Classroom Waste Tally

This activity will get students to measure weights, record and analyse data, and present the results.


Collect garbage discarded by the class for 1 or 2 days. Separately collect the contents of recycling and compost bins as well, if there are any.


Lay a plastic tarp on the floor, dump the garbage on it, and have students sort it (wearing gloves) according to category (i.e. paper, plastic, metal). Either section off the plastic sheet with masking tape or use buckets.


Check the recycling and compost bins (if you have any). Record anything in those bins that shouldn’t be there (e.g. a chip bag). Add contents to appropriate categories.


Working in groups, weigh each category and graph the results.


Create a bar chart bulletin board display that compares the various components of the classroom waste stream by type and weight.

Extra resources SignsTally sheet template