Waste  Reduction  Lesson  Plans  2
Landfill in a Bottle Menu
Several interesting classroom acitivities, developed by groups across the country, are available on-line. Each has its own focus-- on age level and student outcome. Using various materials, some investigate decomposition, others model the layers of modern landfills. Students work to understand the possible complications of using land for landfills. Below are the descriptions of each. Go to the websites directly by clicking on the titles or download them from the bottom of the page.
1. Landfill in a Bottle A month-long observation of changes in “typical” garbage collected in a 2 liter bottle. Students discover what items break down fastest and which remain. It can be used to spur research and reflection. All ages.
Landfill in a Bottle. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.aza.org/uploadedFiles/Education/Resources_for_Educators/Thematic_Educational_Activities/OEF_LandfillBottle.pdf
2. This Landfill is a Gas! A week-­‐long engineering exploration of landfills for gases and leachate produced designed for teams of 4, grades 3-5.
Kolenbrander, A., Todd, J., Schaefer Zarske, M., & Yowell, J. (2005, April 14). Hands-on Activity: This Landfill Is aGas! Retrieved April 14, 2015, from
3. Design, Build and Test Your Own Landfill is a 2-3 day activity scalable from grades 4-12, in which
engineering teams design a landfill in a plastic shoebox and bury simulated garbage (dye-filled
cotton balls) and test them to see much garbage it will contain and how well the landfill contains it
when a “rainstorm” tests it. Includes roles for project, construction, design, and budget engineers in
each 4-member team.
Parks, J., & Carlson, D. (2010, January 1). Design, Build, and Test your own Landfill. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from
4. Build a Landfill Diagram- Using a clear plastic tennis ball tube and recycled fabrics, straws, and bottle caps, build a model of a modern landfill. Compare it to a diagram and make analogies between the materials chosen for the model and the function/appearance of the actual landfill components. All ages. Landfill Diagram. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://recycleguys.org/
5. Making a Model Landfill- A 1-2 day activity building 3 models of landfills and predicting and
testing how well they protect the groundwater from contamination. Also includes a map of Oregon with existing landfills and a mapping activity. Grades 5-9. Making a Model Landfill. (2000, October 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/pubs/docs/sw/curriculum/RRPart0305.pdf
6. Let’s Make a Cake- Children build a landfill using a layer cake as an aanalogy. (Grades k-3). Williams, E. (2000, January 1). A Hands-On Recycling Curriculum for Second and Third Graders: Let’s Make a Cake. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from green.tulane.edu/PDFs/williamslessons.pdf