EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Animal Issues | Human Issues | Environmental Issues

Materials are identified according to grade ranges as follows:

P – for Pre-K
E – for Elementary
M – for Middle School
H – for High School

The following are resources you may find helpful when integrating Humane Education into your classroom and curriculum.

Environmental Issues

1. Endangered Species & Conservation
2. Pollution & Recycling
3. Global Warming
4. Energy
5. Factory Farms
6. Human Population
7. Environmental Choices
8. General Environmental

Please Note: HEART does not sell or profit from the sale of the following resources. We offer this list as a service to educators looking for resources to enhance their instruction. Click on the underlined link for information on where you can purchase each item.

1. Endangered Species & Conservation

Activity and Project Suggestions

M/H Life without Trees (RiverDeep Current – September 14, 2000) – Increasing development destroys nature’s “vacuum cleaners.” Written for students. Questions and resources provided.

E/M The Rainforest Connection – a wonderful site where students joined scientists on their journey through one of the world’s rainforests…plus more! Even if there isn’t a trip for the current year, there is much to do with the past entries. Be sure to check out the teacher tips on how to use the Rainforest Connection.

E Rainforest Heroes – Video, lessons and action toolkit for protecting the rainforest and indigenous societies.

E/M Tropical Biology in Costa Rica – a join in journey with assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Rebecca Kapley and a group of college students as they embarked on an educational journey deep into the heart of tropical rainforests. Still good for exploring after the fact.

M/H Visit the Wetlands (RiverDeep Current – July 23, 2001) – Your students take a virtual field trip to explore the wetlands and hear the debate over wetlands conservation.

Collaboratives

E/M Down the Drain-for grades 4-8, but any age can participate. This Internet-based collaborative project allows students to share information about water usage with other students from around the country and the world. Based on data collected by their household members and their classmates, students will determine the average amount of water used by one person in a day. They will compare this to the average amount of water used per person per day in other parts of the world.

H The Global Water Sampling Project: An Investigation of Water Quality – From March 27 until June 2, 2006 (new dates each year). This is an ongoing well established program. Students will team up around the globe to test fresh water. Join in this collaborative project, comparing the water quality of your local river, stream, lake or pond with other fresh water sources around the world.

M Take a Dip. The Water in Our Lives-Join students around the world in this Environmental Collaborative Project and team up to test the quality and research the cultural significance of fresh water. From September 12 – December 2, 2005 (new dates each year). Well-established, ongoing project. You will have the opportunity to compare the water quality of your local river, stream, lake or pond and the stories and practices dealing with water in your community with other fresh water sources around the world. The focus of the project is to assess water quality based on physical characteristics and chemical substances.

Lesson Plans for Offline Use

E/M Rainforest Action Network -Â Lesson plans, climate action curriculum, action plans and youth-focused blog

E The Groundwater Foundation On-line Catalog – Download lessons, materials and publications that make learning tabout groundwater fun and understandable for kids and adults alike. Also offers materials for independent student use.

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2. Pollution & Recycling

Activity and Project Suggestions

M/H Cutting through the Smog (RiverDeep Current – August 13, 2001) – NASA satellite images reveal an Earth where air pollution knows no boundaries. Discussion questions provided.

M Recycle City! – Written for student use, there’s lots to do here – people and places to visit and plenty of ways to explore how the city’s residents recycle, reduce, and reuse waste. From the EPA.

H The NYC Department of Transportation Air Quality Awareness Program – includes information and games on air quality in NYC.

M Rotten Truth (About Garbage) – takes an in-depth look at the complex issues surrounding municipal solid waste. This on-line exhibition is organized into four major sections: What Is Garbage, There’s No “Away,” Nature Recycles, and Making Choices. Written for direct use by students.

Lesson Plans for Offline Use

M/H Air Pollution: What’s the Solution – An outstanding unit from CIESE, with a chance for students to publish their findings on the web. Grades 6-12. Through this project, students will focus on outdoor air pollution, what it is, what factors contribute to its formation and the health effects from breathing polluted air. Students will use data and animated maps from the Internet and monitor for the presence of air pollution. Students are challenged to think critically and creatively about the problems surrounding air pollution.

