All resources in Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

The Impact of Culture on Connecting to the Environment

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Developing environmentally literate citizens is the primary goal of environmental science.  One of the four components of environmental literacy is "connecting to nature".  Culture plays a key role in the way individuals connect to their environment.  Understanding culture also supports the development of a culturally responsive classroom and helps students develop an understanding of environmental justice, another key concept of environmental science.  This lesson helps students explore their own culture and compare and contrast it with other cultures.

Material Type: Interactive, Learning Task, Lesson Plan

Symbiosis in the Soil

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In this project, students will assume the role of citizen scientists—helping researchers answer questions about how dandelions acquire beneficial symbiotic microbes from different soil types. Students will collect and transplant dandelions, conduct experiments on dandelion growth and microbe growth, and then submit data to scientists at the Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The researchers will use these data to supplement DNA and RNA sequencing efforts. Students will receive results from the genetic analyses from a limited set of classrooms whose dandelions had previously been sequenced. By maintaining a connection with researchers, students will have an active, hands-on role in current science. Besides aiding scientists with research, students will also create their own inquiries.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Amy Lawson, Arthina Blanchard, Laura Cochrane

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration and Seasonal Change

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Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students become involved in citizen science and share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of the seasons through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events. Find migration maps, pictures, standards-based lesson plans, activities and information to help students make local observations and fit them into a global context.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

The Pollen Project

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The goals of the International OER Exchange Pilot project are to: facilitate the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) by teachers and students globally, track the development and use of the science learning materials and data collection, especially around climate change study, created in the project through OER Commons, and highlight the process and results through workshops and conference presentations.The broader purpose of the project is to support the international exchange of information and understanding through freely available resources among teachers and students, especially in the area of environmental science and climate change investigation.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Project Budburst

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Project Budburst is a national network of people monitoring plants as the seasons change. Data is collected in a consistent manner across the country so that scientists can learn more about the responsiveness of plant species to changes in climate locally, regionally, and nationally. The website includes extensive educational resources for implementing the project within various classroom and informal settings.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive

Authors: Chicago Botanic Garden, NEON

Absorption by Atmospheric Gases of Incoming and Outgoing Radiation

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In this activity, students are split into groups to examine a specific band of the electromagnetic spectrum and the absorption spectra of seven atmospheric gases in that wavelength range. Using a jigsaw approach, the students regroup to have an expert on each band to examine the full spectrum, identify and rank greenhouse gases, and estimate Earth's temperature from satellite data.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Sara Harris

Air: Fuel for Thought

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This lesson plan engages students in a real-life exploration of climate change as it is affected by greenhouse emissions from vehicles. The aim of this activity is for students to realize the impact of vehicle use in their family and to give students the opportunity to brainstorm viable alternatives to this use.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: PBS

Animation About the Greenhouse Effect

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This is a basic animation/simulation with background information about the greenhouse effect by DAMOCLES. The animation has several layers to it that allow users to drill into more detail about the natural greenhouse effect and different aspects of it, including volcanic aerosols and human impacts from burning fossil fuels.

Material Type: Simulation

As the Rotor Turns: Wind Power and You

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In this hands-on engineering activity, students will build a tabletop wind turbine. Students get acquainted with the basics of wind energy and power production by fabricating and testing various blade designs for table-top windmills constructed from one-inch PVC pipe and balsa wood (or recycled materials). The activity includes lots of good media and Web resources supporting the science content.

Material Type: Activity/Lab