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
Renewable v.s. Nonrenewable Resources

See Renewable v.s. Nonrenewable Resources lesson plan here

Using popcorn to represent a resource, this activity objective is to  help students evaluate data related to population growth, along with problems and solutions to resource availability and begin to understand that some ecosystem resources are finite.

Activity 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Natural Resources/Life Cycles
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out

See The Poem Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out 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 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
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
Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet (by Ryan, John C.)

Check your library or store for this resource.

This 98-page nonfiction offers seven good-news things that can help improve the environment. Ceiling fans, bicycles and condoms are three examples. A positive, uplifting environmental book.

   1999: Sierra Club Books, San Francisco , CA 1-57805-038-3 (98 pgs., Nonfiction)

Book/Reading 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science, Social Studies Living Well, Population
Social Change Exercises

See the Website Turning the Tide here.

This website contains exercises and handouts that aim to increase understanding on how change comes about, and how to develop well-crafted plans to agitate for change.  

Many of the exercises are for 9th grade and above, but some could be adapted for younger audiences to help them understand that they have the power to make change happen.

Activity 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Social Studies Citizenship/Service
Someday a Tree (by Bunting, Eve )

Check your library or store for this resource.

Alice and her family prize an old oak tree in an open field near her home, but the tree starts to die because hazardous materials were dumped under it. The family and others in the community try to save it to no avail, but Alice thinks of a way that the tree can live on in another way. Great book for illustrating the dangers of chemicals. 

    1993: Clarion Books, NY 0-395-61309-04 (Illustrated picture book )

Book/Reading PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Science, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Waste/Pollution
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
Steven Jobs Commencement Speech at Stanford University in 2005

See Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech here.

Jobs talks about finding what you love, and the importance of listening to your heart.

Videos 9-12 Language Arts, 21st Century 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
Taking care of our earth (100% Educational Video)

Check your library or store for this resource.

Students tour a landfill, and learn about the importance of conserving natural resources. They also discover how reducing, reusing and recycling benefit the environment and how air and water pollution can harm it.   17 Minutes DVD

1999:100% Educational Videos, El Dorado Hills, CA 1-58541-292-9

Videos 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science, Social Studies Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Natural Resources/Life Cycles, Population, Recycle/Reuse/Compost, Waste/Pollution
Textile Tic-Tac-Toe

See Textile Tic-Tac-Toe Lesson Plan Here (PDF)

Students learn about the textile reuse and recycling market in the United States. The lesson plan involves in-depth research as well as vocabulary study.  

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will be able to describe at least three ways to recycle textiles
  • Students will be able to expain the life cycle of textiles from birth to death
  • Students will be able to analyze the impact textiles have on the environment
  • Students will be able to define new vocabularly related to textiles and consumerism
  • Students will be able to create new products related to textile recycling
Activity 6-8, 9-12 Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies Recycle/Reuse/Compost
The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Hierarchy's Been Turned On Its Head

See The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Hierarchy's Been Turned on it's Head Lesson Plan Here.

By exploring and learning about topics and the preparing a presentation, students will understand the difference between recycling, reusing and reducing waste. Students will also learn about waste generated and discarded in the United States, and will discover that Iowa's legislators identified waste reduction as the preferred waste reduction strategy.

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

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