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How Did I Get Here?

Theme: 
Transportation
Grade: 
7, 8
Essential questions
How do my personal transportation habits impact the environment?
What choices could I make to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted as a result of my transportation habits each week?
What barriers exist that keep people from biking or walking, using public transit, or carpooling to and from work and school?
What could city officials do to encourage people to walk and cycle more?
How could government officials promote the use of alternative vehicles?
How can we transform our thinking so that instead of being in a problem-solving mode, we can create new and exciting opportunities for our future?

This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-101: Fuel My Ride! Estimated time needed (Two 50-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students investigate the fossil fuel industry, including why our society is so addicted to their use and how our habits have had some very serious and long-term consequences. They also explore modern alternatives to fossil fuels and then debate their peers on the merits of fossil fuels versus the most viable alternatives. The lesson concludes with a discussion designed to help students synthesize their thoughts on the topic.

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Beat the Traffic! Estimated time needed (Two 50-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students identify the major causes of traffic jams in their city and discuss how traffic affects air quality. Students observe the traffic in their city and identify some of the problems. Them they write a report about the problem of traffic and propose possible solutions.

Lesson 3: Eco-Activity: Personal Transportation Eco-Audit (Estimated time needed: 15 minutes of one class session; 7 days working at home to collect data; another 50-minute session to process results and analyze data)
In this lesson, students conduct an eco-audit to see how much carbon dioxide their personal transportation habits contribute to the atmosphere during a period of one week. They analyze the results, put those results into perspective, and then plan simple actions they can take to reduce their personal impact on the environment.

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