Get Schooled in Your Classroom with the SWA
Calling all teachers! Take your students AWAY with a virtual lesson from the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County! Many people forget about their garbage and recycling after it goes AWAY. But where is “AWAY”? You and your students will see how the SWA’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System works in live, grade-level specific interactive lessons designed to make your class take a closer look at the world around them.
Each lesson meets a variety of Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and can be conducted through your virtual platform or ours (Microsoft Teams). All lessons are free of charge and available in English or Spanish.
Pre-recorded lessons are available on our YouTube playlist.
SWA Virtual Lessons by Grade
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- 4th Grade
- 5th Grade
- 6th Grade
- 7th Grade
- 8th Grade
- High School/College
The SWA Story
Introduce your students to recycling and solid waste issues with this fun picture-based lesson. They will see what happens to their garbage and recycling after it leaves their homes. This lesson is followed by an interactive demonstration of what goes in the blue and yellow recycling bins.
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Recycling by the Numbers
At the SWA, we focus on four environmental Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink! This lesson will get your students rethinking their waste through pictures of the disposal process. They will then have the opportunity to look for the recycling symbol on different types of plastics while learning what it means.
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• 3 different types of plastic containers (water bottle/yogurt cup/laundry detergent bottle for example)
• Magnifying glass (optional)
Garbage to Electricity
The SWA receives almost 17 million pounds of solid waste every day. That’s like piling a football field with trash 27 feet high – almost to the top of the goal posts! During this lesson, students will discover how we manage all of that waste by selling recyclables and using the garbage to create electricity. They will then play an interactive game to test what they have learned.
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Industry and Nature Coexist
Take your students on a virtual trek through the SWA Greenway Trail System! You will discover why the trails were created, explore part of our Butterfly Loop Trail, and find out how a waste disposal facility can help protect the environment. Students will then learn about tree cookies and make their own in this interactive lesson.
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• Paper plate with ridges – OR – worksheet with large circle (provided)
• Crayons/colored pencils/markers
What does it mean to Recycle Right in Palm Beach County? Your students will find out what items should go in the blue and yellow recycling bins and what happens after they’re picked up from the curb. We will discuss the differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources and the important role recycling plays in preserving natural resources.
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Materials needed (can be empty or full – for demonstration only):
• Plastic container (bottle/yogurt or pudding cup)
• Glass container (spaghetti sauce/pickle jar)
• Steel can (soup/vegetables/tuna)
• Aluminum can (soda)
• Milk/Juice carton
Did you know that garbage is turned into electricity in Palm Beach County? Your students will discover how their waste becomes a clean energy source through the use of turbines and generators. You’ll see The Claw and find out just how much garbage The Pit can hold! This lesson is followed by an interactive game testing students’ knowledge.
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What’s up with solid waste? In this lesson, students will learn what happens to their blue and yellow recycling bin items and why it’s important to Recycle Right. The accompanying activity will involve math skills as we calculate percentages of solid waste received and discuss what those numbers mean for our county’s future.
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• Worksheet with tables and pie chart template (provided)
• Pencil or colored pencils
Industry and Nature Coexist
Your students will become wildlife detectives as we search for evidence of animals on a virtual scavenger hunt through the SWA’s Butterfly Loop Trail. You will discover why the SWA Greenway Trail System was created, how we responsibly manage the county’s solid waste and participate in an interactive activity about bird beak adaptations.
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• Various utensils found around the home (*optional – details provided at booking)
Discover how the SWA uses garbage as a renewable resource to create energy. In this lesson, your students will learn how electricity is created through a burning process and about the air pollution control systems that make Renewable Energy Facility 2 the cleanest, greenest waste-to-energy facility in North America! Students will also investigate the difference between physical and chemical changes in an interactive activity.
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• 3 cups filled 1/3 with water
• 3 cups filled 1/3 with white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon each of salt, sugar and baking soda
The SWA began operations to manage Palm Beach County’s solid waste in 1975! Your students will learn how we process garbage, recycling, home hazardous waste and biosolids for over 1.4 million residents. They will get behind-the-scenes looks at Renewable Energy Facility 2 and the Recovered Materials Processing Facility. STEM students will especially benefit from the technical explanations of the facilities.
*In-depth lessons on individual facilities which cover technical material are also available for Renewable Energy Facility 2, the Recovered Materials Processing Facility and the SWA Greenway Trail System.
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