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Everyday Objects

Elementary, Middle

Description

Within this resource there are two learning activities based on everyday objects: cups (primary students) and sneakers (secondary students).  Within each learning activity there are a number of example lessons.

CUPS FOR PRIMARY STUDENTS:

Lessons 1-3 are geared toward students under the age of seven while lessons 4-6 are geared toward students in the range of seven to eleven years of age.

Lesson 1: The students will observe the similarities and differences of a group of cups. The next activity involves the students investigating by way of an experiment of their own design a chosen question from the observation activity.

Lesson 2: In this learning activity the students will tell the life story of a chosen cup with a poster.

Lesson 3: This lesson involves a role play for the students where they take on the responsibility for choosing a cup for a cafe.

Lesson 4: In this lesson the students work with sorting trees in order to sort the cups.

Lesson 5: The students will work to depict the life story of a ceramic cup and a paper cup.  Then the two life stories will be compared.  The lesson ends with a role play of choosing a cup for a cafe.

Lesson 6: The class will calculate the relative cost of disposable cups and reusable cups.

SNEAKERS FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS (ages 11-14):

Lesson 1: In this lesson the students will investigate the waterproofing or breathability of materials provided by the teacher in a test of their own design.

Lesson 2:The students investigate the manufacturing of a sneaker while looking at the wages of workers, materials needed and the cost.

Lesson 3: The students design a test in order to investigate the transformation of materials. They will apply their knowledge to sneakers in order to calculate the amount of non-biodegradable materials produced by the whole class in the last 5 years. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • inquiry skills such as observing, predicting, analyzing and interpreting data

Strengths

  • interesting and engaging activities for students
  • provides excellent background information, explanations and justifications for the teacher
  • all materials are provided for the lessons
  • suggestions for additional resources
  • illustrates problems that may occur and highlights ways to navigate difficulties

Weaknesses

  • a long resource with a lot of information that may overwhelm teachers
  • example lesson plans for the primary students are described as activities that teachers participated in rather than a formal lesson plan for a class or it is a description of what one teacher did as opposed to an actual lesson plan

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        • Linear relations can be identified and represented using expressions with variables and line graphs and can be used to form generalizations

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (3)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • General Guide to Taking Action
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Waste Management (5)

    • Composting
    • Cradle-to-Cradle
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Throughout the resource the need to present all aspects of the issue is reinforced for the teacher.  Suggestions are made as to how best present the materials so to allow the students to form their own opinions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

The activities in the lessons address very well all three dimensions of the issue.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

The final activity in the Sneaker lessons asks the students to list the criteria they might use now to buy sneakers.  This activity will illustrate any growth in their learning and habits.

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

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

The activities included in this resource do not focus on this criteria.

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

The activities included do not focus on this criteria.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The choice of the two objects, cups for the younger students and sneakers for the older students, makes the learning relevant and applicable to their lives.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

The discussion of the life stories of the objects puts a clear vision of the past, present and future into the activities within the resource.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Throughout the resource it is pointed out to the teacher that multiple answers may arise within the activities and how to approach the discussion to allow the students to form their own answer.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Very Good

The activities expressly allow students to ask questions and to design their own experiments in order to find the answers. Direction is also given to the teacher on how to best support the learners in these endeavors.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

The role play activities provide students with an opportunity to experience all aspects of the question in order to gain an appreciation of the fact that there is not always one right answer.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

There is a rubric of indicators provided in the resource to assess key elements of the inquiry-based science education and education for sustainable development. It is also suggested that teachers take note of changes in students values, attitudes and behaviors by comparing the criteria for buying sneakers from the beginning of the activities to the end. Otherwise, the area of assessment is left to the teacher to base upon their own evaluation curriculum.

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 Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The lessons offer the opportunity for students to role play a cafe setting where a decision is to be made about the type of cup to be used.

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 Very Good

Students are often given the opportunity to explore and develop their own questions to investigate.

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.