Dear ESL teacher,
 Alternative Services would like to thank you for including “The Family Car” in your lesson plan.
We hope you will find the lesson packet complete, easy to use, and fun to teach. Please contact us if
you find anything missing or if you have any questions about the lesson. The information in this
packet- and more- is also available at
 Alternative Services received a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board
(CIWMB) to introduce the lesson in 19 counties. The CIWMB funds such projects from money
that is collected on the sale of motor oil in California; for every gallon of oil that is sold, 16 cents is
set aside to be used toward used oil and oil filter recycling programs. Our project introduces
information about recycling used motor oil and filters to an audience shown by CIWMB research
to be most likely to improperly dispose of used oil: newcomers.
The CIWMB grant was completed in November 2007. We conducted extensive evaluation of the
results and we’re excited to report that approximately 100,000 gallons of used oil was recycled as a
result of this program in the first year that classes were taught! The complete grant report is
available at
Now that the initial grant is complete, we have asked local cities and counties to continue the
funding, using oil recycling grants that they receive from the CIWMB. We are pleased to report
that most of them- including yours- have agreed to maintain the program.
Each lesson packet is modified for your specific area with information about where to take used oil
and filters and includes “give-aways” and other recycling information that students can take with
them to reinforce the lesson’s message. All of these items are paid for through the grant funds.
In this teacher packet you will find a list of teacher tips and suggestions. All of these have come
from other ESL teachers after using “The Family Car” in their classrooms. We hope they will be
useful to you or perhaps they will inspire you to find even more creative ways to use the lesson. We
would love to include your suggestions on the website, so please send us
any ideas you have.
Please don’t forget to fill out and send your Class Record form to us. We need this form to pay
your stipends.
And thanks again for making us a part of your class.

Connie Cloak
Project Director
 Alternative Services
phone: 707/568-3783
fax: (707) 575-6866
Hugo Mata
Bilingual Outreach Specialist
 Alternative Services
toll-free: (877) 606-6263
fax: (707) 575-6866 
Class Record/ Invoice
“The Family Car” Lesson on Used Oil Recycling
Instructor: ____________________________ Date: ______________________
Location: _____________________________ County: ______________________
Number in class: ________ Level: Beginning Intermediate Advanced

Students’ native language(s): ______________________________________________
How many students have a car in their household? _________
How many change their own oil (or have a household member who does)? ________
Description of class (games used, story level, …):
Student Feedback:
Instructor Feedback:
Other notes:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Make check out to: Phone/email:
Address to mail check:
c/o 758 Pine St. Santa Rosa CA 95404;
or fax: toll-free 877/240-2232
Date received: ______________ Date paid: ___________ ($50 paid per class of 6 or more students)
This page and other materials are available
for download at
The goal of the Family Car ESL lesson is to communicate important environmental
information to your students while at the same time offering you resources that are
helpful in teaching English. We know that the comprehension level of your students
varies greatly. Also, while some teachers use this lesson as part of a larger focus on
the environment, others may not choose to do so. Here are the key messages that
we hope every student will understand after participating in the Family Car lesson:
• Used motor oil and filters must be recycled. Any other type of disposal- in the
trash, down a drain, on the ground- is illegal and is hazardous to human
health and the environment. The fine for illegal dumping is up to $10,000.
• Recycling used oil and filters is easy and free. Ideally, we hope that every
student leaves the class with specific knowledge of a place where he/she can
take oil and filters for recycling. At the least, every student should understand
how to use the information provided to find the nearest recycling location.
• Used oil and filters must be handled properly to avoid spilling and to comply
with the law. Oil should be stored in a plastic container with a screw-top.
Filters should be transported in a sealed plastic bag.
• Now that students understand about recycling used oil and filters, we hope
that they will be motivated to tell others in their communities.
Here are some other details that we would like students to know if time and ability
• Take oil and filters to used oil recycling centers only when the centers are
open for business. The majority of recycling locations are businesses or
government-operated facilities that are open during regular business hours.
Leaving oil after hours is considered illegal dumping and is subject to a fine.
• Never mix used oil with anything else, even water. If oil is mixed with fluids
such as gasoline or antifreeze it cannot be recycled and must be taken to a
hazardous waste facility.
• When changing oil avoid getting drips or spills on the ground or pavement.
Clean up any spills with rags or an absorbent such as cat litter. A little bit of
oily absorbent can go in the trash but a saturated rag or cleanup from a large
spill should be taken to a hazardous waste facility.

