Closing the Loop: Toward a Circular Economy Unit driving question: How can we make our economy more circular, and why does it matter? 

Spread the Word to Make an Impact Lesson driving question: How can we create a culture of battery recycling in our community?


  1. Demonstrate the peer review process by modeling with an exemplar.
  • Elicit students’ experiences with giving or providing feedback in order to generate ideas on how to do so during peer review.
  • Introduce peer review specifically by explaining how it is a process by which colleagues provide useful, critical, and honest feedback in order to improve a final product. The peer review process is used by both scientists and engineers to improve articles, presentations, and designed objects.
  • Use the Video Storyboard and Script: Peer Review Feedback Sheet and Final Product Checklist and Rubric as you provide feedback on a storyboard and script that you have created or on student work from a different section (make sure it’s anonymous or that you have permission from the group).
  • Show students how you would mark up the sheet and share what you are thinking as you work through the review.
    • Demonstrate how to provide clear, respectful, and concise feedback that addresses both what the author asked for feedback on and your own perspective.


  1. Guide students to provide peer review on another group’s storyboard.
  • Organize students into their project groups. If needed, provide time for individual students to finish completing the top section of the Peer Review Feedback Sheet. Then have groups share their Video Storyboard and Script handout with a different group, in a way that you have predetermined. Individual students should receive another student’s Peer Review Feedback Sheet so that they can provide targeted feedback on the same storyboard that they are reviewing with their group.
  • Encourage students to attend to the request for feedback at the top of the sheet, and provide clear feedback with compliments and suggestions rooted in evidence from the Final Product Checklist and Rubric.
    • Students can highlight or use sticky notes to indicate with one color areas of the rubric that are met, and with another color, areas that are not met. They can also list evidence that the criteria has been met on the Peer Review Feedback Sheet, and provide a summary of their feedback in written or digital form.


  1. Facilitate students’ collaborative review of feedback from their peers.
  • Prompt students to give the feedback sheets back to the group whose work they reviewed. In their project group, students should review the feedback, ideally from three to four reviewers. Then, they should decide which aspect(s) of feedback they will focus on in their work time in the next step, and record this in the last section of the Peer Review Feedback Sheet.
    • Provide guidance on what kinds of feedback students can and should incorporate at this point, versus which feedback it is not necessary to acknowledge in their final drafts. For example, feedback they can and should incorporate should relate directly to how to make their storyboards best align to the rubric and how to create clear messaging to the target audience. Feedback related to unnecessary wording changes, opinions on visuals, or other aesthetic changes that are not barriers to the viewer are optional to be incorporated.
  1. Preview the details for the Video Challenge Festival and support project groups in finalizing their storyboards.
  • To build students’ excitement and motivation for finalizing their storyboards, share the details for the Video Challenge Festival that will culminate the unit (see Setup for more details).
  • Provide time for project groups to finalize their storyboards and scripts, based on peer feedback.
    • Emphasize that they should be ready to produce their videos in the next activity. Share the technology and/or options that they will have to create their videos.


Informal Assessment

Students' feedback on their peers’ storyboard drafts demonstrates their ability to critically assess science communication skills and content from the unit related to circular economies and recycling lithium-ion batteries.

Extending the Learning

To help students broaden and monitor the impacts of their social media video messages, consider having them create a user survey for their target audience about use and disposal of devices powered by lithium-ion batteries. Survey questions should be student-generated and focused toward their target audience and what they already know about recycling lithium-ion batteries, and include questions to understand how many devices and lithium-ion batteries a user typically disposes of over the course of the year. Analyzing the survey results can help students refine and focus the action steps that they include in their videos.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Biology
    • Health
  • Earth Science
  • Social Studies
    • Economics
  • Storytelling
    • Filmmaking

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Prepare for creation of the video challenge that comprises the final product for the unit project

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions
  • Modeling
  • Peer tutoring

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.4:  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D:  Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

Next Generation Science Standards

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Highlighters
  • Sticky notes

Physical Space

  • Community center


Prepare to model peer review for students in Step 1. You will model reading through and providing feedback on your example final product or on the product of a willing student. Prepare to show students how you would mark up the paper and what you are thinking. Think through the process to show students how to provide clear, concise, and respectful feedback.

Decide ahead of time how you will assign groups’ storyboards for peer review; this could be done randomly or strategically.

Confirm the technology and options that students will have available to create their videos in the next activity, so that you can share this in Step 4. For classrooms with limited access to recording devices, have students create a slideshow presentation with recorded narration. This can be downloaded as a video file and shared via social media.

Be prepared to give details of the Video Challenge Festival that will take place at the end of the unit for students to share their final products with peers, community members, and experts. If possible, consider a time of day outside of class time so that other people can attend and students can see videos from students in other class periods. Given that the final product is intended to be digital, a virtual film festival via an online videoconferencing platform may be appropriate and simplifies the invitation of outside participants. Depending on the time of year, plan the festival to promote National Battery Day on February 18 and International E-Waste Day October 14. Finally, explore different options for sharing students’ videos on social media in safe and appropriate ways; this may entail you as the teacher uploading to a shared platform rather than having students share on their personal accounts, especially if not all students have access.


  • Large-group instruction
  • Small-group instruction

Accessibility Notes

Consider having students collaborate in their project groups rather than individually to provide feedback to their peers, especially to support EL and other students who may need extra support in reading, interpreting, and analyzing the scripts and storyboards.

Background Information

In today’s internet-driven society, short videos are an ideal format for communicating information and ideas, especially in regards to changing individual behaviors to contribute to broader social change. For videos to have maximum impact, they need to: 

  1. Quickly capture the attention of a target audience
  2. Clearly communicate a key takeaway message
  3. Provide ideas about how the viewer can take action
  4. Be brief and visually appealing


Peer review is a process by which colleagues provide useful, critical, and honest feedback, in order to improve a final product. The peer review process is used by both scientists and engineers to improve articles, presentations, and designed objects. For engineers, one of the primary justifications for peer review is safety. The process of peer review can also help engineers satisfy applicable laws, meet clients’ financial goals, attend to the needs of the community, and mitigate environmental impacts. Incorporating the peer review process in science classrooms enables students to consider these same goals, take pride in and ownership of their final products for the unit project, and position themselves with expertise to share with their peers.

Prior Knowledge

  • Environmental and health impacts of mining lithium
  • How and why to recycle lithium-ion batteries
  • Circular versus linear economies


circular economy

a system of production that extends the lifespan of consumer goods by maximizing reusing and recycling, and minimizing throwing things away.

linear economy

system where raw materials are collected and transformed into products, which are eventually discarded as waste.

peer review

the many ways in which students can share their creative work with peers for constructive feedback and then use this feedback to revise and improve their work. 


to clean or process in order to make suitable for reuse.

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