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Public Spaces Eco-Audit

Public Spaces Eco-Audit

Essential questions: 
How does our school compare to other schools around the world in terms of public spaces?
Why should we think about the public spaces at our school?
Why are the public spaces at our school great? Not so great?
What can we do collectively to improve the public spaces on campus?
Can students conducting a public spaces eco-audit truly help improve the school?
What are key strategies for implementing improvements to public spaces on campus?
How does an eco-audit create opportunities for leadership and citizenship?

This module contains the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-Action: School Public Spaces Eco-Audit: Exploring (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
This lesson is the first in a four-lesson module in which students conduct an audit of the public spaces at their school. It begins with a presentation that first reviews the benefits of green schools and then shares examples and benefits of public spaces. Next, students investigate and document the public spaces on their campus. They document details of those public spaces and begin formulating questions and thinking about ways to improve the spaces.

Lesson 2: Eco-Action: School Public Spaces Eco-Audit: Analyzing (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students use the data they gathered in Lesson 1 to note trends in the way public spaces are used on campus. They interview campus personnel to find out how the spaces are managed and to address gaps in their data. They also have an opportunity to survey visitors at a particular public space and/or to distribute a more general questionnaire to gather additional information about how people on campus feel about and use their public spaces. Then they analyze the data they’ve gathered, reflect on its importance, and begin considering ideas for improving the public spaces on campus.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: School Public Spaces 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 strategize as a class and then work in small groups to plan how to recommend and promote progressive changes to more effectively manage and improve the public spaces on campus.

Lesson 4: Eco-Action: Public Spaces Data Is Beautiful! (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students explore ways to communicate their recommendations for improvements to campus public spaces. 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.