6

180 minutes
0

6 / 7 / 8
Reading or Language Arts

Students use their school and/or community as the context for learning about the Commons. They explore what defines a Commons, categorize spaces and things as examples, and walk their community to discover its visible and hidden Commons. Finally, students select one Commons to focus on, and create a “State of the Commons” report as a way of increasing school and/or community awareness about the Commons.

100 minutes
0

5 / 6 / 7 / 8
Science

In this lesson, students explore the ways in which humans use hydropower to fuel society. First, they learn how we harness hydropower to generate electricity, and then they build a hydropaddle to simulate a turbine. Next, they examine the pros and cons of hydropower by choosing an issue, conducting an investigative analysis to discover a story of real-life impact, and sharing that story with the class. Students also reflect upon why facts alone are often not enough to communicate the importance of sustainability issues; asking questions and doing research can often lead to surprising changes in perspective and new understandings.

What can a carbon footprint tell me about the impact my actions have on the environment?
150 minutes
0

6 / 7 / 8
Science

In this lesson, students learn about alternatives to fossil-fuel energy resources. They take on a challenge from the community’s “mayor” to serve on an Energy Task Force and research whether the most common alternative energy resources are appropriate for their community. Working in groups, they research five alternative energy sources and present their findings to the mayor. Then the groups evaluate the experience and the implications that each of these technologies has for both their local community and the larger global community.

90 minutes
0

6 / 7 / 8
Mathematics, Science

In this lesson, students learn that framing our energy habits and choices in terms of a “carbon footprint” can help us understand our individual impact on the global environment. They conduct a personal eco-audit to investigate how their own energy usage results in carbon being released into the atmosphere. After tracking their habits for one 24-hour period, students calculate their personal carbon footprint and then compare the results to averages for other countries and communities. As students frame their choices in a global context and come to understand the importance of making sustainable choices for a healthier future, they also look for ways to support each other and create exciting and innovative changes for the future.

What are the renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy available for use?
135 minutes
0

6 / 7 / 8
Science

In the Great Energy Debate, student teams learn about all of the energy sources, then are assigned to represent one specific energy source. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the merits of their source over the others.

Why do we extract fossil fuels and minerals from Earth’s crust when there are so many adverse consequences?
100 minutes
0

5 / 6
Civics and Government, Science

In this lesson, students learn that nuclear energy is powerful enough to send a robot on a scientific mission millions of kilometers (miles) away and to supply large amounts of electricity on Earth with minimal impacts on natural resources. They also learn that harnessing the power of the atom has consequences—some very serious and long-term consequences. Rather than telling students what to think about the issue, the lesson encourages students to research the topic and then debate their peers. The lesson concludes with a discussion designed to help students synthesize their thoughts on the topic.

50 minutes
0

6
Science

This lesson begins with students learning about natural resources that humans either dig (such as coal) or pump (such oil or natural gas) from the Earth’s crust. Students discuss why these resources are so valuable to us and why we tolerate the many adverse side effects of extracting and using them. They then discuss how renewable energy sources are being used as alternatives in many areas around the world. Next, students simulate a mining experience by digging into a chocolate chip cookie. The experience leads to a rich discussion about safety, fines, rewards, and reclamation.