- Review Process
- Take Action
- A project of
This resource introduces the "eco footprint" concept by involving students in a series of activities designed to develop a sense of personal responsibility for energy use. Environmental citizenship skills are also fostered through a student-led action project in which conservation goals are identified and implemented. The learning unit has been developed for a Grade 4/5 classroom with a theme relevant to both grade levels and a hands-on approach that involves students in the following activities:
This resource addresses science outcomes related to human impacts on ecosystems and social studies topics exploring the relationships between society and sustainability. The lessons provide a great platform for the development of community based environmental citizenship projects. Students could organize events such as a school recycling drive, an anti-litter campaign, a book swap or a school yard sale.
The resource also provides an excellent learning unit in preparation for Earth Day. A class could learn more about the science behind the recycling process by visiting a local waste management centre. The "Food Waste" lesson could be used as the basis of an Earth Day humanitarian project where students plant a community vegetable garden or collect items for the local food bank.
Teachers may wish to incorporate a footprint calculation activity by accessing this tool from Zero footprint Youth.
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||Good|
The student led investigations provide an opportunity for individual decision making without influence from others. Children will also gain a deeper understanding of the need to balance the negative impacts of resource use with the societal benefits that renewable resources provide.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
Guided questioning in combination with personal energy audits provides a format for students to develop an understanding that sustainability is the balance between social, economic and environmental needs.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The ecological footprint concept is far more complicated than evaluating energy use and waste production since many other factors that affect ecosystems must also be considered. However, this resource provides an age-appropriate introduction to the topic and engages students in dialogue that will support more complex discussions around this theme in later grades.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
Students have many opportunities to engage in meaningful, high impact activities that require introspection which will lead to positive changes in environmental behaviour.
|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
This resource effectively encourages student insight into consumer habits and associated impacts. One of the strengths of the learning experience is the development of a personal action plan with a communication strategy for informing their peers.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
The food waste lesson could be used to build empathy skills in students by extending the learning with an examination of the relationship between food waste in affluent society and food shortages in poorer areas.
|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|
Although the activities are not outdoor based a great deal of attention is given to the impacts of waste on the environment. To reinforce this connection between human activity and the earth a teacher could take students outside to do a litter assessment and clean-up of the school grounds.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
All of the lessons focus on waste production and resource use at the individual, home and school level. Thus, students are actively involved in conducting environmental assessments on a very local and meaningful level.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Students consider the current impacts of the resources they use and develop a plan which includes future goals for reducing consumption and waste. A teacher could add an interesting historical element by providing information about First Nations connections to the land and the resources it provides.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are investigating a complex real-world issue and identifying self-directed strategies for reducing their own environmental footprint.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This resource directly supports science and social studies outcomes surrounding the issue of sustainability. Some math learning could be incorporated into the waste audits by having students weigh trash and document findings.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Students actively participate in their own research and evaluation of waste production. An inquiry process is used to develop their individual action goals. The lessons also support recognition of personal consumption habits and students will likely be surprised by the amount of renewable and non-renewable resources they use.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Poor/Not considered|
Some students may struggle with the amount of writing required, but the resource is structured to support partner or group work.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The emphasis on personal decisions will be very meaningful for students and should lead to an active interest in expanding the learning beyond the parameters of the lesson. Many students will probably analyze their home energy assessment and include family in various conservation actions.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The lessons are easily adaptable to group work.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Very Good|
The final task in which students actively apply new learning to develop a personal conservation plan is complemented by an excellent rubric for evaluating student success.
|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.|
In the "What You Use and What You Throw Away" activity students research the resource requirements of specific products and in a "Mantle of the Expert" approach deliver this information to their peers. Pupils also raise awareness about lowering ecological footprints by developing media products for the school.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Collecting data at home and school ensures that students are exploring a conservation issue at the community level where positive changes can be easily implemented and have immediate environmental results.
|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|
All of the lessons support exploration and critical thinking. The action goals also support the development and delivery of student defined objectives.
|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.|