The Way We Live

...and how our choices impact our environment

Educator Resources 

Go back to The Way We Live site >

Find educational resources easily. The full list of resources is available in alphabetical order by title. You may also search by grade levels, subjects and topics. To search for multiple grades, subjects or topics, press and hold the CTRL key (Windows) or Command key (Mac) on your keyboard then click to select the materials you need. Many of the educational resources can be downloaded from the website.
 



Search by:

Educator Resources Materials Available Grade Level Content Areas Topic
Gospel According to Larry (by Tashjian, Janet )

Check your library or store for this resource.

A 227-page, first-person narrative from a 17-year boy's perspective. "Larry" wants to make a positive difference in the world, and he uses tools such as the web to accomplish his mission.

  2001: Henry Holt & Co. (227 pgs. Fiction )

Book/Reading 6-8, 9-12 Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption
Gratitude letter

See here for more information about writing a Gratitude Letter.

Show your thanks, and teach your students how to show and share their gratitude.  Being grateful enhances well-being and deepens one’s sense of meaning. Authors Martin Seligman and Tal Ben-Sharar suggest writing to people who have positively impacted your life.

See Gratitude Letter as a Gift,  in the UNI Reclaim Your Holidays Program for more information and ideas.

Other 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, 21st Century Other
Great Kapok Tree (by Cherry, Lynne)

Check your library or store for this resource.

This wonderfully illustrated and highly recommended book depicts the lushness of the Amazon rainforest, and why it needs to be protected.

 1990: Gulliver Green (Illustrated picture book)

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Language Arts, Science Natural Resources/Life Cycles
Great Places: Turning from Stuff to Happiness (by Roberts, David: Grist magazine)

See the article by David Roberts:  Great Places:  Turning from Stuff to Happiness

Grist writer David Roberts talks about how, once basic needs are met, happiness comes from social connections, personal autonomy and recognition.  Article includes links to other articles about happiness research.

Book/Reading 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Living Well
Green Ninja — Footprint Renovation

See  Green Ninja - Footpring Renovation Video here.

This light, humorous, and inspiring 2:49 minute video shows how to transform a home to reduce ecological footprint.

Videos 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Science, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Gumfounded (by Garr, Sherry B.)

Check your library or store for this resource.

While walking to school, Tia steps on a piece of gum. That leads to a whole mess of other problems, as the gum keeps picking up other litter. Tia is left walking with a mountain of litter attached to her shoes.

   2004: Sherry B. Garr Seattle, WA 0-9759866-0-0 (Illustrated picture book)

Book/Reading PreK-2 Arts, Language Arts, Science Waste/Pollution
Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

Check your library or store for this resource.

192 page book by Tal Ben-Shahar with three parts: What is Happiness, Happiness Applied, and Meditations on Happiness.

Book/Reading 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, 21st Century Living Well
Happiness video

by Public Broadcasting Systems

See Loops Scoops Happiness Store Video Here

This two-minute online video gets kids to think about happiness as it relates to stuff. The moral of the video:  "One small thing you love can make you happier than a ton of stuff."  Appropriate for 1st-3rd grades, and possibly other ages.

Videos PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Waste/Pollution
Hey, Get Off Our Train (by Burningham, John)

Check your library or store for this resource.

This is a story about the perils facing animals around the world. from pollution to habitat destruction.

   1994: Dragonfly Books NY, NY 0-517-88204-3 (Illustrated picture book)

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Science Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Population
Hey, Little Ant (by Hoose, Phillip M. and Hannah Hoose)

Check your library or store for this resource.

For complementary activities and a lesson plan, See To Squish or Not:  Everyday Decisions That Make a Difference Lesson Plan Here.

Readers look at life from an insect's point of view in this story. A boy talks with an ant he wants to squish, and the ant pleads for his life, saying "You are very much like me." To learn one way to use this in the classroom, check out the activity, To Squish or Not.

   1998: Tricycle Press 1883672546 (Illustrated picture book, 28 pgs.)

