SAIL Garbage Unit

School, home, and neighborhoods make large amounts of garbage every day. In answering the driving question of the unit, “What happens to our garbage?”, students investigate a series of subquestions (e.g., “What is that smell?” and “What causes changes in the properties of garbage materials?”) that address a targeted set of physical science and life science performance expectations. Over nine weeks of instruction, students develop a coherent understanding of the structure and properties of matter to make sense of the anchoring phenomenon and to answer the driving question.

This unit was developed with a specific focus on English learners by using an engaging, local phenomenon and design principles that capitalize on the mutually supportive nature of science and language learning.