OVERVIEW Students will utilize a WebQuest to gather information and analyze the impact humans have on their environment, why we are able to have such tremendous impact on the environment and hypothesize about how we can alleviate the negative impacts of our actions. This lesson will help students critically analyze their own effect on the environment and come up with innovative ways to reduce negative human impacts on the environment. They will also discuss ways in which they can expand a simple community plan to a wider demographic.
INTRODUCTION As we try to improve the quality of our lives or just to seek pleasure, we use whatever resources that are present in our environment. In doing so we sometimes make by-products that might be harmful to the environment and even to ourselves. For example, our motor vehicles that make travel so much easier, faster, and more pleasant, produce chemicals harmful to our respiratory systems. We over utilize certain aspects of the environment. For instance, we clear large areas of land for housing and commercial space. Can you think of some far-reaching effects of this?
INTRODUCTION (Cont.) You are a concerned citizen of the city of New York. You have noticed that on certain days as you sit in your roof top garden, that there is a dark haze hanging over the city. You have also noticed that the water in the rivers is murky and that there are signs warning you not to consume fish from them. You have spoken to some of your close friends about this, and they report having observed that over the years the number of rabbits and other small animals they used to see in the natural parks have been declining.
INTRODUCTION (Cont.) You also question the fact that many people view the tap water as being unsafe to drink. You and your friends have decided to carry out an in-depth investigation into the phenomena you have observed. You are also concerned about whether other people are aware of the negative changes that have been occurring in your community over the years. You have decided as a group that a more informed community might be able to reverse some of the changes and prevent future declines of the environment.
THE TASK You will work in groups of four to research the topic and produce a community action plan. Choose one person to be the scribe for the group. This person will record the information discussed in the brainstorming and discussion sessions. However, as you read the Web pages, each person will make notes from the section he or she is reading. Your plan will include the following:
THE TASK (Cont.) An information brochure detailing –Various types of pollution, (air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution); their definitions, and the causes of each of the types of pollution. –Effects of pollution on organisms other than humans –Specific effects of the various types of pollution on humans. (Lists with brief descriptions). –Steps we have taken as a nation to reduce pollution levels.
THE TASK (Cont.) A set of steps you will use to investigate pollution levels in your community. Steps you can take as individuals and as a community to reduce the pollution identified. Problems you might encounter trying to implement your plan. How you could adjust your plan to include another communities outside of New York City. How we will benefit from implementing this plan
THE PROCESS Day 1 Brainstorm with your group to find possible answer to the questions below. When you have completed that, use information from the various sources listed to clarify your answers to the questions. Have each member of the group read a different page and make notes. Then, share and discuss this information with the group. Each person should make any necessary adjustments to his/her notes as the other members of the group discuss the topic. Also, make any necessary adjustments to the group’s previous answers for the questions.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 1 a).Why are humans able to affect the environment more than other organisms? b).What are some ways in which we affect the environment? Discuss both negative and positive impacts. It is not enough to state broad-range impacts such as “pollution”. You must explain what causes it, types, why you consider it a positive or negative impact. For example, air pollution occurs when we release certain chemicals such as Carbon Monoxide into the air, which spoils the quality of the air.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 1 c).Why are these factors/impacts so critical to the environment? Be sure to discuss the impact on organisms other than humans. You can however explain how these impacts eventually affect humans. Discuss actions we can take to alleviate the negatives effects we have had on the environment. You can mention innovations already in place, but try to find new methods we can consider.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 2 3.Using the information you gathered in the previous class, design a brochure to inform your community about pollution, the types of pollution, causes, effects on living organisms, and prevention or reversal measures.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 3 Design a community action plan/project to identify, analyze and alleviate negative impacts of humans on the environment in your community. Your plan should include, but is not limited to the following: –The methods you will use to identify, measure and document the different types of pollution in your community.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 3 –Immediate causes of the various types of pollution identified, for example, people who picnic on the edge of the pond toss garbage into the water. –Ways the members of your community can work together to clean up the current pollution. –Ways your community can prevent further pollution.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 3 In addition, it should be clear how you would accomplish the following: –How you will first disseminate information to the community to inform them of the problem faced with pollution.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 3 –How you will organize the community to conduct your research, come up with a plan to prevent additional pollution and implement the plan to keep your community as pollution free as possible. (Would the entire community be involved the entire plan from identifying and documenting the information, or would you use a committee for this stage and then involve the rest of the community in the clean up and prevention processes)?
