sticky notes and arrows to build a visual display of the rubbish system. Our display showed how the rubbish moves from one place to the next until it reaches the waste-to-energy plant and the landfill.
Next, students worked in groups to build similar models for school and community rubbish systems. Students talked about the components of each system and how the components work together. They discussed how the systems are similar and different.
This experience was the studentsʻ introduction to systems. We built on this to introduce the crosscutting concept of systems and system models and discuss how this crosscutting concept helps us think about and understand phenomena.