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Home / Films / Landfill Harmonic



Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster strikes their community, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. The film is a testimony to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.


“The four pillars of New Roads School are reflected in all of the lessons of the Landfill Harmonic program: including social justice, environmental stewardship, and diversity. It includes History/Social Studies, Science and Technical subjects, which is amazing that one curriculum has so much learning.” –– Juana “Kika” Elias, New Roads School Spanish Coordinator


There are four lessons in this guide. The first three are designed for secondary students, the fourth for elementary. Most teachers do not use all the lessons in a Journeys in Film guide; instead, they choose the lesson(s) most appropriate for their discipline, grade level, and syllabus.

Lesson 1 is an introduction to the Recycled Orchestra itself: the people who were responsible for starting it, its impact on the young people of Cateura and on their community, and the current goals and activities of the group. A set of handouts provide guided viewing questions to help students process the film and then they demonstrate their understanding by creating a class newspaper about the Orchestra.

Lesson 2 is an environmental science lesson that deals with the nature of landfills, the way landfills work, and the vocabulary for waste management. Students study the dangers to human health and the environment that may be associated with landfills, and then research the work of NGOs dedicated to improving the environment. They also consider waste disposal methods in their own communities.

In Lesson 3, a community service lesson, students discover organizations founded by young people that work to solve both local and global problems. Students then choose a problem in their own school or community and develop a way to improve the situation or solve the problem completely.

Lesson 4, for elementary students, has three parts: students use a mind-mapping technique to improve their understanding of the film, consider the problem of waste disposal in their own communities, and make their own musical instruments from recycled materials.

Landfill Harmonic film educational license and full curriculum download is available at Tugg.

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Landfill Harmonic

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Kate Fitzgerald, Karen Mattingly, Tonya Montgomery, Lara Tukarski


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