Where’s the “Beef”?
Grade Level: 9-12
Academic Areas: Science, Technology
Duration of service: Year-long
Character Virtues: Respect, Civic virtue and Citizenship
Technology: GIS, GPS
Service Areas: Environmental
Service Learning Project:
Participants will go into their communities to map the locations of fast food
litter, identifying it by source, while cleaning it up. The cooperation of local
leadership will be sought, as well as that of the fast food franchise managers.
Students will be trained in the use of GPS and GIS technology. They will mark
GPS waypoints for the litter they collect, classifying it by the company that
produces it (McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.). Students will then download the
GPS data into ArcView to produce a distribution map and establish a baseline.
Decisions will be made as to whether a problem exists and what can be done to
alleviate it. This information will be presented to the school and local
communities with suggestions for remediation. This process will be repeated
each fall and again in the spring by student and community groups as a weekend
or after school activity. Parents will be invited to participate in the data
gathering and cleanup also.
Students will develop technology skills to utilize GPS and GIS software. They
will apply MST skills in classification and analysis.
This project will promote civic responsibility and respect for the environment, as
students consider the impact of their own activities on their community and
propose positive solutions.
Goals and Objectives
Learning Goal: Students will collect and analyze data using GPS and GIS to evaluate the
nature and extent of fast food litter as an environmental problem in the community.
Standard: MST Standards 2 and 5
Learning Goal: Students will understand how litter affects the environment and will propose
possible solutions based on their analysis.
Standard: MST Standards 4, 6 and 7
Community need: Fast Food Litter
Possible Community Partners: Department of Public Works, Franchise Owners
Objective: Students will provide the community with a digital map of litter, identified by
source, twice a year.
Objective: Students will become integrated in the community through solving a problem for
the benefit of all.
Learning Goal: Participants will understand how to use a GPS receiver to record the
coordinate locations of fast food litter.
Objective: Participants will record point locations with a GPS receiver.
Learning Goal: Participants will understand how to create a basic map with ArcView GIS
(open view, add themes, create layout with title, arrow, scale, and legend).
Objective: Participants will create a basic map with ArcView GIS.
Objective: Participants will show consideration for the environment.
Virtue: Civic Virtue and Citizenship
Objective: Participants will volunteer in the community and participate in government.
Key Planning Activities
1. Teachers will plan lessons on GPS and GIS.
2. Meetings will be held to organize students and other volunteers.
3. A base map of the area to be studied must be prepared.
4. Contacts must be made with local government and community business leaders,
particularly franchise owners, to inform them about the project and gain their
cooperation. Students should be involved in this step.
Key Service Activities
1. Students will use GPS units to collect the locations of litter. Litter will be classified
by source and marked as waypoints.
2. Students will prepare a report that maps the distribution of litter. The report will be
composed of an ArcView map and a written description of the process and analysis.
3. Students will present their findings to the student body, community leaders and
franchise managers/business leaders.
4. Students will develop policy and implement remediation.
Key Reflection Activities
1. At the beginning of the project students will discuss how to implement the project and
why they should undertake it. They will be asked to predict the extent of the problem
and consider the impact litter on the environment.
2. During the analysis portion of the project, students will write about the difference their
clean up has made to the community’s environment.
3. At the conclusion of the project, students will share their findings and proposed
solutions to the school community and the community at large.
Have the local franchise owners post pictures of students engaged in the clean up. Have a
coffee house, inviting all students who were involved as well as family and friends. If franchise
owners sponsor the clean up they may provide refreshments.