M/H Education World – A list of resources on environmental issues including air pollution, energy depletion, overflowing landfills, rain forest destruction, vanishing species and water pollution.

E/M/H The Livable Streets Campaign – offers several classroom lessons dealing with air pollution on NYC streets.

E America Recycles – The NYS DEC has developed a 36-page booklet which contains America Recycles Day lessons and activities for you to share with your students. Download the file “Recycling Lessons and Activities for Students” and make as many copies as you need for your students. ***Teachers: You will note that under “Vocabulary” animals are defined as a natural resource. Please take the time to consider whether fostering compassion for animals is compatible with defining them as objects to be used. You may choose to modify the definition of a natural resource for your class.

Local Only Programs

Materials for the Arts – provides over 2,500 arts programs with the things they need to prosper and endure. They gather materials from companies that no longer need them, and distribute them to artists and educators that do. In the process, they remove hundreds of tons from the New York City sanitation system. Materials for the Arts help artists realize their visions, provide students with a richer educational experience, and furnish businesses with a simple and efficient way to enhance the cultural life of their city.

The Materials Resource Center – located in Holbrook, NY (Long Island). This Center obtains scrap and surplus materials from industry, and makes them available to arts, educational and nonprofit organizations for pennies a pound.

Performers – School Programs

P/E Bash the Trash – A witty, educational and interactive program of music, recycling, science and trash! Using instruments built from found objects, the three Bash the Trash performers demonstrate the science of sound (acoustics) with weird instruments such as the Bendjo, Singing Bowl, Strawmbone and the Balloon Flute. They perform throughout the Northeast to grades K-6.

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3. Global Warming

Activity and Project Suggestions

M/H A World On Thin Ice (RiverDeep Current – July 2, 2002) – We hear much about it these days, but just how serious is the Greenhouse Effect and global warming? How will it affect the Earth and our lives? Take the polar bear. This news story for students points out the alarming and potentially life-threatening dangers occurring with the polar bear on the Arctic ice caps. With their habitat lethally threatened, scientists and researchers are starting to see polar bear populations already dwindling. Your students will find much for discussion, as well as math exercises with graphs, data, and percentages.

H Climate Crisis – The website for “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s feature film documentary on the Earth’s climate crisis. The website contains a number of suggestions for taking action to help stop global warming.

H BBC Climate Challenge – An interactive online computer game that allows students to take on the role as leader of the EU to see if they can make policies that will meet the needs of their country while meeting their carbon reduction goals.

H Global Warming Interactive – Interactive online computer game allowing users to take lead of a nation and see the effects its various policies may have on climate change.

Lesson Plans for Offline Use

M/H PBS – A standards-linked lesson on global warming designed for social studies, debate, language arts, government and current events classes. Also on this page find PBS programs related to global warming.

E/M Infinite Power – Students will familiarize themselves with topics in renewable energy by engaging in an introductory class discussion, reading and discussing recommended text and the Reading Passage, and giving presentations of assigned topics.

H The World Wildlife Fund – The high school-level curriculum on climate change is divided into fifteen lessons which include handouts, a glossary of terms and additional resources for ongoing discussions and research.

WebQuests and Other Interactive Lessons Online

M/H A quiz from National Geographic on global warming.

M/H Test Your Knowledge of Global Warming – The Audubon Society’s brief quiz and fact sheets on global warming.

Video/DVD/Flash

E/M/H National Geographic – The environmental video section of National Geographic has online shorts on energy, environmental threats, habitats, oceans, how to go green and much more.

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4. Energy

Activity and Project Suggestions

Lesson Plans for Offline Use

H The Great Energy Debate – National Geographic’s lesson on energy asks the students to consider what kinds of energy they use in their day to day life and then investigate renewable energies. Using that knowledge the students take mock roles in a multi-sided debate that captures contemporary energy challenges

E/M/H The U.S. Department of Energy – offers 63 creative lesson plans, projects and other activities for grades K-12 on energy-related topics. Incorporate them into your classroom. Find lessons on everything from wind energy to solar energy to energy efficiency and conservation.

