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
Pack a Waste Free Lunch

See Waste-Free Lunch Ideas & Activities 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 [Note:  the handoudt begins with a field trip checklist and reminders.  Page 3 gives specific information about the Huntsville Smart Lunch Activity]

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

See Packaging: What a Waste! Lesson Plan Here (PDF)

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
Pick 5 Surveys

These surveys for various age groups ask participants to choose which options are the most essential for a good quality of life. Educators are encouraged to adapt any of these surveys to the grade level that they teach.

Pick 5 Survey (adults)

First Grade Student Pick 5 Survey

Fourth Grade Student Pick 5 Survey

Sixth Grade Pick 5 Survey

Post-secondary

Activity PreK-2, 3-5, 9-12, Post-secondary Language Arts, Social Studies, 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
Plan of Action for Living Gently

Live Gently with the Earth's Resources Action Plan 

Get started now making choices that are kinder on the environment. This set of actions is tailored to adults, but we'd love to have teachers challenge their students to create an age-appropriate document similar to this that we can post here, too!  When you open this Live Gently Plan, save it to your computer, then fill it out and follow the instructions for helping contribute to a healthier planet and a healthier you! 

Want to help students (or others) follow-through on their actions to live differently? These well-established strategies offer ways to encourage students to take action and change their behaviors.

Activity, Other Post-secondary 21st Century Citizenship/Service, Reduction/Consumption, Living Well
Population Connection

See Population Connection Website 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.  

On this website you will see curriculum and professional development created to teach about human population trends and their effects on the environment and society.

Activity, Other 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 Population Riddle Here (PDF)

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 Lesson Plan Here.  (You may be required to create an account or log in to access the resource at PBS LearningMedia).

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.  Another lesson plan that complements this lesson/concept is the Life of a Hamburger Lesson Plan.

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

See Project Based Learning Explained (PPT) 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
Quality Teacher Tools e-Newsletters

Quality Teacher Tools, Spring 2016

Book/Reading 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary Science, Social Studies, 21st Century Reduction/Consumption, Living Well, Natural Resources/Life Cycles
Quiltmaker's Gift (by Brumbeau, Jeff, and Gail de Marcken)

See Quiltmaker's Gift Lesson Plan Here (PDF)  Check your library or store for the accompanying book

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. Great resource for use near holiday seasons and before celebrations.

  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
Recycling, Reusing & Reducing: What's the Difference? Powerpoint

See Recycling, Reusing & Reducing: What's the Difference?  (PPT) 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
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
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
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

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