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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ENV0060


To Diaper or Not To

An Educator's Reference Desk Lesson Plan


Author: Jerry Mohar
School/University/Affiliation: Lyle High School; Lyle, WA

Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


    • Science/Environmental Education

Overview: The environmental impact of disposable diapers is a debate which can be discussed at any grade level as an awareness to the environmental problems of today. Use of diapers as a tool of observation and discussion can be enlightening and rewarding in leading a discussion of environmental issues.

Objectives: Students will be able to:

    • List the materials used in disposable diapers.
    • List the functions of diapers.
    • Identify environmental problems of diapers in landfills.


    • Obtain one clean, unused, disposable diaper.
    • Fill a paper cup or glass with 1/2 cup of water.
    • Construct a chart: diaper functions; list of diaper materials.
    • Dissect the disposable diaper.
    • Discuss the materials found in the diaper.


    • What is the environmental impact of these diapers on landfills? Can a better diaper be designed?
    • What does "impermeable" mean?


May 1994

These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center's Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.


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