Lesson 3: What Can You Do?
Terms and Vocabulary:
SUSTAINABILITY—Conditions under which humans and nature exist in harmony while meeting the needs of current and future generations.
ECOSYSTEM—The animals, plants, and resources in a particular area.
Create a plan to live in a more environmentally sustainable way.
1. Invite students to take part in a sustainability experiment in which they can observe the effect of their choices. Provide class time for students to play The Fish Game, available free at http://www.cloudinstitute.org/fish-game. This online game allows students to see what happens when they harvest fish from an imaginary lake. Instruct students to play several rounds of the game at home or at school, recording what happens when they try different strategies (for example, when they harvest fish every day versus every other day). For a tutorial, go to: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1499556962762 .
2. Talk about what students learned from the game. Ask: How is catching fewer fish each day actually better for the fisherman in the long run? Can you name other resources that are also at risk of being damaged by practices that are not sustainable?
Think and Discuss:
3. Discuss examples of sustainable resources, including fish, trees, soil, and minerals. Ask students to identify resources that are currently not sustainable (example: petroleum). Expand the discussion of sustainability to discuss renewable energy sources such as wind, sun (solar), and water (hydropower). Ask: What makes these resources renewable? How are these energy sources more sustainable than fossil fuels?
4. Discuss how small actions can lead to large positive impacts. Share examples (e.g., planting a seed can preserve a forest; reusing a bag reduces waste and saves energy), and ask students to come up with their own examples.
5. Explain that living sustainably means using resources wisely. Explain the concept of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"-People who live sustainably consume fewer resources; they reuse products instead of throwing them away; and they recycle products that can't be reused. Use the example of paper to illustrate this point. Paper can be reduced (by not printing out pages unnecessarily), reused (by writing on the back), and recycled (put in the recycling bin to be processed into new paper). Ask students to think of examples of products in their lives that they can reduce, reuse, and recycle.
6. Distribute the "What Can You Do?" student worksheet. Assign students to teams. Then guide each team as it develops a game, activity, or event to explain the concept of sustainable living.
7. Distribute "Story Outline Tool" student worksheet to each student. Ask students to develop a new and creative way to live more sustainably. Also make copies of the "Student Writing Contest" student worksheet and encourage students to use the online writing tool (available at www.scholastic.com/thelorax) to write an original story or essay about living sustainably. Students will need parental permission to use this tool available.
- Ollie's World: An Interactive Sustainability Resource: http://www.olliesworld.com/
- Energy Kids: Renewable Basics: http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=renewable_home-basics
- Kids Saving Energy: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/kids/
- EPA Recycle City: http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/