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These workshops are

  • standards-based, aligning with learning standards for science, communications, reading, social studies, and other subjects. All workshops support Next Generation Science StandardsDownload PDF , 400 .
  • hands-on and relevant to students’ everyday lives.
  • interactive, with students working in small groups as they rotate through stations and tasks.
  • critical-thinking-based, challenging students to make connections to real-world issues and think for themselves.
  • action-oriented, asking students to consider how the topic relates to their lives and what steps they can take to make a difference for the environment.
  • service-learning-based, leading directly to service learning projects in which students apply what they learn to real projects in their schools and communities.
  • flexible in length, typically lasting 50 minutes, but also accommodating block periods.

As part of the workshops or on their own, students can conduct surveys of their households to determine how efficiently they are reducing their waste and separating recyclables from it. The home surveys come in both a middle schoolDownload PDF , 411 and high schoolDownload PDF , 385 version.

Students learn that garbage in most of King County goes to the Cedar Hills Landfill. What else might they know about the landfill? Find out with this true/false quizDownload PDF , 1.7 M and answer sheetDownload PDF , 200 . Note: If you would like the PowerPoint version of this quiz, contact

The workshops offered are described in detail below. Middle and high school versions are available for most workshops.

To schedule an EcoConnections workshop call Triangle Associates at 206-583-0655 or e-mail

Focus on life science and ecosystems

Biodiversity in Our World – What is biodiversity and why is it important? How do our shopping and waste disposal choices affect biodiversity? Students actively engage in a discussion of real-world issues such as habitat protection, population growth, and climate change. Through challenging and fun, hands-on activities, students gain a clearer understanding of our everyday effects on the planet and how our personal choices can make a difference for the better. The high school version of this workshop includes a focus on ecosystem services.

The workshop and instructor were fantastic. I would not have the time or resources to put together such a wonderful activity/presentation. – High school teacher

Biospheres – How does the closed system of a biosphere compare to Earth? Students work in small groups and observe small-scale model ecosystems called Ecospheres to understand biotic and abiotic factors and natural cycles. Students compare the Ecosphere to Earth and realize how their daily consumption and disposal habits affect the planet. They rethink their choices and explore ways to live more sustainably. For high school groups, discussion can include climate change and its sources and impacts.

The biospheres were very engaging and linked well to standards covered in class. – Middle school teacher

Focus on earth systems and human activity

Consumption Junction – How do our lifestyles affect the quality of the Earth’s environment? How does recycling conserve natural resources and minimize human impacts? By studying the life cycle of an aluminum can from its bauxite source to the recycling bin, students learn about the time, energy, and natural resources used to make an everyday product, the resulting environmental and climate change impacts, and the steps we can take to limit consumption for a more sustainable future.

This is an AWESOME workshop! It is well paced, applicable to student life, engaging, and a good balance of direct instruction and activity. – Middle school teacher

Earth Impact: Overconsumption or Sustainability? (Updated for 2017) – How and why do we choose what to buy, and what impact do these choices have on our planet? Rotating through lab stations that examine overconsumption and our ecological footprint, students explore product life cycles and recognize the ecological impacts their choices have on the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Students use critical-thinking and analytical skills to assess the “earth impacts” of various consumer goods, with a focus on ways to make more sustainable shopping choices and lower their ecological footprint.

Loved this workshop! It was a great introduction to the semester for my environmental science class. – High school teacher

Four Rs for Our Climate (high school only) – How do our shopping and waste habits contribute to climate change? How can using the four Rs help minimize our carbon footprint? After learning some basic climate change science, students explore how their consumption of natural resources and disposal of waste contribute to their carbon footprint. Students work in small groups to analyze the life cycle of an everyday item, the fast-food hamburger, and they develop practical solutions to shrink their carbon footprint through better waste reduction and recycling practices. Extended class periods include a focus on climate justice.

The balance of listening, doing, and talking in small groups was great. It really drove home the message about all of the different things we do that impact climate change. – High school teacher

Focus on environmental action

Food for Thought – What are we really wasting when we waste food? Why is composting that leftover pizza not the greenest choice? This workshop explores the environmental and climate change impacts of food production, disposal, and waste. Students learn about the magnitude of food waste in King County and the United States. They also explore what happens to food when it is either composted or sent to the landfill. Students calculate their “foodprint” to quantify their individual waste and focus on positive changes they can make to lessen their environmental impact. While the focus of this lesson is on waste prevention, it can be adapted to include some how-to advice for schools that collect food waste for composting.

Another excellent workshop. It really drives home the idea that even if you compost your food waste, you're still wasting all of the resources that went into producing that food. – Middle school teacher

secondary classroom workshop
Students explore how their purchase, use, and disposal of materials contribute to their carbon footprint.
Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

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Fax: 206-296-0197

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal