Online Student Book


Waste Disposal: Computers and the Environment

Environmental Impact: Comparing Industries Overview Book Cover

Waste Disposal: Computers and the Environment is a SEPUP module designed for use in grades 8–12. The module contains a series of 8 activities that provide approximately 3 weeks of instruction.

This module focuses on toxic waste produced during the manufacture and disposal of technology such as computers. Students etch simulated circuit boards. They then conduct several activities to investigate dilution, precipitation, and metal replacement as options for handling the resulting toxic waste. They consider a variety of options for handling obsolete computers and learn about integrated waste management. Students then select a computer company from which to purchase school computers. Students are assessed on their ability to use evidence and identify trade-offs when making a decision.

Each module includes a Teacher’s Guide containing reproducible student pages and a kit containing the equipment required to conduct the activities with five classes of 32 students. The Teacher’s Guide provides specific strategies to facilitate and assess student learning.

Shown below is the table of contents for the teacher’s guide, which contains reproducible student pages.


Module at a Glance

Guide to the Module

Activity 1: Producing Toxic Waste
Student Investigation: Creating a Computer

Activity 2: Dilution of Copper Chloride
Student Investigation: Diluting the Problem

Activity 3: Reclaiming Waste through Metal Replacement
Student Investigation: Reclaiming the Most Metal

Activity 4: Another Approach to Reclaiming Metal
Student Investigation: Precipitation Reclamation

Activity 5: Investigating Sanitary Landfills
Student Investigation: Landfills and Toxic Trash

Activity 6: Incinerating Toxic Waste
Student Investigation: Up in Smoke?

Activity 7: Recycling, Reuse, and Source Reduction
Student Investigation: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Activity 8: Purchasing Computers
Student Investigation: To Buy or Not to Buy

Appendix A: Materials
Appendix B: Background
Appendix C: Assessment
Appendix D: Glossary

General Info