Recycling lesson plan 4-7s

Get the grips of waste separation with this lesson plan about recycling and grouping materials. Recycling works best when people know how to categorise and separate their waste properly, so get your students started with these materials.

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  • Age groups: 4-7s
  • Subjects: Science
  • Topics: Waste

Curriculum links




Pupils should be taught to:

  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.
  • describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials
  • identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock

Living things and their habitats

Working scientifically


Geographical skills and fieldwork

Pupils should be taught to:

use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.


Spoken Language

Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others



Scientific enquiry

Communication in science

Pupils should be taught to:

  • present scientific information appropriately in a number of ways, through diagrams, drawings, tables and charts
  • sort and classify scientific information

Materials and their properties

Grouping materials

Pupils should be taught to:

  • use their senses to explore and recognise the similarities and differences between materials
  • sort materials into groups, separating them on the basis of simple properties that can be seen or felt, including texture, shininess, transparency, and on whether they are attracted by a magnet
  • recognise and name common types of material, e.g. metal, plastic, wood, paper, rock, and that some of these materials are found naturally
  • find out about the uses made of a variety of common materials, e.g. glass, wood, fabric.


Using and applying mathematics

Developing mathematical language and communication

Pupils should be taught to:

  • present their work in a variety of forms to include ... charts


Classifying, representing and interpreting data

  • collect, record and interpret data arising from an area of interest for identified purposes, using... charts…tables




Talk for a range of purposes, including:

  • using talk to develop their thinking by exploring, developing and clarifying ideas; predicting outcomes and discussing possibilities
  • describing events, observations and experiences; making simple, clear explanations of choices; giving reasons for opinions and actions 

Consider how talk is influenced by the purpose and by the intended audience, including:

  • working in groups of different sizes
  • talking and presenting work to different audiences, including friends, the class, the teacher and other adults in the school

Listen carefully and show their understanding of what they see and hear by:

  • making relevant comments
  • remembering specific points that interested them
  • listening to others’ reactions


Pupils should be taught to:

  • speak with confidence, making themselves clear through organising what they say and choosing words with precision
  • use the conventions of discussion and conversation, e.g. taking turns in speaking, and structuring their talk in ways that are coherent and understandable



Planet Earth


Properties and uses of substances

  • Through exploring properties and sources of materials, I can choose appropriate materials to solve practical challenges. (SCN 1-15a)


Technological developments in society

Throughout all my learning, I take appropriate action to ensure conservation of materials and resources, considering the impact of my actions on the environment (TCH 1-02a)

Health and wellbeing

Social wellbeing

  • Through contributing my views, time and talents, I play a part in bringing about positive change in my school and wider community. (HWB 1-13a)


Information handling

  • I can collect objects and ask questions to gather information, organising and displaying my findings in different ways. (MNU 0-20a)
  • I can match objects, and sort using my own and others’ criteria, sharing my ideas with others. (MNU 0-20b)
  • I have explored a variety of ways in which data is presented and can ask and answer questions about the information it contains. (MNU 1-20a)
  • I have used a range of ways to collect information and can sort it in a logical, organised and imaginative way using my own and others’ criteria. (MNU 1-20b)

Social studies

People, places and environment

  • I explore and appreciate the wonder of nature within different environments and have played a part in caring for the environment. (SOC 0-08a)
  • I can consider ways of looking after my school or community and can encourage others to care for their environment. (SOC 1-08a)

Literacy and English

Listening and talking

Tools for listening and talking

  • As I listen and talk in different situations, I am learning to take turns and am developing my awareness of when to talk and when to listen. (LIT 0-02a/ENG 0-03a)

Understanding, analysing and evaluating

  • Within real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. (LIT 0-09a)
  • When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can exchange information, experiences, explanations, ideas and opinions, and clarify points by asking questions or by asking others to say more. (LIT 1-09a)

Expressive arts

Art and design

  • I can create and present work using the visual elements of line, shape, form, colour, tone, pattern and texture. (EXA 1-03a)

Northern Ireland

The World Around Us


Pupils should be enabled to explore:

  • the effect of people on the natural environment over time


Pupils should be enabled to explore:

  • positive and negative effects of people on places

Change over Time

Pupils should be enabled to explore:

  • positive change and how we have a responsibility to make an active contribution

Language And Literacy

Talking And Listening

Pupils should be enabled to:

  • participate in talking and listening in every area of learning
  • listen to and respond to guidance and instructions
  • take turns at talking and listening in group and paired activities
  • express thoughts, feelings and opinions in response to personal experiences... curricular topics and activities
  • present ideas and information with some structure and sequence
  • think about what they say and how they say it
  • speak audibly and clearly, using appropriate quality of speech and voice

Mathematics And Numeracy

Handling Data: Collecting, Representing and Interpreting Data

Pupils should be enabled to:

  • collect data, record and present it using real objects...tables
  • discuss and interpret the data
  • extract information from a range of charts, diagrams and tables

The Arts

Art and design

  • explore the visual elements of colour, tone, line, shape, form, space, texture and pattern to express ideas