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The purpose of this unit is to help students develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to analyze the entire life cycle of electronics (from design, sourcing their materials, manufacturing, distribution, use and end-of-use). It will challenge students to consider the technology life cycle using a global perspective that encompasses humans and the rest of the natural world, and in so doing, help students come to understand that humans are in fact an integral part of nature, and not distinct from it.
Students will use puzzles to learn about the advantages and disadvantages arising from the use of resources such as plastic, bioplastics, copper and cardboard during the technology life cycle. The puzzle will also prompt them to consider why they should care about the issues they uncover. Students will use these puzzles, and a case study describing the sustainability initiatives of one electronics company, to conduct a hands-on analysis of the life cycle of a common object. After the analysis, students will be provided with at least two opportunities to suggest a positive change regarding an aspect of the object’s life cycle.
Lesson 1. Students complete a word wall and graphic organizer associated with a reading that helps them to learn about the resources used and consumed in the design, manufacturing, distribution and end-of-use stages in the life cycle of electronic products. Students then complete a puzzle activity to examine advantages and disadvantages associated with the life cycle of electronic products.
Lesson 2. Students complete a quiz regarding the life cycle of electronic products and then consider the "So What" of what they are learning - the implications both global and local of life cycle issues related to electronic products.
Lesson 3. In groups, students consider opportunities, drawbacks and challenges associated with the life cycle of a computer.
Lesson 4. Students watch a film online that deals with the life cycle of computers and then play a jeopardy-style game that tests their knowledge of topic/concepts covered in the unit thus far.
Lesson 5. Students read a case study about how Hewlett Packard is working to make its products more sustainable from a life cycle perspective. Students then analyze everyday objects such as shoes, staplers, toys, etc. with the intent of making life cycle observations related to the product.
Lesson 6. Students determine strengths and challenges associated with the life cycle of the products they have observed and communicate suggested improvements to the manufacturer.
Lesson 7. Students are encouraged to select an action project concerning energy use, recycling in their community, government regulation of resource use/disposal.
Summative Assessment Activity- Mind Map.
Note: Most, but not all of the materials needed to complete the activities are provided. The resource includes student worksheets, answer keys for certain activities, some ideas for assessment and direct links to suggestions and activities for use in teaching skills.
Within the kit itself:
It is suggested that the following skills be taught with the help of online tools provided by LSF:
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
The resource is presented from the perspective of the producer of electronic devices and so reflects priorities related to production but makes an effort to recognize the environmental, social and economic aspects of production. The resource describes what HP is doing regarding waste reduction and resource use.
While the resource does refer to the notion that the four R's are presented hierarchically, it does not apply that thinking to choices we make about electronic devices and our own lifestyle from a larger perspective. The resource starts from premise that our current use of electronic devices is good- we just need to promote a sustainable approach to this lifestyle.
Views from governmental, academic and environmental organizations that routinely monitor problems related to product cycles are not well represented in this resource.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Good||The resource explores many aspects of waste production and reduction. Students are taught considerations for cradle-to-cradle product assessment and apply them to objects found in their daily lives.|
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good||There are a good number of action project suggestions. The action projects flow well from the other activities in the kit; they are not extensions. There is a link to a free, very thorough 'how to take action' guide.|
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
In one of the early activities students clarify and express their feelings as to why they should care about the issue. In lessons that follow and as more information is revealed, students are referred back to this exercise to review or revise these thoughts. Students are also given a number of authentic tasks such as emailing, letter writing and interviewing by phone to communicate their values and ideas.
These activities would be more effective if the issue was being described from a broader range of perspectives.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Poor/Not considered||This is not a strength of the resource. It is suggested that one of the lessons be conducted outdoors (in the school yard) but no significant effort has been made to connect the learning in this lesson or others to 'out-of-doors' experience.|
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Lesson two does a good job in connecting students emotionally to the issue and lessons five, six and seven include activities that provide authentic experiences to help make the learning concrete.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Students gain a sense of the amount of electronic waste generated globally and progress towards using resources more efficiently in activities such as the Resource Puzzle and the video links provided.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
The resource does a very good job raising questions for which there are no single or simple answers. Students are not overtly directed to adopt a particular point of view. However with the limited number of views represented and a 'case study' in which HP serves as both the subject and the author, teachers must be aware of the subtle influence this creates.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
While the majority of the themes and topics presented in the resource addressed outcomes relating to social studies and technology, the activities did incorporate knowledge and skills from other subject areas such as language arts, science, communication and art.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Very Good|
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The activities address both the cognitive and affective domains.
There is a broad range of activities including:
No accomodations are suggested.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good||The direct analysis of daily objects (shoes, toys, etc.) encourages students to look closely at objects in their lives. Making suggestions to companies regarding current practices (Lesson 6) provides an opportunity for students to apply learning in an authentic manner.|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students frequently work through activities in small groups that require and reward cooperation. Instructions and support for teaching cooperative learning skills are not written into the activities themselves but can be accessed from an on-line toolbox for teachers.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
A summative assessment mind map actiivty is well developed, but no rubric is provided.
No opportunities for self-assessment are provided.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Satisfactory||The 'case study' presented to students in lesson five illustrates few case-study characteritics and might be more accurately described as an 'annual report'.|
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory||In lessons one to six, the scope of the students' locus of control is very narrow. In lesson seven, students could be provided with much more freedom with respect to the action project.|
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|