Hands-on Activity: Issues Awareness
Educational Standards :
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this activity, students should be able to:
Materials List (Return to Contents)
Each student should have:
For the class to share:
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
There are many environmental issues that are important to us. Do you think that an environmental issue that is important to us here may be important to someone who lives far away? Maybe or maybe not. What may concern us locally, such as recycling of cans and newspapers, may not be as important to someone in another country who is most worried about just having clean water to drink.
Sometimes we can look at a list of environmental issues, such as trash, recycling, water and air pollution, oil and gas consumption, acid rain, global warming, and ozone holes and place them into three categories: community, country and world. We examine the list and determine which issues concern our own community (like a neighborhood trash clean up), which issues concern our whole country (like high gas prices or acid rain), and those issues which might concern the entire world (like the effects of global warming). People in our community can be surveyed to find out what issues are the most important to them. Likewise, people in different areas of our country can be surveyed to determine what the issues are for our country. And lastly, people in other countries can be surveyed to determine what environmental issues concern the whole world.
Engineers must understand the many different environmental issues that exist in order to solve problems in the best way for the community, the country and the world. First, engineers must understand if an issue affects more than a single community. If it does have a broad community affect, then engineers may work to solve at least some of the issues present for other communities as well. Engineers will research and fully understand the environmental issue, talk to the many different people it affects — including in other countries — and design possible solutions that will benefit everyone involved.
Today, we are going to look at a list of environmental issues that may or may not seem important. We are going to think about whether the issues on our list affect our community, our country or the world. Then, we are going to ask people in our community whether they think the issues are a problem just for them, the country or the entire world in order to determine what people are concerned about. As engineers, we could use the information we gather to help us decide on solutions that will help everyone involved.
Procedure (Return to Contents)
Before the Lesson
With the Students
Attachments (Return to Contents)
Troubleshooting Tips (Return to Contents)
You may need to model how to tally the results.
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Review: Review the list of environmental issues. Add any new items that come to mind and combine any items that are similar. (Help students combine/expand their lists until they have about 10-15 issues.)
Activity Embedded Assessment
Prediction: Before the students begin their surveys, ask them to predict what they think will be the biggest environmental issue in each category (community, country or world). They should record this prediction on the Issues Awareness Question Sheet.
Graphing: Ask the students to make a bar graph of the results of the class tally.
Discussion Questions: Discuss answers as a class to the questions on the Issues Awareness Question Sheet.
Activity Extensions (Return to Contents)
Have students interview different environmentalists, community members, local government officials, etc. about what they believe are the biggest environmental issues facing the community, the country and the world. (Note: During election time, much of this information can be found in political fliers, on the internet and in newspapers.) Compare these results to the original class survey.
Activity Scaling (Return to Contents)
For 3rd grade, limit the list to about 5 choices and focus on only one area (the community, the country or the world). Also, consider a class tally/graph that is more hands-on (for example, placing pictures of people on a table/graph).
For 4th grade, do the activity as is.
For 5th grade, small student groups could be responsible for surveying larger sample sizes and/or different populations (students/peers, teachers/parents, local environmental engineers, local government officials, etc.) As a class, compare and contrast the different results from the different populations. Consider focusing on why there may be similarities between some groups and such differences between others. Also, students can change tally data into percents and create pie graphs for each area (community, country, and world).
References (Return to Contents)
Chandler, Pauline. Environmental Issues (Hand-On Minds-On Science Series): Intermediate, Westminster, California: Teacher Created Materials, Inc., 1994.
ContributorsAmy Kolenbrander, Jessica Todd, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Janet Yowell
Copyright© 2005 by Regents of the University of Colorado
The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0226322. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
Last Modified: March 11, 2014