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Understanding Sustainable Living

Middle, Secondary

Description

Understanding Sustainable Living is part of the World's Largest Lesson, which brings the Global Goals to children all over the world and unites them in taking action. In this sixty minute lesson, students will:

  • listen to the song "Electric Car" by They Might be Giants and use the song to make their definition of the word sustainability
  • discuss if they think their life is sustainable and how they can adjust their lifestyles. This should lead students to the idea of Ecological Footprints
  • read the story of a student in another country and use the online tool to calculate that student's Ecological Footprint
  • make up a collective bar graph (or table) of the student's Ecological Footprint and summarize their character's lifestyle
  • discuss differences in their character's lifestyles and how that affects their Ecological Footprint and what lifestyle changes could we make to have the biggest change in our Ecological Footprint

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to explain the concept of sustainability, evaluate various lifestyle choices for sustainability using an online ecological footprint calculator to real-life data, and identify actions students can take to make their lifestyle more sustainable. 

This resource is available in both English and French. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches students how to analyze one's ecological footprint using either an online tool or a written quiz. 

Strengths

  • This resource has a detailed lesson plan for teachers with clear goals
  • All materials needed by the students are available and ready to print in the appendix
  • This resource is available in both official languages
  • Alternatives and differentiation ideas are provided for all activities based on students level
  • Background information on the topic is provided for teachers

Weaknesses

  • Evaluation tools are not provided in this resource
  • This resource does not provide students a chance to place into action their ideas of sustainability

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Since this resource is only one lesson, it would be a great addition to any lesson discussing human impact and ecological footprints. 

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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        • Knowledge and Employability: Statistics and Probability
        • Statistics and probability
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        • Knowlege And Employability: Statistics and Probability
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        • Data from the results of an experiment can be used to predict the theoretical probability of an event and to compare and interpret
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      • Science
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        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
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        • Science 6: Electricity
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        • Social Studies 6: World Issues
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        • Mathematics 6: Statistics and Probability
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        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Data from the results of an experiment can be used to predict the theoretical probability of an event and to compare and interpret
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Energy (1)

    • Alternative Energy

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Throughout this lesson, students get to form their own opinions and take informed positions based on the information they will be provided. 

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

While analyzing the ecological footprints in the story pack, students understand how the social, economical and environmental dimensions are connected. 

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 Satisfactory

Even though this resource does not provide explicit activities for working towards change, it gives students a good idea of how they could reduce their ecological footprint. It would be easy for the teacher to extend this activity by asking students to choose one action to reduce their footprint. 

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

Students opinions are at the base of this resource. Students are asked to share their opinions in discussion throughout this lesson. 

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

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 Good

Throughout this lesson, students will discover how our actions effect our environment and therefore foster an appreciate for the 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 Satisfactory

In this lesson, students will need to analyze the ecological footprint of fictional characters. Through this, they will most likely think about their own footprint and therefore it will be relevant to them. 

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
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

With the number of discussions embedded in this lesson, students are not steered toward one right answer.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

It is clear that some Science outcomes, in terms of ecological footprints, and some Math outcomes, with some data collection and analysis, are covered in this resource. 

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 Very Good

Ideas for differentiation and alternative activities are provided for each learning activity. 

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 Satisfactory

Students have the chance to use an online tool to calculate one's ecological footprint.

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

Students will need to work in groups. 

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 Poor/Not considered

No assessment tools are provided in this resource.

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

Students will give a small presentation on their fictional character's ecological footprint. 

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 Good
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.