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Reusable Bags (Secondary)

Secondary

Description

"Reusable Bags" is an ESD resource that emphasizes the importance of reusing in reducing waste and conserving resources, even more so than recycling.

Four introductory activities are included.

  • In activity A1, students explore the life cycle of a plastic bag by playing a game and answering reflection questions;
  • In activity A2, students conduct an experiment to learn about the biodegradation process and how much time it takes;
  • In activity A3, students conduct a reuse audit of their school to see what is being discarded in the garbage and what could be reused;
  • In activity A4, students watch a short mockumentary on the life of a plastic bag and then answer reflection questions.
The second part of the project involves that actual making of a reusable bag. This Bag-making Day is supported by a variety of activities:
  • Activity B1, involves a trivia game that can be played to highlight the importance of cloth bags as opposed to using plastic bags;
  • Activity B2 shows strong images of plastic bags and where they end up after humans use them. Reflection questions are included to help students clarify their values regarding this issue;
  • Activity B3, provides the necessary plans and outline to make a cloth bag;
  • Activity B4, features a class reflection to measure the impact that making the bags will have on the environment;
  • Activity B5, includes another reflection opportunity that draws on both the emotional and rational dimensions of reusing.
In Part C, the resource proposes various follow-up activities.
  • Activity C1: suggests a reflection journal that allows students to clarify their values regarding reusing;
  • Activity C2: proposes a two-week log of all the opportunities students have to receive a new plastic bag and to reuse a bag. For each opportunity, students are asked whether they accepted the plastic bag or if they used a reusable bag;
Finally, Part D of the resource proposes extension activities to support this topic.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource explicitly teaches the following skills:

  • how to develop a concept map;
  • how to make a bag;
  • how to conduct a reuse audit.

Strengths

  • The resource is extremely relevant to all students and their families. Plastic bags are used throughout our communities by all of us.
  • The tools included in the resource to help present the topic are engaging and effective (mockumentary, images, reflection questions, trivia questions, etc.).
  • There is a sufficient amount of background information for teachers to guide their students. There are also several web links included for extensions, or to further develop the project.
  • The resource is easy to understand and to use. In addition, it is flexible. The teacher has the choice of which introductory and follow-up activities to do based on their particular needs and restrictions.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Core
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
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        • Science 10-4( Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Living Systems
        • Science 14: Investigating Matter and Energy in Living Systems
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        • Textiles: Applying Creative Processes
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Physical features and natural resources influence demographic patterns and population distribution (adapted from Human Geography
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        • Environmental Science 12: Sustainable land use is essential to meet the needs of a growing population
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        • Advanced Environmental Science 120:Introduction to the human sphere
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        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Challenges in the Global Environment
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        • Environmental Studies 35: Northern Environmental Issues
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        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Citizenship in the Global Community
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
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        • What can I do?
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        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
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        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
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        • Life Science: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Geography 12: Resources and Environmental Sustainability

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
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 Good

All three dimensions are well presented in this resource. Although plastic bags are an environmental problem, the resource effectively addresses the many economic and social benefits to reusing, beyond the environmental reasons.

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 Good
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

An action opportunity is at the core of this project. The action experience proposed - making a reusable bag - can be done by all students and is relevant to all students. The resource also includes several other action opportunities that may be done as extensions.

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 Good

Throughout the resource, there are probing journal questions and choices that students must make and explain. Each of these questions or choices will give students an opportunity to articulate what is truly important to them.

Values Education:

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

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 Bag Issue activity (B2) uses strong imagery that will force students to see the issue from a different perspective, and thus develop an affinity with our natural world.

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 Very Good

The plastic bag issue is one found in all communities and all households. This project is extremely relevant not only to the students but to the students' families as well.

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 Good

The resource has a positive vision for the future and encourages students to discover various items that could easily be reused.

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 Good

Most of the activities have open-ended questions to which students must come up with their own answers and solutions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

In addition to addressing environmental science concepts, this resource also touches on citizenship and textiles (fashion design).

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 Satisfactory
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

The resource does not limit itself to the scientific aspect of the issue, but it also addresses the affective domain, especially with activity B2 and the short mockumentary in activity A4. The various activities incorporate variety of learning styles.

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 Very Good
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 Satisfactory

Some checklists and rubrics are provided to help teachers assess various parts of the project. However the main part of the project - making a bag - does not include any assessment suggestions or artifacts. Teachers must decide which aspect they want to assess (creation of the bag itself, the post-reflection questions, etc.).

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 Poor/Not considered
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 Poor/Not considered
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 can choose which type of bag (grocery bag, laptop sleeve, purse, etc.) to create, depending on their needs/interests. The fabric used is their choice as well, truly making the end result personal. In addition students can choose various aspects of the pre- and post-activities such as which areas to audit.

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.