Funded by a grant from the
California Integrated Waste Management Board
Zero Waste: You Make it Happen! 
This page and other materials are available
for download at
Family Car Lesson
Oil in Water Activity
Demonstrate importance of not polluting water with dirty oil.
 Water in a clear container
 Sludge…dirty oil (cooking oil + coffee grounds)

Hold up the clean water and ask the following questions:
1) Would you drink it?
2) Would you wash your hands in it?
3) Would you cook with it?
4) Would you swim in it?
Hold up the sludge ( dirty oil) and ask, “If I put the sludge (dirty oil) in the water,
would you…” asking the questions again. 

More Teacher Tips and other materials
created by teachers are available at
Teacher Tips and Suggestions
Here are some of the ways that other teachers have used or augmented the lesson, The
Family Car, in their classrooms. We hope you will find them useful in your own
classroom, or as a jumping-off point for your own creative ideas for using the lesson
materials. We will continue to add ideas to this sheet. Your comments on the Class
Record Form or separately are always very welcome!
• Using all three levels in the same class as a listening exercise—After reading
through each, students tell what new information they got out of the story.
• Using the fact sheet—Write several of the facts on the board, making one
statement false. Students choose the false one and correct it.
• The lesson is a good tie-in or beginning point with other discussions on recycling
and the environment.
• Take students out to look under the hood of a car. Point out the things from the
lesson, and also show students where to check the oil.
• Have students work in pairs to look up new vocabulary words in the dictionary.
• Assign as homework: have students show and tell someone else what they
learned today and report back.
• Using a local recycling guide, assign different sections to smaller groups of
students; groups reported back to full class on what they learned from their
• Another listening practice—Have students listen to the story, take notes and
answer verbal questions.
• Have students write complete sentences on board using vocabulary words,
correcting any mistakes as a class exercise.
• Using fact sheet as basis for discussion.
• Break students into pairs: an interviewer and an interviewee. Have them take
turns asking and answering questions about recycling.
• Use the pens or other prizes as rewards for correctly answering questions.
• Assign the crossword puzzle as homework.
• Use the fact sheets on used oil and filters to design math lessons.
(over, please) 
• Create new games and puzzles about recycling using the website
• Locate used oil recycling centers on a local map.
• Play “hangman” using the vocabulary words.
• Find songs about cars and have students sing along- good for pronunciation.
• Have a more advanced class learn the lesson and then teach it to a beginning
• Use MapQuest to find the locations of the Used Oil Collection Centers (for a
computer learning class.)
• Bring in a milk jug with a “pop-off” top to show the difference from a “screw-top.”
• Have students color the pictures on page 3 of the lesson to better identify them.
• Use bingo as a review the next day.
• For more advanced students: introduce the vocabulary first, use critical thinking
skills to determine how these words might relate to each other, before reading the
stories aloud with pronunciation practice and discussion.
• Combine the pictures in Story 1 with the words in Story 2 and have the students
• Use the “Oil in Water” activity to start the class, introducing the concept of
mixing clean and dirty water, than transfer this concept to motor oil.
• Have students act out or role-play an oil change, using the realia.
• Create additional vocabulary words for the parts of a car (headlights, steering
wheel, engine etc.) and have students identify them on page 1 of the student
• Cut the “steps” in Story #3 into strips. Have students arrange them in order in
front of the class and then read them again.
• When playing Bingo- give a pen when the student understands the vocabulary
words on their card.
• Have students make up questions using the information on the fact sheets for
question formation review.
• Walk to a storm drain, look and discuss
• Take a field trip to a recycling center
• Look at products made from recycled materials (one class went to a playground
with a field made from recycled tires.) 
This fact sheet and other materials are available
for download at
6 One quart of used motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. Or:
6 One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of water:
a year's supply for 50 people!
6 One oil change from one car engine can create an eight-acre oil slick.
6 Oil films on water block sunlight and oxygen from reaching water plants
and fish.
6 The amount of used motor oil disposed of improperly by Do-it-Yourselfer
auto mechanics every three weeks in the US. is about the amount of oil
spilled by the Exxon Valdez super tanker in Alaska: 11 million gallons!
6 One gallon of used oil that is re-refined will produce about 2½ quarts of
