Kids don't really think that far ahead, they are focused on the here and now.
We use a couple of great resources at this time of year with our class. One of my favorites is this book. Seriously, in my opinion this book is the single best story teaching children about the damage pollution is doing to the earth and the illustrations are amazing.
That usually results in conversation about littering. We all don rubber gloves and head outside and pick up trash in the school yard.
That leads us to talks about garbage, the three R's - reuse, reduce and recycle.
In our classroom we have a grey bin for recycling paper, a blue bin for recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans and a garbage can (sadly we don't have a green bin for organic waste however all the children do at home so we talk about that too)
One of the skills we work on at the beginning of the year is learning what goes into what bin. It's great for the data management strand in math but it also helps eliminate sandwich crusts in the blue bin and juice boxes in the garbage. We co create anchor charts to post near the garbage corner and we do a lot of reminding. The good news is that by October our kids are pretty good and knowing what items from their lunch bags go into what bins.
When earth day rolls around we revisit this activity only this time it's a table top sorting game. And while I'm all for kids getting their hands dirty, I'm not too keen on them picking through the trash so I created a cleaner version of the garbage/recycling sorting game.
You can get it at my TpT store or my TN store....absolutely free!
Happy trash sorting!