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Where Did You Come From, Where Do You Go?

Welcome to Envirolessons, a portfolio of environmental education resources designed to reconnect students with the natural world and inspire them to love and protect it.

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Where did you come from, where did you go?

 

Sample lesson plan: Where did you come from, where do you go?

(double lesson – part 1)

Learning Objective/s To understand the origins of everyday objects and their connections to nature
Topics Interconnection; Pollution and Waste Management; Sustainability
Resources

Recording of Land Links ©Fay White and accompanying video (see link)

Milk carton

Name and picture cards: milk carton, cow, grass, sun, water (x2), trees, paper, wax, bees, a truck, a supermarket, petrol.

Everyday objects, such as: food, clothing, stationery, technological devices (this may be adapted according to the age of the students)

Pencils and paper

For follow-up: Sandeye series (Will Davies and Greg Hyde, 1980).

 

Prior knowledge required  
Links to other learning experiences  
Tuning In

Play the song Land Links, and the accompanying video (?) by Fay White.

 

Show the class a carton of milk. Ask the whole class:

 

Where does this come from?

 

Note students’ answers for later assessment. Expected answers may include: cows (or other animals), the shop, the supermarket, a plant.

 

Give the milk carton to one student, and select a group of students for demonstration. Hand out the picture cards to them

Discussion

Discussion structure: Have students sitting in a circle, and select discussion participants with a tennis ball (whoever is holding the ball is the only one that speaks at that time). Here are some questions if anyone needs prompting:

 

  • What did you feel about the connections? Were you surprised by how many there were? Were there any connections you didn’t expect?
  • How far back can the connections go? Is there a natural limit?
  • What do you think this means for the natural environment?

 

Note the students’ answers for assessment.   Guide them towards thinking about the environmental effects of all the connections (e.g. consumption of energy to transport milk to supermarket; land needed for farming).

Small group work

Students work in mixed-ability groups of 3-4.

 

Give each group a series of objects to trace back to their natural origins. Begin with simpler objects with fewer connections (e.g. fruit) and work up to objects with a more complex history (e.g. clothing, drink bottles, etc).

 

Ask them to trace the connections back as far as they can and as widely as they can (e.g. don’t just trace the milk, but the carton as well).

Sharing and summary

Choose 2-3 groups to share their findings with the class.

  • Can anyone think of any additional links in this web?
  • Has this activity changed the way you think about this object?
  • Have your answers to the first question changed? Write them on a piece of paper and hand them in.
  • What do these connections mean for us as buyers and as people living in the environment?
  • What happens to the object when we have finished using it?

 

Extension

For younger students who finish the easier objects (e.g. food), encourage them to choose other, more complex objects, such as those involving plastics or metals.

 

For older students or younger students who need further extension, also encourage them to explore other links in the web that they may not have thought about (e.g. the farmers, the delivery drivers, the people working at the supermarket, and all the resources these people need to survive).

Assessment Compare students’ previous answers to answers after the learning experience.
Follow-up questions/activities

Where did you come from, where do you go? Part 2

 

Read the Sandeye series. Ask the students to track Sandeye’s lifecycle. Have them write a follow-up story about what happens to Sandeye after he has returned to the beach (eventually he would break down into sea-glass and back into sand, his original components)

Notes/comments  


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Welcome to Envirolessons!

Hello, reader, and welcome to Envirolessons!

Whether you’re an environmental educator, a classroom teacher who wants to know more about how to weave the natural environment into your everyday lessons, or just someone who’s Googled “environmental education” for interest, there will be valuable resources on this page for you.

Envirolessons was developed by me, Elizabeth Howes, a qualified teacher with a background in environmental and outdoor education. My concern at the lack of environmental knowledge being taught in the everyday classroom led me to design a series of lesson plans to assist teachers who understand the importance of environmental education, but do not have a strong background in it.

I looked at the important environmental topics and sorted them into categories, as follows:

  • Conservation
  • Biodiversity
  • Habitats
  • Land use
  • Getting to know and care about nature
    • Sustainability
  • Resource depletion
  • Overpopulation
  • Waste
  • Food growth
  • Self-sufficiency
    • Energy
  • Renewable energy
    • Pollution
  • Earth
    • Landfill sites
    • Salinity
  • Air
    • CO2
    • NO2
    • CO
    • SO2
    • Transport
    • Fossil fuels
  • Water
    • Oil and water don’t mix!
    • Down the drain
    • Plastic = not fantastic
  • Interconnectedness
  • The food web
  • Where did you come from, where do you go?
    • Climate change
  • Link with Pollution topics
  • The potential effects
  • What we can do: reduce emissions and work with current effects

o   Sustainable design: working with nature, not against it

And now, the legal stuff:

You may use these teaching resources in your own classroom or pass them on to your colleagues for their use in a classroom. You may adapt the lessons to your class as you see fit.  You may not present Envirolessons as your original idea. All Envirolessons lesson plans have a watermark with my name on them to avoid this. 

Now, on a lighter note: I’d love to hear from you about how the lessons went with your students. Please contact me with feedback and success stories!

Green wishes to all.