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In this STEM design project, students will research and identify what makes a community more eco-friendly by exploring the natural landscape of their own community, its biodiversity, animal habitats and green spaces. Students will then design and create a scale drawing of an existing neighborhood, changing or improving its natural and man-made features by taking into account the plants and animals that live there and their needs by applying their knowledge of various habitats to preserve its biodiversity while making room for human inhabitants.

In this 2-day lesson, students develop indicators to measure quality of life and conduct a survey of peers and adults to obtain data for their indicators. They analyze the survey data by calculating measures of central tendency and producing charts to demonstrate their results.

By plotting the geographical coordinates of community resources in a given city, students will consider how the location of resources affects sustainability. Students

calculate distances and midpoints using coordinate geometry.

This 2-day lesson begins with a lively introductory activity in which students examine how a system works. They experience limits to success, redesign a system to improve efficiency, and begin to identify assumptions that drive human behavior. Then students analyze current global trends in primary school education and use systems thinking to generate solutions that address root causes of barriers to education.

Students analyze the characteristics of sustainably designed items. In a real-world application exercise, students calculate the surface area and volume of a prism and a cylinder in order to connect geometric properties to sustainable design principles. A closing discussion raises questions about the applicability of sustainable design to different situations, as well as its social and economic impacts.

Snow leopards are an endangered species of wildcat that are native to the mountains of central Asia. Students compare the sizes of different habitats snow leopards live in around the world and practice transforming a trapezoid on a coordinate plane. They reflect on what makes this species endangered, characteristics of a proper habitat, and different ways of helping endangered species to survive.

Students reflect on ways in which they use energy for everyday activities and the fuels used to power those activities. Students use geometric and trigonometric formulas to calculate unknown angles and side lengths of a triangle formed by a solar panel that is tilted to optimize incoming solar radiation. Implications of utilizing renewable energy sources, including solar power, are considered in light of climate change and energy security.

Students create connections between individual actions and climate change. They work with algebraic inequalities to consider how many and what types of activities can be performed while staying within a limited carbon budget.

Students compare life expectancy among several countries and discuss possible explanations for observed differences. Life expectancy is correlated with other statistics for multiple countries. During a class discussion, students analyze the usefulness of life expectancy as an indicator of a country’s well-being.

Students begin by analyzing information from a credit card offer. They then work through calculations to analyze financial choices made by two young people. The activity connects to national budgeting and debt by investigating the revenues and expenditures of two countries.