The Way We Live

...and how our choices impact our environment

Educator Resources 

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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.
 



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Educator Resources Materials Available Grade Level Content Areas Topic
Secret Life of a Mobile Phone "Life-Pscycle-ology" Sustainability Animation

See the Life Pcycle-ology (2010) Video Here.

This six-minute Secret Life of Things video depicts the life cycle of a cell  phone…highlighting mining and transportation issues, as well as the short lifespan of a cell phone in the 21st century.  This is Your Life Cycle, a five-minute video, explains what life cycle assessments are and why they are important. Here's a handout (Life Psycle-ology Worksheet (PDF)) (Life Pscycle-ology Worksheet (DOC)) to use in conjunction with this video. Go to The Secret Life of Things for more great resources. Another resource, with additional information, can be found at The Secret Life of Cell Phones, produced by INFORM, Inc. (5 min.).

Videos 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Secret Life of Paper

See The Secret Life of Paper Video here.

This approximately 5 minute video, is produced by INFORM, Inc., an environmental organization based in New York.

INFORM, Inc says, "Where does paper go when you recycle it?  Why should you change your paper habits?  What can you do to reduce your paper footprint?  How do I recycle paper?"  

Videos 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Presentation

This nearly wordless pdf uses graphics to show the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, as identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. When the EPA uses broad economic systems to classify GHG emissions, they have found some surprising things. The four categories of Infrastructure, Use of Appliances and Devices, Personal Transportation, and Heating and Cooling all totaled contribute 58% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.  

The single largest contributor, however, is Materials-what we know of as the "stuff of life."  

Slides 1-19 explain with pictures these facts.  Slides 20-38 then explain--with graphics--why "stuff" generates so many GHG emissions. What you'll discover may surprise you!   

Videos, Other 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Math, Science Reduction/Consumption, Natural Resources/Life Cycles
Step by Step: Building a Better Future

See CEEE's Step by Step:  Building a Better Future PowerPoint here. (Please be patient. This file may take a few minutes to download.)

This 21-slide PowerPoint focuses on research that sheds light on Americans' views related to consumption and what they want for the future. It also includes eight examples of collective actions that are currently building a better future. 

Other 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
Story of Bottled Water Video

See The Story of Bottled Water video here.

This 8:04 minute video explains the concept of “manufactured demand” for a product, and outlines the differences between bottled and tap water. Instructor tip: A handout in the Buy, Use, Toss Activity, Analyzing the Message (lesson 10), helps students think critically about biases in messages, and is a worthwhile tool to adapt and use with this video.

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Science, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Story of Change Video

See The Story of Change Video Here.   Why citizens (not shoppers) hold the key to a better world.

This 6:29 minute video explains that big ideas, working together, and action help change to occur. It also asks viewers to think about what kind of change-maker they are, and provides a quiz to take on the subject. Many other resources are available at this site.

Videos 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies Citizenship/Service
Story of Electronics Video

See The Story of Electronics Video Here.

This 7:47 minute video explains ‘planned obsolescence’— design for replacement—and the costs.  Instructor tip: A handout in the Buy, Use, Toss Activity, Analyzing the Message (lesson 10), helps students think critically about biases in messages, and is a worthwhile tool to adapt and use with this video.

Videos 9-12 Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Stuff the Bus

See Stuff the Bus video here (5:30 minutes)

After learning how to help students protect the environment and live well during a teacher professional development class, Denver High School's Penny St. John taught her Language Arts students in grades 9-10 the curriculum and then challenged them to organize a community service project. The high school class set out to stuff a school bus with the unused and unneeded things from their own homes and other homes in the Denver, IA, community. Watch how their project unfolded, what they learned, and their community action!

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things (by Ryan, John C. and Alan Thein Durning)

Check your library or store for this resource.

See Book Description, Quiz and Curriculum Guide Here.

The book describes the life cycle of common products such as t-shirts, cola and French fries. The curriculum offers many activities.

   1997: Northwest Environment Watch, Seattle , WA 1-886093-04-0 (86 pgs., Nonfiction)

Activity, Book/Reading 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Waste/Pollution
Table Where Rich People Sit (by Baylor, Byrd)

Check your library or store for this resource.

A girl feels her family doesn't have enough money. As the family discusses this issue at their worn-out table, they determine there is much value in the non-tangibles of their lives--the sunsets, the stars, the wind. The girl decides her family may indeed be rich after all. 

    1994: Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster, NY , NY 0-689-82008-9  (Illustrated picture book )

Book/Reading 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
The Story of Stuff (Video & Project)

See The Story of Stuff Video & Project Here.

This website, The Story of Stuff Project, includes 20-minute on-line video that takes viewers through the extraction through sale, use and disposal of products. As its website homepage says, "The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between... environmental and social issues."

Discussion questions, group activities, and other information is also available at the site.

Story of Stuff Video Handout.

Activity, Videos 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Population, Other
This is Your Life Cycle Video

Click Here to See the Video, This is Your Life Cycle

Visit this link to learn about the 'Secret Life of Things', and to see fun and engaging resources that communicate sustainability, life-cycle thinking, and eco-design.  Created by Eco-Innovators.  

Videos, Other 6-8, 9-12 Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
To Squish or Not: Everyday Decisions that Make a Difference

See lesson plan here.

Using Phillip and Hanna Hoose's book, Hey, Little Ant, students are challenged to make decisions that reduce waste.

Activity PreK-2, 3-5 Arts, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Population, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Virtual Landfill Field Trip Video

See video here

From collecting the garbage in the neighborhoods of Alachua County, FL, to taking the garbage to the transfer station, and finally dumping the garbage in the landfill, watch what happens to the 5 pounds of garbage each person throws away each day on average.

Videos 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Visualizing a Plentitude Economy

See video here.

This less-than-5-minute video gives viewers a vision for a new economy that would be good for people and good for the environment.

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Population, Other
Wartville Wizard (by Madden, Don)

Check your library or store for this resource.

Wartville is buried in trash. Then an old man realizes he can clean up Wartville, but perpetrators of litter (i.e., “slobs”) pay a price. They get angry with the old man-turned-wizard, but eventually compromise so that Wartville is litter-free. Google for accompanying activities.

   1986: Aladdin Paperbacks 0-7857-0925-8 (Illustrated picture book )

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Waste/Pollution
Waste in the Cafeteria

See lesson/unit plan here

By conducting investigations, students will determine specific amounts of waste generated by students and/or school policies regarding the use of the cafeteria.

Activity 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Waste Reduction

See article here.

This short webpage article explains why waste reduction is preferred over recycling and reusing.

Book/Reading 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Science Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Waste Reduction Vocabulary

See here for more information.

Here are nine vocabulary words high school students should know.

Other 9-12 Language Arts, Science Reduction/Consumption
We love "stuff"

We love "stuff" graphics can be used in the classroom to acknowledge that the environmental issues around our "stuff" are complex. Many of us love to consume, yet we also recognize it's hard on the environment. This graphic can be printed off and placed on a bulletin board. Then students can cross out "stuff" and handwrite in what they really love. Other graphics can be used when you do community engagement projects, write e-newsletters for parents, or in other creative ways! Consider using one of these graphics especially around the winter holidays to help remind your students and anyone who walks into your school what matters most.

Other PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well

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