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This activity-based, ESD resource integrates sustainability issues into the teaching of engineering, technology and product design concepts. Students are asked to describe and evaluate the impacts of engineering on the environment and to reflect on their own feelings about these effects. Further, students suggest alternatives and solutions to the economic, social, and environmental impacts associated with the design, use, and disposal of everyday products. Two of the eight lessons focus on alternatives to carbon-based production.
Each lesson includes learning objectives, outcomes, activity descriptions and worksheets/ graphic organizers. Activities can be delivered as stand-alone lessons or collectively as a self-contained unit. Click on the links below to access the individual lesson plans.
This practical activity, which encourages discussion and value clarification, helps students identify their current beliefs about engineering and its importance in the world. Belief cards are included.
An eco-design tool is used to evaluate and compare everyday products against agreed upon sustainability criteria. Students examine information and group/ class discussions follow.
Students examine how engineers and designers balance different specifications when developing new products, including sustainability specifications. Groups prioritize criteria cards that examine key issues like the use of local materials, fair trade, and energy minimization.
Students participate in an activity which asks them to explore, at a basic level, the social, economic and environmental impacts of the production, use, and disposal of everyday products. After examining these products, with regards to buying, using, and disposing, students discuss and debate the sustainability issues associated with each part of their life cycle.
The purpose of this lesson is to increase the knowledge and understanding of different types of renewable energy sources available in different parts of the world. Students consider the variety of energy options available to four communities on fictitious Moja Island and select the most appropriate technology to meet their needs. Renewable energy cards, a map and important information about the needs of each community on the island are included.
Students are asked to consider using the 6Rs (reduce, reuse, refuse, rethink, repair, recycle) as a means of re-thinking the way in which products are manufactured and used so as to avoid running out of material and energy sources in the future. Students develop definitions for the 6Rs and identify products which illustrate the 6R's in action.
As a follow up to Lesson Three, students are asked to describe and evaluate the environmental impacts of an engineered product throughout the life cycle. They then are asked to suggest innovative ways in which these impacts could be reduced at each stage (source materials, production, distribution, marketing , use, and disposal). It is suggested that a CD pack be purchased to guide the lesson.
Students look at how the manufacture, use, and disposal of a product have different impacts on different groups of people- sometimes positive, sometimes negative. Students learn that their own product choices have far-reaching effects socially, economically, politically and environmentally.
This resource could be used to to address outcomes or supplement core materials used in technological education or design courses. Some activities could also be used in a science classroom studying electricity and renewable energy options.
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|
Students participate in a variety of activities to gather information on the sustainability of everyday products. They are encouraged to reflect on their own values, and make their own conclusions. Belief cards support a wide range of perspectives.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The resource promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students and encourages creative, open-ended solutions.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The resource does not include an action experience.
|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||Very Good|
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
Case studies build empathy for people in parts of the developing world who struggle with getting access to electricity.
|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 the resource has no out-of-doors experience, students do examine the environmental impacts of everyday products and in the production of energy using non-renewable sources.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Students examine how their own product choices have global impacts socially, environmentally, and socially.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Present day products are evaluated and analyzed, and students are asked to play a role in making recommendations for possible solutions to problems related to sustainability.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This is primarily a technology education resource, but there opportunities for addressing outcomes in science, geography, social studies and language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Both affective and cognitive domains are addressed. Appropriate grouping should help address issues of differences in intelligences. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
No tools are provided for formative or summative assessment. Teachers must develop their own strategies.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|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||Satisfactory|
Students do get opportunities to choose some elements of the program.
|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.|