lubricating oil. Producing the same amount takes 42 gallons of crude oil.
6 Re-refining used motor oil takes only 1/3 the energy of refining crude oil to
lubricant quality.
6 If all the used motor oil disposed of improperly each year by US Do-itYourselfers
were recycled, it could produce enough energy to power
360,000 homes or provide 96 million quarts of high-grade motor oil.
6 If all the waste oil generated in the US each year were re-refined, we
would save 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, or half the output of the
Alaska pipeline.
6 40% of the pollution in America's waterways is from used motor oil.
6 Used motor oil often contains toxic metals such as lead, cadmium,
arsenic, and chromium. These can seep into ground water when dumped
on the ground or in the trash.
6 Not recycling used motor oil causes not only environmental damage and a
human health hazard: it's also a missed opportunity to reduce our nation's
dependence on foreign oil.
6 When oil is taken to a Used Oil Collection Center, it is picked up by a
licensed hauler. It is then either used as fuel in special non-polluting
burners, or re-refined into new oil.
6 The only right way to dispose of used motor oil is to recycle it. Putting it in
the trash, on the ground, or down the drain causes pollution and is illegal. 
This fact sheet and other materials are available
for download at
Used oil filters are a hazardous waste if not recycled
It is illegal to throw them away (drained or undrained), homeowners are
not exempt
On average, an oil filter weighs 1 pound
An average oil filter has a pound of steel
An undrained used oil filter can contain up to a quart of oil
Recycling one ton of filters yields 1,700 pounds of steel, 30 gallons of
used oil (3-4 gallons/55 gallon drum) and saves 10 cubic yards of landfill
Funded by a grant from the
California Integrated Waste Management Board
Zero Waste: You Make it Happen! 
The enclosed printed materials including fact sheets on oil and filters may be of
interest to you and your students. Further resources may be available from the
local government contacts provided. Here are some additional sources of
information. These resources- and more- are also available at
Used Motor Oil and other Automotive Wastes
The California Integrated Waste Management Board has an enormous website
filled with resources about used motor oil recycling. There is some basic
information at including a link to a database
of used oil recycling locations that can be searched by zip code, city or county.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has a campaign to encourage
recycling of motor oil called “you dump it, you drink it.” There are various
resources including art for download and publications in English and Spanish.
For more information on automotive wastes, here is a site geared to automotive
professionals. It is very user-friendly, including an interactive “virtual shop” with
links to information on proper handling and disposal of many materials.
A Bay Area organization called Sustainable Conservation has a project on auto
recycling. Some materials are aimed at workers in the auto dismantling industry
and include information in Spanish.
For general information on how to change motor oil and filters, 2 good sites:
What set of car resources would be complete without Car Talk, National Public
Radio’s very funny and informative call-in show? The web site has a lot of useful
as well as funny material, including songs about cars:
General Recycling and other Environmental Information
The California Integrated Waste Management Board site has so much
information it can be overwhelming. From the home page
one useful area of the site is “Choose a material” (found in the menu on the left
over, please 
side of the page). Another is “Publications” (found in the menu on the right side
of the page). A more user-friendly way into this site is through where there are a number of helpful recycling links as
well as current hot topics.
The California Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling site is There are resources for educators in
the menu on the left side of the page, and links about recycling bottles and cans
on the right side.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has educational materials on recycling
including activities and games for three levels of kids. Some of these may be
useful for ESL adult learners as well. Some materials are also in Spanish. has all kinds of environmental information including locators
searchable by zip code. There’s also a section of educational resources
including games and activities.
The Northern California Recycling Association is a
professional organization of people in the recycling field. The site includes an
excellent page of “Resources” with links to regional, state, and national
The State of Minnesota has developed an environmental curriculum for ESL
learners. It includes downloadable materials at
There are many on-line environmental publications. Some good ones:
Related Topics
Please visit for more links on subjects including
Climate Change
Funded by a grant from the
California Integrated Waste Management Board
Zero Waste: You Make it Happen!