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Lesson 5b

Page history last edited by Stephanie Knox 12 years, 8 months ago

Lesson 5b: Environmental Sustainability

In what ways do we help/hurt our environment?


To help students understand the impact they have on the environment. Using an online calculation tool, students

can estimate how many planets would be necessary if everyone on earth lived (consumed) the same amount of

resources as they do.


This is an excellent activity to compare and contrast with students in other classes. The areas of consumption can

be analyzed for cultural influences, and steps can be taken by students to reduce their ecological footprint.


Be sure that all students can access the internet for 15-20 minutes.

Use the www.myfootprint.org online calculator to calculate your own footprint. Familiarize yourself with

the calculator, the required information and the vocabulary.

One or two days before the lesson: as homework, ask students to obtain the necessary information for

the calculator.

List on the board the categories of consumption used in footprint calculation. (Oxygen, Food, Water,

Fiber, Energy, Infrastructure, Waste Disposal, Recreation)

Explore the possibility of integrating the data collection and interpretation with current math and science


Consider using the Facing the Future lessons “Watch where you step” and “Now hear this” on

www.facingthefuture.org. This website also has additional lesson plans and extensions concerning the



Assign each student to a computer and have them go to www.myfootprint.org. Have them follow the

steps to calculate their footprint.

Collect everyone!s final calculation and average the numbers to generate your class footprint. Decipher

the biggest areas of consumption. Circle them on the list of categories you wrote on the board.

Begin brainstorming ways to reduce consumption or the impact.

Post message to other Bridges classes with figures and ideas. Inquire about their results.

Now is the time to help students begin to brainstorm and organize some ideas for their digital stories! Save

all notes from class discussions! Consider your teaching goals and the values that students expressed in

Lesson 3: What do we care about?. Then brainstorm an idea list. How can these ideas and feelings be

represented using photography? Multi-media piece?


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