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
Needs and Wants

See website here.

Excellent background information on “needs and wants,” and activities, some of which is free.

Other PreK-2 Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
No Impact Man

See activity here.

This curriculum, as well as the No Impact Man documentary and book, help students explore the effects their everyday behavior has on the environment, their health, and their well-being. It will also challenges students to think about how the systems in society influence lifestyle choices in ways that often are not good for environment. Finally, it guides students to take action both individually and with others to bring about positive change.

Activity 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
Old Red Rocking Chair (by Root, Phyllis)

Check your library or store for this resource.

An old red rocking chair gets tossed on the curb because it has no value to the owner.  But, in an interesting turn of events, after about six other owners find good uses for the chair, it comes back to the original owner as a prized possession.

   1992: Arcade Publishing 978-1559700634 (32 pgs. Nonfiction)

Book/Reading PreK-2 Science, Social Studies Living Well, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Oral History

See activity here.

By interviewing people at least 45 years older than themselves, students discover history of Americans' lifestyles and consumption patterns.

Activity, Other 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Population, Other
Pack a Waste Free Lunch

See activity here.

This links you to an Environmental Protection Agency page of information about waste-free lunches, including how to order a free poster on waste-free lunches, a letter to send to parents, and tips for a waste-free lunch. Click here for information about an Iowa county conservation board's smart lunch program.

Activity PreK-2, 3-5 Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption
Packaging: What a Waste

See activity here.

Students are introduced to the functions of packaging, and its environmental impacts. They then compare the cost per ounce of a cereal and make a correlation between cost per ounce and amount of packaging.

Activity PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption
Paper Sack Folder

See activity "How to Make a Paper Sack Folder" here.

This links you to instructions to create a folder using a paper grocery sack. 

 

Activity 3-5, 6-8 Arts Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Population Connection

See activity here.

For nearly forty years, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) has been educating young people with its award-winning Population Education program and advocating for progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth's resources.

Activity PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Population
Population Riddle

See riddle here.

This is a short math riddle that helps students understand the difference between one million and one billion.

Other 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies Population
Product Life Cycle

See Product Life Cycle activity here.  (You may be required to create an account or log in to access the resource, but it is well worth the effort).

Students examine products to learn their "life stories," acquiring critical thinking skills as they learn where materials come from.  This PBS Learning Media activity also uses two, approx. two-minute videos, Electronic Gadgets and Orange Juice. You may need to create a free account at PBS to use these resources, but they are well-worth your time. Other videos that support this learning include Secret Life of a Mobile Phone "Life-Psycycle-ology" Sustainability Animation and The Secret Life of Things website. This handout, Tell a Product's Life Story, is adapted from the handout created by PBS and focuses on extraction and production. 

Activity 3-5 Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles
Project Based Learning

See PowerPoint here.

›Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. This ppt discusses what project-based learning looks like and gives examples.
Other PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Arts, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Other
Quiltmaker's Gift (by Brumbeau, Jeff, and Gail de Marcken)

Check your library or store for this book. See activity here. 

The lesson revolves around the book, which is about a quiltmaker and a rich king. The quiltmaker inspires the king to give up all of his possessions and, during the process, the king discovers joy in giving. Students are encouraged to explore these ideas for themselves. Click here for a ppt with third-grade level vocabulary words from The Quiltmaker's Gift. Click here for a vocabulary test. Click here for a youtube video reading of The Quiltmaker's Gift.

  2000: Scholastic Press NY, NY 0-439-30910-7  (Illustrated picture book )

Activity, Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Language Arts, Math, Science Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
Recycled Life (by Mader)

Check your library or store for this resource.

This documentary depicts the people who live in the largest landfill in Central America —it's a story of the human spirit, and of the toxic wastes in this place some call home. For more information, go to recycledlifedoc.com.

   2006: ALLGlad, Inc. (38 min., DVD)

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Social Studies Global Studies
Recycling, Reusing & Reducing: What's the Difference? Powerpoint

See PowerPoint here.

This 15-slide PowerPoint gives definitions of three waste management strategies.

Other 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Recycling: A True Book (by Donald, Rhonda Lucas)
Check your library or store for this resource.
 
This 47-page nonfiction addresses waste, composting, recycling, and household hazardous waste.
 
 2001: Children's Press, NY, NY 0-516-22193-0 (47 pgs., Nonfiction)
Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5 Language Arts, Science Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Hierarchy's Been Turned On Its Head

See activity here.

Students explore various waste management strategies and learn that reduction is the most preferred method.

Activity 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Recycle/Reuse/Compost
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout

See poem here.

This poem about garbage was written in 1974 by Shel Silverstein.

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5 Language Arts, Science Waste/Pollution
Secret Life of a Mobile Phone "Life-Pscycle-ology" Sustainability Animation

See 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 (pdf) (Word) to use in conjunction with this video. Go to The Secret Life of Things for more great resources. Click here to view another cell-phone video, 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 video here.

These approximately 5 minute videos, available for viewing on You Tube, are produced by INFORM, an environmental organization based in New York.

Videos 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Science, Social Studies Reduction/Consumption, Global Studies, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Secret Place (by Bunting, Eve)

Check your library or store for this resource.

The young narrator discovers wildness among a city’s concrete. He shares his find with a few grateful adults and, at the same time, introduces readers to wildlife he’s discovered. As his enthusiasm for wildness grows, he wants to tell others but is cautioned to “be careful,” as some may want to take it and change it.

  1996: Clarion Books 0-39564-367-8 (40 pgs Illustrated Picture book)

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Natural Resources/Life Cycles

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