Teacher Resources

Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Environmental Science Activities for Kids

By Donna Latham  
Illustrated by Tom Casteel
Where does your trash go when you throw it away? Find out in Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Science Activities for Kids! Middle schoolers will track their trash as it travels from waste basket to its final resting place, whether that’s a landfill, compost bin, or a new life as a different product. Essential questions, fun facts, and hands-on STEM experiments make this book a fully immersive learning experience!

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Booklist Top 10 Nonfiction Series for 2020
Build It Environmental Science (4 titles) Gr. 4–8. Mixing comics and thoughtfully designed activities with solid information, this series accessibly explores with precision such topics as biodiversity, biomes, and Earth’s garbage problem.” Read more online.

Always in the Middle
“The book begins with an eye-opening spread of how long certain pieces of trash last in our environment. A great reminder to recycle and sets the stage for the more than two dozen activities. You can even test which materials break down most efficiently on your own in one of the experiments. The final chapter titles of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, and RETHINK focus on changing our behavior toward garbage.”

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Detailed Book Description

That potato chip bag you tossed in your trash can this afternoon—where does it go when it leaves your house?

Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Environmental Science Activities for Kids invites middle graders to investigate the world of trash! The average American produces more than four pounds of trash every day—multiply that by 300 million people and you’ve got a lot of garbage! Where does it go? How does it break down? What are the challenges of dealing with so much waste? What can we do decrease the amount of stuff we are throwing away? Garbage explores questions like these while encouraging kids to think about the choices they make that generate garbage in the first place.

In this book, kids discover the science of garbology, the fascinating world of midden excavation, and learn about different rubbish warriors who are determined to save the planet from being overrun with trash. Readers learn ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink their actions by diving into critical-thinking activities designed to get kids looking at trash as a situation in need of a solution. While we all appreciate our garbage to be out of sight and out of mind, it’s crucial to recognize the impact that human behavior has on the planet.

Garbage includes hands-on STEM activities and critical thinking exercises to encourage readers to figure out ways to be part of the rubbish revolution. Fun facts, links to online primary sources and other supplemental material, and essential questions take readers on an exploration of the path of trash!

Garbage is part of a set of four Build It Environmental Science books that explore the history and science of the planet and all that live on it through hands-on STEM activities and real-life environmental connections. Other titles in this series are Biodiversity, Planet Earth, and Biomes.

Try these hands-on environmental projects!

  • Investigate a mini midden
  • String a junk mail bead necklace
  • Snag air pollution on a stick-it can
Available In:
Hardcover, $22.95
Paperback, $17.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Glossary | Resources | Index
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 128 pages
Subject: Science
Content Focus: Environmental Science


A Throwaway World

Chapter 1
How Much Garbage Do You Produce?

Chapter 2
Heaps of History

Chapter 3
Where Does Trash Go?

Chapter 4
Hazardous Waste

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8