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The Sustainability Project

Page history last edited by mariaelizabethbunn@... 7 years, 7 months ago





Big Ideas

Lesson Overview   Eliciting and Engaging the Student Developing the Ideas Checking for Understanding  


~1 day




BIG IDEA 1: What is a case study and how should we approach it?


Essential Questions:


  • How does the case study differ from what I may be used to in the classroom? 
  • What will I be expected to do?
  • How and why do people work in teams? 

In these three lessons students are introduced to the case study approach.

Lesson 1-1 asks students to discuss how they prefer to learn. Lesson 1-2 is a description of the what the students should expect. Lesson 1-3 is a discussion the challenges, strategies, and benefits of working in teams. 

Lesson 1-1: Introduction to Learning Styles


Lesson 1-2: Expectations for the Case Study


Lesson 1-3: Working in Teams 


Ask the Questions:

1. What concerns do you have about the upcoming case study? What are you excited about?

2. Have you worked in teams before? What was it like? 


~1 day



Social Studies



BIG IDEA 2: Choosing paper or plastic has societal, environmental, and economic repercussions.

Essential Questions:

  • Is a plastic bag ban good or bad for communities?
  • What is the impact of choosing paper or plastic? 

In these lessons, students are introduced to the topic of the case study and become invested in it.

Students are polled on environmental sustainability and watch an inception video on a plastic bag ban, and discuss the impact of this ban.

Lesson 2-1: Polling the students


Lesson 2-2: Inception Video 


Ask the questions:


1. Who does the plastic ban impact?


2. Which statements in the video were true?


3. Which statements in the video were untrue?



~3 days



Science, Environmental Studies, Social Studies


BIG IDEA 3: Defining environmental sustainability and recognizing its scope.

Essential Questions:


  • What is environmental sustainability?
  • What are the three pillars of sustainability?
  • How is the "paper vs. plastic" debate an environmental sustainability issue?
  • What are other environmental sustainability issues? 

Through these lessons students become engaged in the topic of environmental sustainability.


Students will research and debate over the question of paper vs. plastic, will participate in a sticky-note activity to determine the 3 pillars of sustainability, and will create a class list of environmental sustainability issues. Each team will pick an issue.


Lesson 3-1: Engagement Question


Lesson 3-2: Sticky-note Activity


Lesson 3-3: Sustainability Issues List

Ask the question:

1. Which of the following issues are related to environmental sustainability and which are not? How do you know?


  • War on drugs
  • Obesity
  • Climate Change
  • Zika
  • Littering
  • Oil Spills
  • Vaccines
  • Factory Farming 


~1 week





BIG IDEA 4: Scientific inquiry skills can be used to address issues in environmental sustainability.

Essential Questions:


  • What is known about this topic? What is not known?
  • How do you write a research question?
  • How should I collect my information?
  • Which sources are reliable and reputable?
In these lessons, students collect background information on their topic, write a research question, and collect data and information to answer their research question 

Lesson 4-1: Topic Diagram


Lesson 4-3: Form a hypothesis 


Lesson 4-4: Designing the study

Lesson 4-2: Writing a Research Question


Lesson 4-5: Conducting the Research

Discuss with each team whether they have gathered enough information to answer their research question. Do they have the evidence to support their position? Are they missing a piece of information? 


~1-2 days



Science, Social Studies


BIG IDEA 5: Scientific communication can be used to issues in environmental sustainability.

Essential Questions:


  • How do you draw conclusions from research and data?
  • Who would benefit most from hearing your conclusion?
  • How do you articulate your conclusion clearly and scientifically?
  • Could your research impact environmental sustainability?

In these lessons, students will draw a conclusion based on their research, communicate their conclusion to an audience outside the classroom, and present their team’s project to the class. 

Lesson 5-1: Drawing a conclusion 

Lesson 5-2: Communicating Your Findings


Lesson 5-3: Peer-editing


Lesson 5-4: Presenting 

Ask the following questions:

Compare and contrast yours and your classmates communication pieces. What do you think these communication pieces will accomplish? 


~1 day





BIG IDEA 6: Reflection is a tool for improving your scientific inquiry skills and for identifying the next steps for addressing environmental sustainability.

Essential Questions:


  • What have I learned?
  • What have I done well?
  • How can I improve?
In this lesson students will reflect on their process recognize their strengths, their opportunities for growth, and what they have learned and accomplished.  Lesson 6-1: Reflect     


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