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Community Clean Up

Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students identify community areas filled with trash and work together to clean those areas.



  • research community areas that have problems with trash.
  • develop a plan for removing the trash.
  • work together to remove trash.


Earth Day, trash, litter, community, clean up, environment

Materials Needed

  • local newspaper and/or community or municipal Web sites
  • paper
  • pens or pencils
  • large plastic trash bags
  • gloves
  • chalkboard and chalk
  • computer(s) with word processing and Internet access (optional)
  • camera (optional)

Lesson Plan

This project should be completed over several lessons. The teacher decides the length of time needed to complete the project; the length of the project depends on the ages and abilities of the students. If required by your school, students need parents' permission to participate in the project.

Lesson 1

  • Discuss public areas in your community that have problems with trash or litter, such as vacant lots, parks, riverbanks. Write students' ideas on the board.
  • Have students research information about those areas, using local newspapers and/or community or municipal Web sites. If Internet access is not available, have students use library sources to learn about the areas.

Lesson 2

  • Have students compile the information they found into a brief report. Discuss the findings.
  • Have students discuss steps they should take to organize a clean up, such as contacting the appropriate agency or owner of the area, getting permission for the clean up, gathering clean-up materials, such as trash bags and gloves.

Lesson 3 Clean-up day at the site: Distribute the clean-up materials. Organize students into small groups to remove trash from different areas of the site.

Suggestion: If a camera is available, take "before" and "after" pictures of the area.

Extension: Have students write their reactions to or feelings about the project.


  • Idea 1: Have students clean litter from areas of the school building or school grounds.
  • Idea 2: Have students clean yards for elderly or disabled residents in your community.


Evaluate students' participation in the project.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Language Arts: