5

100 minutes
0

5 / 6
Civics and Government, Environmental Education

In this lesson, students explore how national parks, biosphere reserves, and national reserves help us conservation our cultural and natural heritage. The lesson begins with students reviewing national parks, their specific characteristics, and the importance of preserving their natural and cultural heritage for future generations. After the presentation, students research a national park, create a poster display of the information, and present their work to the class.

60 minutes
0

3 / 4 / 5
Science

The class uses an energy flow diagram to represent transfer of energy from the sun to food to people. Then small groups create dinner menus to represent energy flow through particular food chains and analyze the roles of the sun, producers, consumers, and decomposers in ecosystems.

After brainstorming the connection between energy and food, the class creates an energy flow diagram to represent the transfer of energy from the sun to food to people. Students then attend a mystery dinner party where they gather as organisms into their respective ecosystems, create a dinner menu to represent energy flow through a food chain, identify patterns among different food chains and ecosystems, and guess the mystery host.

120 minutes
0

3 / 4 / 5
Science

Students use observations of domino chains and Rube Goldberg machines to learn about different forms of energy, energy transfer and transformation, and energy flow through systems.

During Activity 1, students connect their observations of domino chains with the definitions of energy and systems. In small groups, students learn more about different forms of energy and practice identifying these forms of energy in everyday situations. During Activity 2, students use their online or in-class observations of Rube Goldberg machines to learn about energy transfer, transformation, and the law of conservation of energy.

110 minutes
0

5 / 6
Environmental Education, Science

In this lesson, students explore the fact that air is a mixture of gases. During the first session, they identify the main gases within air and represent the proportions in which they occur in the atmosphere. During the second session, they demonstrate that we are all part of a system in which atmospheric gases and living organisms play interconnected roles in maintaining a balance that is necessary for maintaining life on the planet. At the end of the lesson, students reflect on the importance of protecting air and the balance of nature.

110 minutes
0

5 / 6
Environmental Education, Science

In this lesson, students analyze how changes to the global carbon cycle are impacting Earth's atmosphere and climate. In the first session, they conduct an experiment to identify the presence of carbon dioxide. Then they study how vital this gas is to life on Earth. In the second session, students investigate the greenhouse effect and learn about other greenhouse gases and Earth's energy budget. They conduct a kinesthetic activity to simulate the greenhouse effect in a memorable way. Then students apply what they've learned by analyzing how human activities have contributed to atmospheric changes and by brainstorming actions they can take to help address the problem.

110 minutes
0

5 / 6
Civics and Government, Environmental Education, Science

In this lesson, students experience firsthand what it is like to feel hungry while seeing that other people have greater access to food. By simulating a global lunch, with offerings representing undeveloped, developing, and highly developed nations, students face the issue of hunger head-on. [Note: You may wish to skip this initial activity if your students have experienced poverty and persistent hunger.] Next they explore the concept of food security and look at some of the causes of food insecurity. They begin considering what they can do to improve food security at home and around the world. Then, following plans created by two high school students, the class creates a low-cost, high-impact bucket garden. In the process, students learn that this portable food production system is an easy way for anyone to create a vegetable garden and is a valuable tool that will enable people in large cities or in areas with difficult growing conditions to harvest fresh, healthy food. Finally, students consider other ideas for sustainable food production and how they personally can make a difference.

110 minutes
0

5 / 6
Environmental Education, Science

In this lesson, students learn how something very small—a seed—can have tremendous value to human societies. Through two thought exercises, the lesson guides students to appreciate the tremendous diversity of foods we have today and to consider what life might be like without such diversity. Then they go on a virtual exploration of the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, and learn where other seed banks are located around the world and the valuable function seed banks serve. Finally, each student researches a crop plant they particularly value and together they create their own classroom seed bank.

380 minutes
0

Kindergarten / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8
Reading or Language Arts

Developing a sense of place is one piece of the puzzle in making our schools with a focus on sustainability.
– David Sobel, Mapmaking with Children (1998)

In this series of activities, students reflect on their relationship with their community and how their place contributes to the health and safety of all citizens. By completing various mapping and special place reflection activities, students define their neighborhood and community. Students gain a sense of where they live, are prepared to create tools for evaluating their neighborhood, and have the ability to identify problems or concerns that need improvement.

Essential Questions

  • What is special about my place?
  • Why should I care about our place?
  • How am I connected to my place?
  • What can I do to make my place safer and healthier for all citizens?
Why is soil a valuable resource?
165 minutes
4

5 / 6 / 7 / 8
Science

In this lesson, students learn about the value of soil as a natural resource (regulates water, sustains plant and animal life, filters pollutants, cycles nutrients and supports structures). Then explore the importance of having/maintaining healthy soil. They will explore different individuals’ descriptions of healthy soil. For example, to an agriculturalist, healthy soil means highly productive land that sustains or enhances productivity therefore enhancing profits; to a consumer it means plentiful, healthy and inexpensive food for present and future generations; to an environmentalist it means functioning at its potential in an ecosystem with respect to biodiversity, water quality, nutrient cycling, and biomass production.