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8 Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service
Home (by Baker, Jeannie)

Check your library or store for this resource.

This wordless book begins with a mother and father holding their newborn in an urban environment with only a trace of the natural world. As the baby grows, so too does the greening of the neighborhood, turning a drab city street into a living, thriving home. 

  2004:Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers  0-06-623935-4.

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Natural Resources/Life Cycles
How to Streamline Your Life and Still Enjoy the Heck Out of It (by Fisk, Umbra: Grist magazine)

See here to view Ask Umbra column, How to Streamline Your Life and Still Enjoy the Heck Out of It.

This talented columnist, also known as "Ask Umbra," writes a short manifesto (10 tips) encouraging Americans to take back their identities, asking "Ever wonder when We the People stopped being called citizens and started being called consumers?"  Her tips range from "prioritizing" and "voting," to "enjoying what you have."

Book/Reading 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming (by Cherry, Lynne and Gary Braasch)

Check your library or store for this resource.

In this 66-page nonfiction book is the science behind headlines about climate change, and what actions youth can take.

   2008: Dawn Publications 1584691034 (66 pgs., Nonfiction)

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science Citizenship/Service
Hungry Planet What the World Eats (by Menzel, Peter and Faith D'Aluisio )

Check your library or store for this resource.

This 288-page nonfiction book, featuring 30 families from 24 countries around the world, presents a photographic study of the foods they eat in one week.

   2005: Material World Books and Ten Speed Press (288 pgs., Nonfiction )

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies
If America Were a Village (by Smith, David J. )

Check your library or store for this resource.

This book describes what the US would look like if its population of 306 million were represented as a village of 100. Fascinating statistics such as 5 people (1 person represents 3 million people) have more than half of US wealth, US owns more cars than any other county, is 50% larger than in 1950, and 82 of 100 Americans consider themselves Christian. Great with Food for Thought activity.

   2009: Kids Can Press, Tonawanda , NY 978-1-55453-344-2 (Illustrated picture book)

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8 Social Studies Global Studies
If the World Were a Village (by Smith, David J. )

Check your library or store for this resource.

If 6 billion people on the planet were a village of 100, what would it look like? The book explains whom lives in the village, where they live, how fast the village is growing, what languages are spoken, what religions are practiced and more. Great with Food for Thought lesson plan.

  2002: Kids Can Press, Tonawanda , NY 1-55074-779-7 (Illustrated picture book )

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8 Social Studies Global Studies
Into Darfur: A Young American’s Journey

See Into Darfur:  A Young American's Journey video here.

A 5-minute video about an 18-year-old’s journey to Darfur and his experience. Because it’s done on with a camera video, it has an authentic quality to it, and may be a video to inspire young people to contribute to social change.

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Global Studies
Introduction to Consumption and Waste: Round the Room Activities

See here for Introduction to Consumption and Waste:  Round the Room Lesson Plan (PDF)

By doing short tasks at five stations around the room, students are introduced to consumption and waste issues.  The activities within this lesson plan may also be used as standalone activities integrated into other lesson plans.  

Station 1:  Trash used in the last 2 days

Station 2:  Determine examples of waste reduction

Station 3:  Products/materials consumed today

Station 4:  Chain of production/life cycle

Station 5:  How advertising influences consumption

Activity 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Other
Iowa Department of Natural Resources Safe, Smart Solutions

Visit the DNR Iowa Website for information on Household Hazardous Materials

This website addresses household hazardous wastes, and includes educational materials, definitions of hazardous waste, and a variety of other hazardous waste information.

Other 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Is Recycling Enough?

See Is Recycling Enough? Lesson Plan Here (PDF)

Students review definitions of recycling and reuse, then learn about waste reduction. They then collect data and create graphs to visually see the changes in waste generation and recovery rates from 1960 to 2000.

Another activity to help show students the importance of the production cycle is the Life of a Hamburger Activity.  

Activity 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Math, Science Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost

Pages