THE PROCESS (Cont.) DAY 3 After you have completed your plan, brainstorm with your group to formulate anadditional plan to address a similar situation in another community in another state. You should take into consideration things such as the physical location of the community. For example, is it in a rural area, or an industrialized city?
THE PROCESS (Cont.) Day 4 Create a PowerPoint presentation to present your community action plan to the class. Make sure all members of the group participate in the planning and eventual presentation of this plan. You should also use this time to fine-tune any necessary details on your brochure if necessary.
THE PROCESS (Cont.) Day 5 You will present your community action plan to the class in a multimedia presentation (using PowerPoint, an LCD projector, etc). You may also display posters that you would include in your community action plan. You should also present your brochure to the class at this point.
RESOURCES Air Pollution: http://www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/pollution-main.htmlhttp://www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/pollution-main.html http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/air/air.htm Water Pollution: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/ASK/waterpol3.html http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/ASK/waterpol3.html Water Pollution: Click on each of the links within this link: http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/whatis.html http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/whatis.html Soil pollution: http://cse.cosm.sc.edu/env_sci/Impacts/Pollution/Soil/Header.htm http://cse.cosm.sc.edu/env_sci/Impacts/Pollution/Soil/Header.htm http://www.pat- med.k12.ny.us/Schools/hs/departments/science/coveney/3SoilPollut ion.htmhttp://www.pat- med.k12.ny.us/Schools/hs/departments/science/coveney/3SoilPollut ion.htm Preventing pollution: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/ppu/p2tips.html http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/ppu/p2tips.html http://dep.state.ct.us/wst/P2/ Noise pollution: http://www.nonoise.org/aboutno.htmhttp://www.nonoise.org/aboutno.htm Click through the five links on this page http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/soe/97/ch1/15.htm http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/soe/97/ch1/15.htm
EVALUATION The brochure and PowerPoint presentation of the community action plan will be graded using the rubrics provided.
RUBRICS Making A Brochure : Pollution Making A Brochure : Pollution (See rubric handouts) (See rubric handouts)
CONCLUSION Reflect on the activity you have completed. How easy or difficult was it for you to work together as a team? How useful was the knowledge you gained? (This includes knowledge of how to use the Internet, PowerPoint, etc.) What additional questions can you pose pertaining to organisms and their environments and how humans affect them? How might we expand this activity to include knowledge or skills learned in other subject areas?
EXTENSION If you could design a perfect environment, what would some of its key features be? How would the interactions of humans with other organisms be different from what they are now?
TEACHER’S PAGE Grade Level: nine Skills necessary: Basic Word processing skills Classroom Resources: computers, Internet access, printer, paper, LCD projector, construction paper, markers Learning theories: Constructivism, multiple intelligences This lesson is designed to span at least five days (90 minutes each class). Day 1: The students will brainstorm the answers to the initial questions, they will read the links provided and make notes. They should divide the reading and have each person read a different section. Day 2: They will collaborate to put together the information for the brochure. Day 3: They will design the community action plan. Day 4: They will put together the PowerPoint presentation. Day 5: The groups will present their brochures and community action plans to the class.
TEACHER’S PAGE STANDARDS The following is the link to the New York State Learning Standards addressed. Standard 4; Key Idea 7; Performance Indicators 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3 http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/pub/li vingen.pdf http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/pub/li vingen.pdf