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Clean Up the Environment: Information & Activities

Middle

Description

This resource has students examine the link between economic growth/prosperity and the degradation of the environment. Focusing on Oxfam Education's Millenium Development Goal 7 (to ensure environmental sustainability), the lessons link the impact of climate change, global warming and natural resource consumption to water availability, poor sanitation and declining health as reflected in the poor quality of life for one third of the world’s population now living in urban slums.

The package includes posters, case studies and lesson plans to help emphasize some of the more negative environmental and social impacts of modern technology and transportation.

Activity One: Living in Port au Prince Haiti

Students examine a poster showing a street in the Haitian capital and discuss the health effects of unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, garbage collection and unsuitable housing.  Students are asked to predict what people living in slums may be saying about their lives, and express their feelings by writing a poem.

Activity Two: What Happens to Our Rubbish?

Students are questioned about waste and garbage disposal at home and at school paying particular attention to recycling, re-using and reducing. They then collect all the packaging from their school lunches for a week and brainstorm ideas as to how this could be reduced. Students take pictures of the garbage at the end of the week and share them with school officials. The class is then encouraged to take action by installing recycling bins in the cafeteria and lunch rooms.

Activity Three: The Truth about Slums

Using websites provided in the resource students reflect on living conditions in urban slums around the world. After a true and false quiz they are asked to brainstorm how the problems of urban slums could be addressed.

Activity Four: Preferable Futures

Students collect information in newspapers, magazines and the internet concerning climate change and explore global warming in the context of sustainable development. Using their findings as a starting point, students generate a list of questions for further research. Groups share what they have learned with the class, focusing on both the present situation and the probable future if no action is taken. They record their thoughts on preferable and probable time lines.

Activity Five: Suggestions for Action

  • Performing an environmental audit at school
  • Starting a campaign to get the school to switch to a green energy supplier
  • Pick up litter around the school, weigh it, and set up a goal to reduce it
  • Create posters encouraging reducing, re-using and recycling
  • Create a class mural from recycled material, and include important points about creating a sustainable environment

A 2013 progress report on Millennium Goal #7 is included and provides students with additional case studies of water issues in Zimbabwe.  Activities link water accessibility to climate change and droughts.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Interpreting trends and patterns in data and statistics
  • Working cooperatively with others to develop a plan
  • Responding and reflecting on written and media text
  • Using a variety of sources to gather information

Strengths

  • Powerful case studies are relevant to the goals of the lesson, help build empathy and lay the foundation for global citizenship
  • Helps students develop perspectives about the role we have in helping to eliminate world poverty
  • Teaches different ways to collect information- readings, reflections, group discussions, incidental peer teaching, computer research
  • Has a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Promotes global awareness and planet stewardship
  • Promotes open-ended solutions
  • Demonstrates effectively the complexity that characterizes environmental issues
  • Links are relevant to the topic
  • Students generate their own research questions

Weaknesses

  • Action projects are suggestions only and not fully developed
  • Assessment tools need to be developed by the teacher
  • Website link for Activity 7.3 is not in student friendly language
  • No experiential learning opportunities
  • First Nations issues concerning access to clean drinking water, poor sanitation and housing issues are not addressed and there are no statistics given specifically related to Aboriginal people living in poverty
  • Written for an audience in the UK so teachers may have to clarify some references and language

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource is a good fit for environmental science and science courses that deal with water systems and quality of water, source reduction and global impacts of climate change.  Social studies and geography students can use this lesson package to further understand the negative impact that human activity can have on the quality of life and that environmental consequences are far-reaching, with both social and economic implications.

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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    • Grade 7
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      • Science
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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      • Science
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        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
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        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
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        • People & Places in the World: Global Quality of Life
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      • Science
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        • Water Systems on Earth
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    • Grade 6
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        • World Cultures: Environment and Culture
        • World Cultures: World Issues
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        • Interaction of Ecosystems
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        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
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        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
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        • Social Studies 6: Environment and Culture
        • Social Studies 6: World Issues
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        • Science 7: Environmental Action
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        • Social Studies 8 - A Changing Canadian Society: Advocacy and Action
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        • People and Environments: Canada's Interactions With The Global Communty
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      • Geography
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        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
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        • Life Systems: Interactions in the Environment
    • Grade 8
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      • Geography
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        • Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Life
        • Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability
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        • Earth and Space Systems: Water Systems
        • Structures and Mechanisms: Systems in Action
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        • World Issues
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        • Water Systems on Earth
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        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
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      • Science
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        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Economics (1)

    • Poverty Reduction
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Water Quality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students gather facts and information as provided and are asked to make their own conclusions. Statistical information, case studies, photographs and project updates are used to present this information.

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 resource emphasizes that society has some hard choices to make between economic growth, and environmental sustainability, and that the quality of life of the poor is impacted the most by these decisions.

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

The lessons demonstrate effectively the complexity that characterizes environmental issues

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

student actions are presented as suggestions only and are not full supported within the resource.

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

Although group activities do provide opportunities for these type of discussions, because of the powerful nature of the visuals and case studies, students may need additional time to reflect and clarify their own values.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

A definite strength of 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

Although no out of door experience is included, environmental sustainability and protecting the earths resources are always at the forefront.

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

Students are encouraged to examine their own role in reducing, reusing and recycling waste at home, school and in their communities.

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 "Preferable Futures" activity aptly addresses these concerns.

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

Students are encouraged to consider and develop their own thoughts and opinions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Outcomes in geography, social studies, citizenship education, science, art and language arts are addressed in the activities. 

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 Satisfactory

Although activities do address both the cognitive and affective domains effectively there are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners. There are a variety of activities in this learning package.

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor- there are no "hands-on" learning opportunities.

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

Although a quiz is provided for the reading about slums, the teacher will need to develop assessment tools

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 Very Good

Case studies are both powerful and relevant to the lesson. There are also case studies from different parts of the developing world- Haiti, Iran, and Zimbabwe.

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

Students can choose their own research questions for further study.

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.