5E Resource Conservation: E Waste

White River Regional Solid Waste Management District
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Student Guide , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Project , Instructor Guide/Manual , Activity
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



Students will practice close reading of several articles related to E-waste regulation. After the close reading, students will write an argumentative paper that answers the question, "Should the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality establish and implement rules and regulations banning the disposal of all computer and electronic equipment in Arkansas landfills” as stated in Section 12 of Arkansas Act 1410 of 2001. Students will present their decision and evidence to the class orally in a slide presentation, on a poster or in a video (or any appropriate format). Includes resources to help close reading activities and argumentative paper development.


This could be adapated to different locales by having students research if there are similar rules and regulations in their home state. The suggested time line is 5 days, but more may be required. 

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students are being asked to create an argumentative paper identifying risks associated with disposal of electronic waste, E-waste, in landfills. They may need guidance in generating evidence-based arguments.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Some students may need more guidance in developing their written argument than others. Students not exposed to using evidence to create arguments may struggle. Some possible resources to provide guidance for those students include "Signal Phrases" documents or "Argument Organizers."

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The major goal of the readings and class discussions is to find ways to reduce E-waste. Students will need to identify ways that we can reduce the amount of E-waste generated in production of electronic devices as well as ways to recycle used electronic devices.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will be looking at the system of electronic device creation and recycling, identifying ways that we can change the system to increase the stability of the environment as a result of manufacture and destruction of the devices.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students are reading provided articles about the environmental impacts of E-waste, as a result of manufacture and disposal, to develop a policy for government to act on. Students are using the practice of engaging in argument from evidence. Their evidence is gained through their understanding of e-waste and the impacts it has on the environment. The goal of the policy students generate relies on them using the crosscutting concept of creating a system, disposal of E-waste, that will create more stability through lessening impacts on the environment and the disciplinary core idea that scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technology that generates less waste.

  • Instructional Supports: Teacher guide gives basic information on types of questioning that should be used. The modified lesson plan gives more information on prompts. There are several supports included in the materials to help guide students in developing the practice of argumentation from evidence.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There are suggestions as to how to monitor student progress including exit tickets, some notation of where students' understanding should be at certain times in the unit, a quiz, and a rubric for note taking are included as part of the teacher guide. Sample student papers are also included as well as rubrics. These can be found under the Handouts and Texts link.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Students are given a readings which can be presented to the students traditionally or using technology to annotate. There are also some opportunities for students to take online quizzes to measure their knowledge on E-waste. The links to these can be found in the modified teacher guide.