"The Great Can Drive" is the second segment of the eleventh episode of Recess.
Mikey is the only one in Miss Grotke's class who decides to collect cans for the annual Can Drive after the other kids drop out, not wanting to lose against the Ashleys again; this eventually results in a massive rivalry escalating between the classes over who collects the most cans.
While Miss Grotke finishes giving a history lecture on how Thanksgiving was founded, Principal Prickly gives an announcement, reminding everyone about the annual Thanksgiving can drive starting, "to help the homeless, the hungry, the handicapped, etc., etc.", adding that the winning class that collects the most cans by the week's end receives a lovely turkey dinner. The class feels humiliated, but Miss Grotke informs the class that the can drive is a fun school tradition. T.J., Vince, Gretchen and Spinelli inform her that every year since kindergarten, the class with the Ashleys has always won the can drive no matter how much cans the other classes have collected, and everyone knows that since they're in Miss Furley's class, that class is going to win. Miss Grotke replies that they have just as much chance of winning as the next class, and they just have to work at it. As the class exits, they see the Ashleys with bins of cans they have already collected ahead. At first, the entire class wants to drop out of the drive, but Mikey still wants to participate, not believing in winning or losing. As the drive begins, Mikey's classmates think he has no chance.
By the next day, the Ashleys have still collected more cans than Mikey, and during lunchtime, while Mikey's friends comfort him, the Ashleys taunt them for giving him advice on how to lose. The gang save for Mikey declare that they're going to beat the Ashleys in the drive. With that, they help Mikey collect more cans. However, they later see that the Ashleys are using machines to collect more of theirs. The gang gets an idea on letting more kids join in.
At first, the other kids (including Swinger Girl, Hustler Kid, The Diggers and Guru Kid) refuse, but are later convinced to join after the gang says that they're "going to beat the Ashleys". With that, they help the gang collect a lot more cans for Miss Grotke's class.
On stage, all the cans have formed a pyramid, and a graduate student (Miss Eudora Finkelstein from Third Street Elementary's Class of 1928), holds the turkey for the winning class. However, the final results for Miss Grotke and Miss Furley's classes each have 4,362 cans, resulting in a tie. This disappoints both sides, except for Mikey who says that it's perfect, and either side needs one more can to win, which Miss Finkelstein has (she was going to give it to the winning class). The classes get into a tug of war over it, but Mikey declares both classes to put the cans together and forget about the turkey, as he still believes that can drives aren't about competition, and are "about helping people and being generous and sharing [their] bounty". However, Mikey's words fall on deaf ears, and the tug of war resumes. But the last can slips off of Miss Finkelstein's hands (due to her unable to hold it any longer), and it rolls over to the pyramid, which topples over, letting the cans' contents splatter over everyone. Mikey tells off both sides for their selfishness, adding that nobody, not even the homeless, is going to have a good Thanksgiving, and storms off in anger. The rest of the gang and the Ashleys hang their heads in shame and guilt.
The next morning, a downhearted Mikey walks to the classroom only to find it empty. The rest of the gang and the Ashleys find him, telling him that they felt really bad about what happened, and they decided to work together as a team, collecting twice as many cans as before (Spinelli got her cousin Nick from Fifth Street school to help, the Diggers got help from their society friends, and even Swinger Girl got help from the swinger convention) which impresses Mikey. And if that weren't enough, the Feedbin store even got to donate a truckload of food to every homeless shelter in the city. And it's all thanks to Mikey, because, thanks to him, both Miss Grotke and Miss Furley's classes realize that working with each other is better than working against each other.
Just then, Principal Prickly announces that the Holiday Toy Drive is beginning the following Monday. Uh-oh, here we go again.