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Getting Around

Getting Around

Essential questions: 
What are some valuable services that ships and airlines provide?
What are some ways that ships and airplanes impact the environment?
What are the shipping and air industries doing to reduce their carbon footprint?
What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint related to traveling?
What is an “alternative vehicle”?
What are some advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles?
What are some strong arguments for purchasing an alternative vehicle?
How is transportation set up differently in different communities?
What are some of the effects of transportation systems on humans and environmental systems?
What are some new transportation trends?
Why does transportation planning require thinking about future needs?

This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-101: Ships and Planes (Estimated time needed: One 50-minute session)
In this lesson, students explore the benefits and consequences of two popular transportation industries: shipping and air travel. While both industries are clearly important to the global economy, they also have a significant impact on the environment, particularly by contributing greenhouse gases that are having negative impacts on our global climate. Students explore ways that governments and industries are improving their practices and addressing environmental concerns. Then students work in teams to consider several scenarios in which individuals and families evaluate the options they have for travel. Students also explore purchasing carbon credits and other actions they can take to help address this significant environmental issue.

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Alternative Vehicles (Estimated time needed: Two 50-minute sessions plus time for at-home and group research)
In this lesson, students consider options to traditional fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. The lesson begins with students reviewing the most common alternative vehicles via a presentation. Then they work in groups to research and make three recommendations for an appropriate alternative vehicle to suit a family of four. Groups consolidate their findings in a presentation, share their presentation with the class, and vote to determine the best choice for their hypothetical family. The lesson concludes with students’ discussing their personal thoughts and feelings about the role alternative vehicles might play in our society.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: Transportation Trends (Estimated time needed: One 60-minute session)
In this lesson, students explore how transportation systems have evolved as human populations have transitioned from most people living in rural areas to more people living in urban areas. They examine how transportation infrastructure is used to support large populations, and they examine some ways in which transportation systems impact society and the environment. Then students take a close look at the area around the school and role-play urban planners who make recommendations for how transportation in the area might be improved for a more sustainable future.