Fifth Grade, Lesson 4: Community Action

Fifth Grade, Lesson 4: Community Action

Concept 

Decisions about how one uses the resources within a particular bioregion must consider the biodiversity and complexity of the ecosystem.

Essential Question 

How can communities make decisions that benefit both their families and the animals that live within them?

Step 1 -- Connect (The Concept to Prior Knowledge)

Step 1

Challenge

Students will examine their role in harming or helping the environment.

Materials

- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. Brainstorm a list of decisions that students make on a daily basis that affect the welfare of the environment. Categorize these as being either harmful or helpful.
  2. Trace local actions to distant consequences. Ask students how our decisions at home affect the people in El Salvador? How do their decisions affect us? Discuss our role as consumers and how that affects how resources are used around the world.

Step 2 -- Literature/Discuss (Give Expert Information Book; Ask Questions)

Challenge

Students will discover the source of all the resources used at their school.

Materials

- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. Brainstorm a list of things that students and faculty use while they are at school. Examples: paper, electricity, running water, pencils, markers, books, physical education equipment, lunch trays, etc.
  2. Students will conduct research to trace all of these materials to their original sources. Where does the water in your community come from?  What kind of fuel does your school use to make electricity?  What are your supplies made of?

Step 3A -- Practice (Math and Learning Centers)

Challenge

Students will choose a resource (water, paper, electricity) and do an environmental assessment of their school community.

Materials

Audit survey from:

- Redefining Progress

- Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator

Procedure

  1. In small groups or individually, students will observe and record how resources are used in their school community. Through interviews and direct observation, students will do an environmental assessment of their school. An audit of how resources are used might include the type of energy that heats the school, the amount of electricity used to light classrooms, the food that is used in the cafeteria, the materials used in the construction of the building... Audit surveys are available at Redefining Progress and the Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator. Examples of survey questions might include: Do students leave the water on while they clean up for lunch? Is there enough natural light in each classroom to leave the lights off? Do students and teachers recycle? Explore the cost vs. environmental benefits of using recycled paper.
  2. Results of resource use and/or conservation practices will be displayed on charts and diagrams.

Step 3B -- Create (Performance Tasks Related to Standard Indicators)

Challenge

In small groups or individually, students will create a plan to conserve a resource in their school community.

Materials

- Assessments from Step 3A

Procedure

Using the environmental assessment results, students will come up with a step-by-step proposal for resource conservation within their school community. Refer to EcoFootprint at Redefining Progress.

Step 4 -- Present (Edit Work/Students Present Projects)

 

Challenge

Students will have to present their information to a mixed audience in an effective way.

Procedure

Students will present their results and proposals to the rest of the school community in a way that they feel will be most effective in demonstrating the results of their findings.

The Rainforest Alliance curricula is unique in that it teaches language arts, math, science, social studies and the arts while addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics. Our multidisciplinary curricula present information on forests, biodiversity, local communities and sustainable practices. Lessons provide a global perspective on the importance of protecting the world's natural resources, locally and globally, while giving students opportunities for direct action.

To help teachers seamlessly integrate our resources into their lesson plans, we have correlated our kindergarten through 8th grade and climate curriculum guides to the Common Core State Standards for both English language arts and mathematics. Please feel free to use these correlations to help guide you through these lessons, as well to help you identify extensions and adaptations to advance your work.

The Rainforest Alliance can help your school district incorporate local standards and closely align our curricula with the educational mandates in your region.

In addition to the above standards, the education program seeks to advance alignment opportunities with the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; National Education for Sustainability (K-12) Student Learning Standards.

For any further inquiries, please contact us at education@ra.org.

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