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Sustainability: How Our Actions Affect the Environment

Grade Range
5th
Group Size
4 students
Active Time
3.5 hours
Total Time
3.5 hours
Area of Science
Environmental Science
Key Concepts
Sustainability, environmental impact, carbon footprint
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the concept of sustainability and the impacts of human activities on Earth
  • Use evidence to describe how a given everyday activity affects the environment
  • Identify solutions (actions) that can reduce the environmental impact of an individual or community
things affecting the environment: Human activities associated with food, water, stuff, and energy production and consumption have the greatest impact on the environment.

Overview

How do our everyday actions contribute to our ecological footprint? Can we change our individual actions to be more environmentally friendly and create a more sustainable lifestyle? In this lesson, students will evaluate their own environmental impact using an online tool called Your Plan, Your Planet, and evaluate simple ways to reduce their ecological footprint as an individual or community.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information. Obtain and combine information from books and/or other reliable media to explain phenomena or solutions to a design problem.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.

Use data to evaluate claims about cause and effect.

Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem by citing relevant evidence about how it meets the criteria and constraints of the problem.
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems. Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environments. (5-ESS3-1)
Cause and Effect: Mechanisms and Prediction. Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.

Credits

Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials

  • Computer, Chromebook, tablet, or mobile phone with internet access
  • Access to the online tool Your Plan, Your Planet

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Grade Range
5th
Group Size
4 students
Active Time
3.5 hours
Total Time
3.5 hours
Area of Science
Environmental Science
Key Concepts
Sustainability, environmental impact, carbon footprint
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the concept of sustainability and the impacts of human activities on Earth
  • Use evidence to describe how a given everyday activity affects the environment
  • Identify solutions (actions) that can reduce the environmental impact of an individual or community