HOW LONG DOES IT LAST? Exploring the 3Rs Using the Book The Lorax

March 26, 2016 Lana Jelenjev

Our son attend the NEO class here in our area. It is a class made up of 20 gifted kids given differentiated instruction for the entire week. For their class exploration, they are busy on understanding about the environment and more specifically about sustaining the environmental resources.

The big question that they are working on right now is "How Long Will It Decompose?" and I decided to bring the discussion at home by using the Lorax as a starting point. The Lorax is a book written by Dr. Seuss that talks about Thneedville, a place virtually devoid of nature. It delves into the story of the Lorax , the gruff guardian of the forest, and the Once-ler whose greed is responsible for the environmental situation. It is a story that addresses both environmental and economical issues.

We have read the book The Lorax before and did a "recycling" art activity. Making use of recycleable materials in making our trufalla tree. Our big question in that activity was "what materials can we recycle and reuse to make our trufalla tree?"

Tying the story of The Lorax on preserving the environment, I reminded them of  the  3 R's - reduce, reuse and recycle.Resources to show to your kids on this topic are:

Kids Pages of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Going Green Earth Day Song

Recycling Guide UK

To add to the exploration that my son is having in class, we explored the big question "How long will it decompose?" using a mindmap.

For those new to mindmapping with children I use a simple app called Simple Mind (affiliate link). From the very title itself it is indeed very simple! In the middle is the big question that we are exploring. I then ask what materials can you see around you? After that is the question

"how long DO YOU THINK it will decompose?"

This is what our mind map looks like along with their guesses on how long they think each item will decompose.

mindmap how long will it decompose


But our exploration is not ending there. We will continue this topic and now find answers to our inquiry. I am already preparing the thinking routine "I used to think, now I think"to summarize our topic exploration. Filling in the following statement for each material:

I used to think that ______ take _______ to decompose, now I think _______.

 So expect another post on this guided inquiry at home!


This post is part of the wonderful Storybook Science series (in honor of March being National Reading Month) by Inspiration Laboraties. Click on the button below to follow along throughout the series!

storybook series



Older Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published