M/H The Discovery Channel – A lesson plan exploring energy and cars. Includes adaptations for younger students, discussion questions, extensions, vocabulary, standards and more.

E The Alliant Energy Kids – provides interactive and engaging activities, lessons and games that explore safety and energy conservation.

WebQuests and Other Interactive Lessons Online

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5. Factory Farms

H Farms as Factories: Issues in Animal Welfare, Environmental Protection, and Public Health – by the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE). Written for high-school students and their teachers, Farms as Factories explores the problems associated with modern methods of animal agriculture. Complete with recent statistics and color photographs, this 32-page, full color booklet also contains a wealth of critical-thinking questions, writing assignments, citizenship projects, and meaningful activities. To order from NAHEE, not available online.

M/H Pollution Locator: Animal Waste – Let your students compare your state to others.

Video/DVD/Flash

M/H Meatrix – Animated flash films about factory farming.

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6. Population Growth

Real Time Data and Join-In Journeys

M/H Population Growth – for grades 6-12. This series of activities explores the mathematical and environmental aspects of population growth. How fast is the population growing? Has it always grown at this rate? Are the populations of different countries growing differently? How can we predict the population in the future? How will a growing population impact the environment? Using archived census and demographic data as well as up-to-the-minute population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, students will learn how to model population growth and study the implications of a changing population

WebQuests and Other Interactive Lessons Online

H Global Population Trends and The World at Six Billion. Scroll down on the page to find these lessons, which include activities, resources.

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7. Environmental Choices

E Kid power environmental choices – A webquest for a sustainable future, with students taking on the roles of manufacturer, home owner, teacher and kid consumer.

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8. General Environmental

Activity and Project Suggestions

Earth Education: A New Beginning – by Steve van Matre. A comprehensive manual for designing your own earth education programs.

E/M/H Center for Ecoliteracy – Focuses on developing students’ awareness of natural processes with a focus on sustainable, local agriculture and edible schoolyards. Â Developed Food Inc discussion guide for teachers.

EPA portal – environmental education resources.

North American Association for Environmental Education- Resource search, including lesson plans and websites. There is an independent review of many of the resources included.

Articles

GlobalIssues.org – examines global issues that affect everyone and aims to show how most issues are interrelated. The issues discussed range from trade, poverty and globalization to geopolitics, the environment, biodiversity and animal conservation.

Books/Periodicals/Posters

P/E/M Dawn Publications – dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on earth by publishing quality nature-awareness picture books. Their mission is to assist parents and educators in opening the hearts and minds of children to the transforming influence of nature. They believe that it is not enough to “instruct” the mind without also “inspiring” the heart. Teacher guides are also available for many titles.

Green Teacher – a magazine by and for educators to enhance environmental and global education across the curriculum at all grade levels.

M/H Pledge poster – 18″X24″. I pledge allegiance to the earth and all the life which it supports. One planet in our care, irreplaceable, with sustenance and respect.

Collaboratives

P/E/M/H Telecollaborate! – Extensive list of links to project listings, and the opportunity to submit your own environmental collaborative project.

E/M Movie in the Making – In this project students will report on a book (make it an environmental one!) by describing how they would turn that book into a motion picture. After reading and studying the main components of their novel (character, plot, conflict, climax and denouement), students will use their imaginations to explain how they would cast and direct the movie versions. This project also provides enrichment activities wherein the students will access archived materials such as the Academy Awards Data Base, movie posters, and movie reviews.

Search for new, current collaboratives at the Global SchoolNet’s Internet Projects Registry, or create your own and register! All grade levels.

Lesson Plans for Offline Use

M How Big Is Your Back Yard? – An Ethics-based Approach to Environmental Decision Making – This middle and high school level environmental ethics curriculum prepares educators and students to recognize the ethical issues that surround some of the world’s toughest environmental problems.

E/M/H Orion Magazine: Educator’s Section – Website with essential questions, link to texts on pedagogy and curriculum, and nature literacy.

Video/DVD/Flash

The Power of One/ Mother/ Why Are We Here? Public Service Announcements – Inspiring public service campaigns to help improve the global environment.

P/E/M/H The Video Project – has an extensive list of environmental education videos for all grade levels.

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