Wooly: Landfills Explained is a 5-volume comic book series designed to educate school children in grades 3-5 about the relationship between waste and our everyday lives. Using Colorado STEM standards, it is available to everyone, anywhere via mobile app technology. Students may go at their own pace or work with others in a classroom.
Wooly includes embedded links, video lessons, hands on demonstrations of practical in-classroom experiments, a teacher’s handbook and “career cards” to educate children (and their families) about composting, recycling, household hazardous waste, e-waste and other landfill diversion programs. Most waste is a valuable resource so Wooly educates how to divert waste instead of burying it forever.
The program provides lessons on how landfills are properly managed to protect the environment when our waste actually must be buried instead of diverted and includes sections on how to reduce waste in the first place by refusing to make unnecessary purchases and reusing and repurposing items we would otherwise throw away. Wooly makes apparent our everyday activity, including children’s toys and gifts have a waste element associated with them.
Specifically, our program teaches children they are individually responsible for the waste they generate and how that waste is properly managed at their local landfills. Wooly promotes individual responsibility for the waste associated with children’s purchases, teaches the connection between individual action in waste generation and disposal, and how effective landfill management improves the quality of our lives, soil, water and air. Results are demonstrated with the embedded video lessons and the in classroom and at home experiments.
Wooly innovatively uses mobile app technology to reach school children with the actual program but also harnesses the ability of the mobile app technology to creatively deliver the embedded live links to outside organizations like the NOVA television program on the Public Broadcasting System and to the specific video demonstrations of the lessons.
The app can act as a mini-landfill tour taking the children out of their lesson and onto the site for an actual demonstration of how things work. The program also offers detailed examples of careers in the integrated solid waste field that include women characters interested in the field.
Through the experiments children are exposed to the STEM education behind the activities but encouraged to explore on their own. They are encouraged to learn how they can chose to modify their own actions and choices to make decisions that protect the environment.