Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Provide resources to integrate environmental literacy and sustainability standards into existing curricula and coursework.
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All resources in Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Composing a Song With Others Using Google Flat

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This lesson plan uses Google Flat to teach compostion and collaboration. This site can be used to build a class song by everyone in the class contributing to the composition.  Each student can contribute to the song at the same time or can add notes at a later date.  The site is set up like a Google Doc. You can work with the person next to you or someone in a completely differerent location.

Material Type: Interactive, Lesson Plan

Does Media Matter? Infiltration Rates and Storage Capacities

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Students gain a basic understanding of the properties of media soil, sand, compost, gravel and how these materials affect the movement of water (infiltration/percolation) into and below the surface of the ground. They learn about permeability, porosity, particle size, surface area, capillary action, storage capacity and field capacity, and how the characteristics of the materials that compose the media layer ultimately affect the recharging of groundwater tables. They test each type of material, determining storage capacity, field capacity and infiltration rates, seeing the effect of media size on infiltration rate and storage. Then teams apply the testing results to the design their own material mixes that best meet the design requirements. To conclude, they talk about how engineers apply what students learned in the activity about the infiltration rates of different soil materials to the design of stormwater management systems.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Ryan Locicero, Maya Trotz, Krysta Porteus, Jennifer Butler, William Zeman, Brigith Soto, Water Awareness Research and Education (WARE) Research Experience for Teachers (RET),

Environment

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Through 10 lessons and more than 20 hands-on activities, students are introduced to the concept of an environment and the many interactions within it. As they learn about natural and human-made environments, as well as renewable and non-renewable natural resources, they see how people use our planet's natural resources and the many resulting environmental issues that exist in our world today. Topics include: solid waste disposal; the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle and compost; the causes and effects of water pollution and the importance of water treatment and clean-up methods; air pollution and air quality and the many engineering technologies to prevent it and clean it up; land use and community planning, seeing how decisions made by people have a long-term impact on our natural world; and renewable energy sources, seeing how solar, water and wind energy can be transformed into electricity. In the hands-on activities, students: create a yarn "web" to identify environmental interactions, which they tally and graph; use Moebius strips (loops of paper with a half twist) to demonstrate the environmental interconnectedness and explore natural cycles (water, oxygen/carbon dioxide, carbon, nitrogen); conduct an environmental issue survey to gather and graph data and use an opinion spectrum; brainstorm ways that they use and waste natural resources; use cookies to simulate the distribution of nonrenewable resources; collect, categorize, weigh and analyze classroom solid waste for a week; build and observe a model landfill; evaluate alternative product packaging; use models to investigate the process and consequences of water contamination; design and build water filters; observe and discuss a balloon model of an electrostatic precipitator; build particulate matter collectors; observe and discuss a model of a wet scrubber; dig into the newspaper's daily air quality index; act as community planning engineers to determine optimal structure placement in a community; investigate the thermal storage properties of sand, salt, water and paper to evaluate their suitability as passive solar thermal mass; design and create models for new waterwheels within time and material constraints; build model anemometers; and create publications to communicate what they have learned.

Material Type: Full Course

Authors: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,, See individual lessons and activities.

Engineers Speak for the Trees

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Students begin by reading Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" as an example of how overdevelopment can cause long-lasting environmental destruction. Students discuss how to balance the needs of the environment with the needs of human industry. Student teams are asked to serve as natural resource engineers, city planning engineers and civil engineers with the task to replant the nearly destroyed forest and develop a sustainable community design that can co-exist with the re-established natural area.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Denise W. Carlson, Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,, Jacob Crosby, Kate Beggs, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Remix

Going Out on a Limb-Plant Communities of Wisconsin Central Sand Plains

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Through a study of the Central Sand Plains region of Wisconsin, students will participate in learning experiences both in the classroom and outdoors, so that they can recognize and identify natural divisions and forest types within this region. Students will learn how the conditions essential for a native forest community can help us make decisions about what foods grow best in our region. They will write a research piece to compare and contrast the life cycles and structures of two plants, one forest and one garden plant) we have studied.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Authors: Sandy Benton, Pamela Bilderback, Kristin Grooms, Michele Crispell, Victoria Rydberg

Remix

Landforms of Adams County, WI

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Students will use hands-on models, maps, and the natural landscape to describe landforms in our area and and develop and understanding of the effects of water and wind on these landforms. Prior to these lessons, students will have had experiences with the use of "I Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me Of" protocols as well as field journaling. This is a unit for second grade landforms that culminates in a visit to Roche-A-Cri State Park.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Authors: Melissa Osborn, Sandy Benton, Deb Clark, Samantha Stormoen, Victoria Rydberg

Remix

Survival Novel Unit

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This unit is designed around providing student choice. There will be 5 novels for students to choose from: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Refugee by Alan Gratz, Zeros by Scott Westerfeld, The Martian by Andy Weir, and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Each novel focuses on the central theme of survival. Students will read and meet weekly for 8 weeks. Each week the novel groups will be given specific discussion questions and tasks that are aligned with Wisconsin ELA standards and Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy & Sustainability.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Tirzah Zipperer

Remix

Can I Eat This? Wild Edibles and Literacy

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Wild edible, medicinal and poisonous plants are an ideal way to connect students to the natural world just outside their door. In this unit, students will be able to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants using guide books and plotting them on the Siftr app. Using the collected edibles, students will then follow a procedural text to create food from their wild edibles. Students will then create recipes on their own based on a wild edible of their choice to create community cookbooks.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Amanda Bolan

Remix

Connect, Explore, Engage- Three Sisters Garden

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Students will read and discuss the legends of three inseparable sisters, corn, bean, and squash, who only grow and thrive together. This relates to the tradition of interplanting corn, beans, and squash in the same mounds, which is widespread among Native American farming societies. It is a sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet for generations. The students will also develop an understanding of symbiotic relationships found between organisms living in the same ecosystems.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Unit of Study

Authors: Sandy Benton, Beth Hoagland, Erika Suo