School Transportation Eco-Audit

11, 12
Essential questions
How does our school compare to other schools around the world in terms of our carbon footprint related to transportation?
Why should we think about transportation at our school?
What can we do collectively to address transportation issues on our campus?
Can students’ conducting a transportation eco-audit truly help improve the school?
What key strategies can we use to implement sustainable solutions to the transportation issues related to our campus?
How does an eco-audit create opportunities for leadership and citizenship?

This module contains the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-Action: School Transportation Eco-Audit: Exploring (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
This lesson is the first in a four-lesson module in which students take a close look at the commute of students and staff to and from school. The lesson begins with a presentation that first reviews the benefits of green schools and then discusses some of the effects transportation has on our society and the environment. Next, students analyze their personal commute to and from school and work together to compile data on the class. They extrapolate from this data to estimate travel data for the entire school community in order to determine the average commute to and from campus. Finally, they reflect on the impact of that travel in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.

Lesson 2: Eco-Action: School Transportation Eco-Audit: Analyzing (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods plus time outside of class to conduct interviews and surveys)
In this lesson, students improve the accuracy of the estimates they prepared in Lesson 1 by surveying the school community. They also do research and interview campus personnel to better understand transportation management issues related to campus. Then they analyze the data they’ve gathered, reflect on its importance, and begin considering ideas for improving transportation to and from campus.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: School Transportation Eco-Audit: Wrapping Up (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students synthesize their data and ideas from Lesson 2. They share their results with the class and evaluate the effectiveness of the eco-audit. Students then strategize as a class and in small groups to plan how to implement progressive changes to more effectively manage transportation to and from school and reduce the CO2 emissions related to that transportation.

Lesson 4: Eco-Action: Transportation Data Is Beautiful! (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students explore ways to communicate their recommendations for improving campus transportation. They learn strategies for presenting data in interesting, relevant, and visually appealing ways, such as through infographics. Then students take the information they collected and analyzed in Lessons 1–3 and create a plan for communicating their recommendations to campus administrators, parents, students, and others. Finally, students execute their plans by writing letters to administrators, creating a showcase presentation of their findings, writing and performing public service announcements, and/or implementing concrete student action plans.

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