Michael D. Lepech

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K-12 Curricula and Resources Available for Download

Curriculum Title: “What is Your Environmental Impact?”
Standard Focus: Environmental Science & the Scientific Method

Teacher Ecology

Age: 6th, 7th, and 8th (Can be modified for a younger or older audience)

Puropose: To get students interested in examining their impacts on the environment and introduce a scientific approach to analyzing this.

Author: Stephanie Ruzicka, 2009 IISME Fellow and 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher, Fremont Unified School District

Main Objectives:

  1. Students will evaluate their individual impact on the environment (Ecological Footprint).
  2. Students will develop a basic understanding of sustainability research and life cycle assessment tools to improve the environment (PowerPoint lecture).
  3. Students will actively participate in scenarios that show how product choices can affect the environment (Matching Game).
  4. Students will purpose an action plan for their school or community focusing on environmental awareness (Group Project).

The materials needed include: LCD projector and computer, 4 x 6 inch index cards, Internet access in a computer lab setting or for students at home, materials for designing presentation posters (paper, markers, rulers, colored pencils, or crayons).

Day 1: Introductory Activity - Determination of an Individual Ecological Footprint (fifty minutes)

Download Document: ecological.footprint.doc (53KB)
  1. For this activity, if it is going to be done in the classroom, it would be best to go to a computer lab.  All students would need to access this site: http://earthday.net/footprint/flash.html.  It could also entirely be assigned as homework.
  2. The ecological footprint worksheet (see attachment) can be used as a whole assignment for students to go through as they navigate the website or the teacher can pick and chose topics to have the students complete as they work through their individual footprint calculation. If photocopying is a concern, a class set could be made for students to record their work on binder paper or in a notebook.
  3. Topic 6 (think about it) and topic 7 (family extension) can be assigned as homework.
  4. Once students complete their individual ecological footprint compare the data the students got in a class discussion.  The following day, discuss as a class the topic 6 questions.
Day 2:  PowerPoint Lecture & Guided Notes  - Present information about sustainability and life cycle assessment (fifty minutes)

Download Document: lca.note.sheet.doc (40KB)
Download Document: lca.presentation.ppt (4.5MB)
  1. Pass out to students guided notes handout (see attachment).
  2. In a lecture format, show the students the PowerPoint notes.
  3. Take time for class discussion during examples and open ended topics.
Day 3 and 4:  Life Cycle Assessment Matching Game (thirty minutes each day)

Download Document: matching.game.doc (3.8MB)
Download Document: game.data.sheet.doc (37KB)
  1. Refer to attachment (Matching Game) for teacher set up directions and also student directions.
  2. Students should each complete a data sheet (see attachment) during play.  The data sheet could be shown as an overhead for students to copy down or they could each have their own copy.
  3. Collect data sheets at end of play on the second day.
Day 5, 6, and 7:  (Group Project 2 - 3 students)

Download Document: lca.group.project.doc (83KB)
Download Document: lca.group.project.grading.sheet (64KB)

Students will evaluate data gathered using a life cycle assessment approach to product choices.  Student teams will pick an issue either at school or in the community to focus on.  They may, for example, choose to focus on water bottle consumption and purchase during gym class.  The group will pick two product choices around that topic (plastic water bottles or a large container with paper cups).  They will then research what the products are made of, the manufacturing processes involved, transportation used, and how it is disposed of.  Based on this information, they will determine which choice is less impactful to the environment and purpose an action plan.  (fifty minutes each day).

  1. Students will divide into groups and pick a topic to focus on.
  2. Students wil set aside time for web based research. Day 5 and 6 could be spent in the computer lab or library giving students an opportunity to investigate their topics.  Giving students more time to continue research outside of class would allow for more indepth findings.  Students may need to contact companies to determine specifics about the products they are looking at.
  3. Give students work time in class to put together their projects.
  4. See attachment for specific directions and handouts (LCA Group Project)
Presentations: Wrap Up & Group Presentaions of Proposals (fifty minutes or individual presentations spread out over several days)

Life Cycle Assessment Student Study


"Your Habits with Your Gadgets!"

Author: Deirdre McShane

What is vampire energy?  How long do you watch TVor use your desktop computer?  Do you leave your cell phone or MP3 player plugged in when you are not using it? 

What does this mean to the enviornment?  Check out a survey that was taken by 100 students like you and find out what you can do! 

Document Download: vampire.plug.loads.pdf (328KB)

Realted Links:

IISME - Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education


Visit Curriculum Author Stephanie Ruzicka at Horner Junior High School

Horton Hornet

Visit other Lesson Plans Developed by IISME Fellows

IISME Community

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