Lesson Plan: The 5 R's

The 3 R's get an upgrade in this lesson plan for grades 3-4.

Author: Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally has partnered with EcoRise to bring you comprehensive, hands-on lessons focused on waste and recycling for grades K-12. This lesson written for grades 3-4 is all about the 5 R’s, an expansion of the typical 3 R’s. Access the free lesson plan by clicking on the link below!




Lesson 3.3: The 5 R’s


People commonly use the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to remember to be responsible with their waste. In this lesson written for grades 3-4, students expand the 3 R’s to the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Reflect. The term rot helps them remember the importance of composting. Students explore the term reflect to learn how to be aware of and question their personal behaviors and more global issues related to waste. Students then demonstrate what they learned by working together to create a set of posters they can share around the community. In this way, they also learn how to be advocates for social change.


Estimated time needed: 50 minutes


All lessons are mapped to CCSS, NGSS, EFS, and TEKS standards.




Students will be able to…

  • Explain why it is important for people to be aware of their habits related to waste.
  • Name the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Reflect.
  • List several ways people can reduce the amount of waste they create.


How to Access the Free Lesson Plan


  • Click the link “Get Lesson Plan” below.
  • Select “I am a new user,” then enter your email address in the Username field.
  • Enter your full name and then check the “I agree” box.
  • Click on “Enroll in Course.”
  • Check your email for a link to set your password.


Looking for more ways to introduce composting to your students? Check out our Create a Microcomposter in a Bottle lesson, which can be adapted for Grades 1-6.

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