Reduce School Food Waste

In What a Waste!, you read about food waste in the U.S. Now follow this design process to make a plan to cut down on the amount of food trashed in your school’s cafeteria.

DEFINE THE PROBLEMS

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Make observations in your school’s cafeteria. Do you see wasteful behaviors by students or faculty? Are certain types of food wasted more than others? Does the setup of the cafeteria promote the wasting of food? Write a detailed description of any actual and potential problems you identify.

BRAINSTORM SOLUTIONS

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Think about how you could solve the problems you identified in step 1. Come up with several different solutions. How might you measure the amount of food wasted in a day, week, month, or year? Write out step-by-step plans, draw diagrams, or make models for a plan to reduce food waste.

PLAN AND IMPROVE IT

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Pick the solutions from step 2 that you believe will have the greatest impact on reducing waste in your cafeteria. Pair up with a classmate to discuss each of your ideas. Point out features of your plans that could be changed to make each other’s solutions work better and reduce waste further.

OPTIMIZE YOUR DESIGN

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Based on the feedback you received from your classmate in step 3, make adjustments to your original plan. Keep going back to the drawing board until you’re satisfied. As a class, vote on the plan you think will work best. Put it into action at your school. Collect data to see if it’s successful at reducing food waste.

ANALYZE IT: Did your plan work? If not, what could be some reasons for that? If it did, can you identify ways to reduce waste even more? Email scienceworld@scholastic.com to share your successes with us!

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