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Green Living: Identifying Green Businesses in Your Community

Authored by Dream in Green

135 minutes
Estimated time includes individual work done outside the classroom: 60 minutes; Class 1 session - 45 minutes; Class 2 session - 30 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Career and Technical Education (CTE): Architecture & Construction, Economics
Grade: 
6, 7, 8
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About

This lesson introduces students to “green businesses” and “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”. We break down the types of businesses and products to identify and categorize the service and ratings of how “green” they are. The lesson includes identifying potential greenwashing practices to attract consumers. Students are then encouraged to explore their neighborhood for local businesses and identify any green practices, and then collect and identify local green businesses, services, and products.

Key objectives for students
Define and identify green businesses and products
Provide various examples of local green businesses in their area
Identify impact of Corporate Social Responsibility practices and policies on large corporations
Identify and categorize product goods and services that are labeled eco-friendly
Secondary subjects
Environmental Education, Reading or Language Arts, Social Studies
Topics
Entrepreneurship, Business Model, Corporate Social Responsibility
Skills
Communication skills, Critical Thinking
Values
Curiosity, Global Leadership
Methods
Project-Based Learning, Real-World Application
Materials needed
Key vocabulary
Natural Products, organic, eco-friendly, greenwashing, Corporate Social Responsibility
Class 1
Time Exercise Description
5 minutes Introduction Show short video to give students an overview of sustainable businesses and corporate social responsibility
20 minutes Eliciting and Building Background Information Ask students what businesses or products they think would be considered “green” or eco-friendly. Create ongoing list from examples the class provides. Assign groups of students to look up and read through: ”Sustainable Business or Green Business?” Article
20 minutes Begin Research & Project-Based Activity Read and discuss as a class the article “A Brief History of Greenwashing” and discuss terms such as natural products, organic, and eco-friendly, looking at the similarities and differences of those terms. In groups of 3-5, students research businesses and
Independent Assignment (Homework)
Time Exercise Description
60 minutes Research & Project-Based Activity Students will come up with categories and a rating system they develop as they research and identify local green businesses, products, and services.
Class 2
Time Exercise Description
30 minutes Group Presentations Students present brochure created to class, explaining categories and rating system created.
Implementation

Class 1: What are sustainable businesses?

Introduction:

  • Ask students to brainstorm individually what characteristics a sustainable business would have and what they think corporate social responsibility means.
  • Ask students to volunteer some of their answers with the class.
  • Show the short video, Little Green Bags: True Business Sustainability, to give students an overview of sustainable businesses and Corporate Social Responsibility

Begin Research & Project-Based Activity:

  • Ask students to brainstorm individually what businesses or products they think would be considered “green” or eco-friendly.
  • Once the students have finished brainstorming, have students share their answers and create an ongoing list from the examples they provide.
  • Assign groups of students to look up and read through the Sustainable Business or Green Business? article and explore content on “What’s a Green Business?”. Tell students to find a definition to a green business and what characteristics they would have.
  • Ask each group to report back to class on what their definition of a green business is.
  • Facilitate class discussion using the following guiding questions:
    • What would you consider to be a green business?
    • Legally, what do promotional words such as natural, eco-friendly, or green have to mean?
    • What is greenwashing?
    • What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Independent Assignment (Homework):

  • Assign students into groups. Within their groups, students will decide what type of business they will focus on, choosing from Goods or Services and Small or Large. Students will come up with categories and a rating system as they research to identify local green businesses, products, and services.

Class 2: Presentations

  • Each group presents the brochure they created to the class, explaining the categories and rating system they created to identify local green businesses, products, and services.
Reflection Questions
  • What would you consider to be a green business?
  • Legally, what do promotional words such as natural, eco-friendly, or green have to mean?
  • What is greenwashing?
  • What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Assessment Opportunities

Sample rubric for brochures included

Standards assessment

Florida State Standards for Gifted K-12 grades

  • G.K12.1.1.3a - Manipulate data in order to determine contributions of the discipline to the community and world.
  • G.K12.1.3.2c - Use appropriate data gathering instruments needed for a research study.

Florida State Standards for Career and Technical Education Standards 6-8 grades

  • CTE-GEN.68.GENRL.26.15 - List occupations, job requirements, and job opportunities in green construction and architectural technology.
  • CTE-BUS.68.GENRL.09.02 - Create a new document from a template (e.g. newsletter, brochure, greeting card, letterhead, or flyer).

English Language Arts Florida Standards for 6th grade & 7th grade

  • LAFS.6.W.3.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • LAFS.7.W.3.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

Florida State Standards for Social Studies 8th Grade

  • SS.8.A.1.4 - Differentiate fact from opinion; utilize appropriate historical research and fiction/nonfiction support materials.
Technology

Students should have access to the internet and have access to the two online articles.