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Litter Prevention Lesson Plan

Isle of  Wight County
Third Grade
Litter Pollution Prevention Lesson Plan


Elise Ring, 11th Grade
Smithfield High School
Revised April 27, 2021

Introduction & Purpose

Isle of Wight County seeks to reduce litter pollution within the County by raising the awareness of its school students of the environmental, economic and human health problems litter pollution causes and ways to solve the litter problem.  The following litter prevention education curriculum is supported by the Isle of Wight County Refuse and Recycling program and the Isle of Wight County Public Schools for its third grade students.
The Virginia Science Standards of Learning identify academic content for essential components of the science curriculum at different grade levels.  The following lesson plan can support the following specific third grade SOL standards by having students explore the following key ideas:

Earth Resources

3.8       The student will investigate and understand that natural events and humans influence ecosystems. Key ideas include:

  1. a) human activity affects the quality of air, water, and habitats – Demonstrate how human activity such as littering can negatively impact habitats such as water.
  2. b) water is limited and needs to be conserved – Emphasize the need to conserve limited resources such as a clean water supply and the importance of stopping litter to prevent water contamination.
  3. d) soil is a natural resource and should be conserved. Demonstrate how human activity such as littering can negatively impact habitats such as soil.

Click here for slideshow (pdf version)
Click here for slideshow (PowerPoint version)



Students will learn what litter is, the causes of litter, the environmental problems litter causes, negative impacts to the economy, and human health, and what they can do to help solve the problem of litter pollution. The lesson includes a hands-on, outdoor activity where students can observe litter, collect it, and have it weighed and compared to other school yard cleanup efforts.


PowerPoint presentation with illustrative videos, discussion questions, as well as safety vests, litter pickers, trash bags, and gloves supplied by the Isle of Wight County Refuse and Recycling Coordinator

Litter, trash, pollution


  • Watch powerpoint presentation.
  • Follow-up discussion on what is litter and why people may litter:
    • Create a list of why litter is bad for the environment.
    • Discuss how trash on the ground in unsightly and can cause problems for animals.
    • Discuss how litter can create human health problems.
  • Email the Isle of Wight County Site Supervisor the date for the litter pick-up and supplies needed (minimum 1 weeks’ notice) at
  • Break into small groups and assign each group a trash bag. Put on safety equipment and go for a litter collection walk around school grounds. Have students pick up litter with the provided EZ pickers and put it in the trash bag.
  • Secure a location to store bags of collected litter.
  • Use a permanent marker to label bags with school name.
  • Email the Isle of Wight Site Supervisor for collection of bags at Please include the location of bags.


 The Isle of Wight County Site Supervisor will coordinate the collection of trash bags as well as weighing the bags.  The Site Supervisor will then send the total weight to the contact person from the original email request.

One hour to one and a half hours