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In this comprehensive, interdisciplinary guide, middle school students learn how their consumer choices affect the environment and how they can make a difference by buying differently. This 300-page toolkit, presented in a 3-ring binder, includes an Educator's Guide with background information for educators on exploring consumer patterns, impacts on the natural world, and opportunities and innovations; fourteen hands-on activities that range from analyzing pop song lyrics for perspectives on needs versus wants to acting out product life cycles and calculating ecological footprints; an annotated list of resources for more information; and more. The toolkit also includes a Community Action Guide, with 25 consumer-related project ideas and some step-by-step advice on organizing group projects to make a difference in the community, and a colorful 2-sided Your Stuff, Your Planet poster.
Activity 1: Buy-O-Diversity. Students solve mysteries, take a quiz that connects consumerism to biodiversity and go on a simulated shopping hunt.
Activity 2: Notable Quotables. Students read and write quotes that reflect attitudes and values about consumer habits.
Activity 3: Back in the Day. Students analyze graphs and conduct community interviews to assess how consumer patterns have changed over time.
Activity 4: Money Matters. Students survey people's beliefs and behaviours concerning consumer habits and then make a personal commitment about their own consumer behaviours.
Activity 5: A Material World. Students analyze the lyrics to popular songs and then create a song or poem that describes the needs and wants of young people.
Activity 6: Analyze an Ad. Students create a formula to calculate our daily exposure to advertising, consider the nature of those ads and then create their own ads that link consumer choices to biodiversity.
Activity 7: Measuring Your Footprint. Students calculate and compare ecological footprints and consider ways to reduce one's footprint.
Activity 8: Saving Planet X. Students explore the relationship between resources and consumption by completing a simulated forum on an imaginary planet.
Activity 9: Investigating Green Claims. Students read a fictional story about green claims and then examine claims in their own local stores.
Activity 10: Aisle Hopping. Students play a simulation game to consider how consumer's purchasing decisions change through education.
Activity 11: A Day in the Life. Students complete a skit and then further examine aspects of the lifecycle of conventionally and alternatively produced cotton.
Activity 12: Trash to Treasure. Students audit and sort classroom trash.
Activity 13: Car Quest. Students assess the environmental impacts of a fleet of cars and research greener transportation choices.
Activity 14: Polar Bears and Petroleum. Students complete posters that examine the relationship between energy consumption and biodiversity.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory||The resource is explicit in its intent to help students explore consumer habits in the hope that they will adopt sustainable consumer choices. Emphasis is on overconsumption and how we can change it. Limited attention is given to the widely popular notion that a vibrant economy depends on rubust consumer behaviour.|
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The resource considers many aspects of consumer behaviour although it does not give attention to how to maintain a healthy economy or offer an alternative view of what a healthy economy might look like.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Good||The resource considers many aspects of consumerism. Students are encouraged to think critically about issues and the complex nature of the sustainability challenges that we face.|
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Authentic opportunities to promote community change are generally presented as a supplement to the activities in the form of a Community Action Guide at the end of the resource but activities are not embedded within the fourteen lessons (with the exception of some extension activities).
|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
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Some attention is given to equity of resource use between nations/cultures.
|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|
There are no out-of-door activities that encourage an affinity with non-humans/earth.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Good||Students explore their own and others' consumer habits and the impacts those behaviours have for individuals and ecosystems.|
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
Students examine changes in past to present consumer habits and explore ways to encourage sustainable consumer behaviours for the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Satisfactory||Students are generally steered toward the notion that our consumer habits have become unsustainable and need to change. The resource does not recognize that often there are no easy answers around consumption (for example, a decision to consume organic products often implies a willingness to purchase a product that is not produced locally).|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Satisfactory||Activities are generally scripted and highly structured.|
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Good||There are a range of activities and approaches to instruction in the resource.|
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered||Students complete surveys and sort trash although specific activities do not direct them toward authentic action.|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Satisfactory||Students work in groups. No direct group instruction is provided.|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
|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.|
The supplementary Community Action Guide provides opportunities for students to teach others through community action projects.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Poor/Not considered||No case studies are provided.|
|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||Poor/Not considered||Very few opportunities are provided for students to extend their learning.|
|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.|