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In this ESD classroom resource students work in small groups to create novel web diagrams that illustrate the array of environmental, social and economic impacts related to the consumption of everyday items such as cell phones, t-shirts or athletic shoes. The activity expands the biospheric impact concept of 'ecological footprint' (i.e. cutting rain forest for beef cattle grazing land) to include impacts of consumer product choices on people and societies (i.e. over consumption of hamburgers leading to obesity). Students develop ideas to and promote sustainable consumption and reduce their ecological footprint related to everyday items.
Each student group subsequently presents to the larger group its web diagrams and creative solutions for improving the manufacture and use of specific consumer products. Poignent reflection questions are then provided to stimulate thinking further about the sustainability of lifestyle, manufacturing and business practices.
Can be used in social studies, geography, business and environmental studies classes.
Involves small group work and bringing that understanding to share with full class. The orientation period involves introducing ideas from a case study to the full class and then breaking off into small groups.
The ecological footprint concept has a critical but limited focus. An integrated model of the ecological and social impact implications of manufacturing processes and consumption is also needed.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
Students are asked to take on the perspectives of economists, sociologists, materials and industrial process specialists, environmental and social impact analysts.
|Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).|
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
Positive and negative ecological, economic and social consequences are effectively addressed.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
|Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.|
Action opportunities are extensions.
|Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
|Action Skills||Poor/Not considered|
No skills are taught. The resource emphasizes analyzing processes and impacts and proposing alternatives.
|Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).|
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|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||Satisfactory|
The attention the days 1 and 2 activities gives to environmental impacts provides some sense of affinity for the natural world.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.|
The use of a hamburger (and very personal items later) to help illustrate the concept involved here does a good job of encouraging learning that is relevant to the lives of the learners.
|Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.|
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
Students are asked to consider existing manufacturing practices, consumption and their impacts as well as alternative manufacturing practices and products and better ways of using products whose impacts they are evaluating.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning||Very Good|
|Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.|
|Discovery Learning: |
Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.
|Values Clarification||Poor/Not considered|
Poor, not considered.
|Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
There is lots of analysis as well as web diagramming.
The resource teaches only to cognitive domains.
|Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.|
The simulation exercises satisfy the learning objectives which require lots of student analysis.
|Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
Satisfactory, students work in groups.
|Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
There are chart with substantive information and criteria to help students organize their thoughts.
|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.|
Satisfactory, incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc..
|Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The case study is called "Hamburger, Fries and Cola. What Did it Take to Produce This American Meal"?"
|Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.|
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
The students do select their own consumer items and are given freedom in the design of their webs. Students are not offered a choice about the medium in which they work.
|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.|