The Everything® Kids' Environment Book Teachers' Study Guide
There are activities throughout the book that demonstrate different aspects of the environment and how it is affected by our actions. Try some activities in class and then discuss their significance and how people can have an impact on preventing some environmental damage.
It can empower students to know they can affect the environment in a positive way. A good way to enhance the educational value of using this book for your Earth and the Environment Unit is by developing, with your students, a ten-step plan to save the planet. It's a guide they can live by for the rest of their lives and share with others.
Following the content of the book, here are some suggested topics to explore and discuss. Look through the book and use this format to choose other issues that interest you and your community even more (i.e., schools in the northeastern United States may want to study acid rain).
1. How can we stop rainforest loss?
The Amazon rainforest is disappearing at record rates; much of this is due to ranchers clear cutting forest to provide grazing land to cattle. The beef is sold to fast food restaurants in the United States and other countries. Discuss how people can help stop this (i.e., eating a soy burger instead of beef once a week or more, writing letter to your local fast food chain corporate office, telling others, etc.).
Refer to Chapter 3: Deforestation — The Disappearing Rainforest. Activity: Page 33: Deforestation Frustration — Erosion.
2. How can we have an effect on noise pollution?
Discuss noise pollution and how it might affect wildlife and people. Have half the class listen to you read a paragraph from the noise pollution chapter, while the other half talks loudly. Ask the kids afterward if they could concentrate on what you read over the noise the other kids were making. Discuss how this would affect people in cities trying to sleep and wildlife near airports or roads. Discuss how the kids can help reduce noise pollution in their own lives.
Refer to Chapter 3: Noise Pollution. Activity: Page 36: Noise Pollution and Learning.
3. What is loss of biodiversity and how is it bad?
A simple way to show how biodiversity makes a stable ecosystem is to lay out a tray with ten green olives, ten dill pickle slices, ten celery sticks, and ten chocolate kisses. Have ten students walk by and choose one. When they are done look at what is left. The kisses will be gone — extinct! If one species in an ecosystem is wiped out by a virus, fungus, or a high population of predators, there are still many other species to maintain the health of the ecosystem. What if there had been just one species? It would be gone and the ecosystem would collapse. Bio-diversity helps guard against that. Discuss how monoculture farms (big corn fields) can have a similar problem. Discuss how the kids can join a conservation group like the Nature Conservancy to help protect biodiversity throughout the world.
Refer to Chapter 5: Loss of Biodiversity. Activity: Page 64: Make Your Own Plant Guide.
4. How can recycling save resources?
Discuss how reusing things like aluminum, glass, and paper can save trees and power, and lower pollution. Discuss starting recycling in school and at home.
Refer to Chapter 6: Garbage and Recycling. Activity: Page 71: Make Your Own Cool Art Paper Using Recycled Paper Grocery Bags.
5. How can you save energy in your life?
Discuss small things that you each can do to cut back on energy used in your home and school, such as turning off lights when you are not in the room, getting lower watt light bulbs, turning down the heat (with parents' permis-sion), and more.
Refer to Chapter 7: The High Cost of Energy. Activity: Page 73: What Can Be Done to Make Less Trash?
6. How does planting trees help the environment?
Discuss how trees help a community by providing habitat for animals, shade, soil stability, and oxygen. Talk about using baby trees as party favors, or having a tree planting party or project.
Refer to Chapter 8: Planting Trees. Activity: Page 98: Start a Tree-Planting Club!
7. What can you do at home?
Discuss how your students' families can live green and save energy around their houses and yards. Talk about how every little bit helps!
Refer to Chapter 8: How You Can Help Your Family Be Green. Activity: Page 93: Design Your Ideal Green House.
8. How do people waste water?
Our world's clean water supply is shrinking every year. Think about how people use water and make a list of all the ways they waste clean water. In class, discuss the ways people can save water (i.e., not running the water while they brush their teeth, etc.). Also discuss how the students can get their parents to help, like planting shrubs that don't use more water than is provided naturally by the rain and collecting rainwater to plant their gardens.
Refer to Chapter 8: Save Water. Activity: Page 99: Ten Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home and Community.
9. How can you keep parks, beaches and oceans clean?
Discuss how people littering adds up. Talk about how you should never leave more than footprints wherever you go. Talk about how pollution, like plastic bags, can kill ocean animals. Suggest ways to decrease the use of plastic bags, like using canvas bags for shopping at the grocery store.
Refer to Chapter 8: Don't Trash Your Parks and Beaches. Activity: Page 101: Organize a Litter Cleanup Hike.
10. How can we spread the word about environmentalism to others?
Have an Earth Day celebration at your school! Discuss ways to share information that would be fun and informative to others in your school and community. Have students make a poster with all ten of their steps. They can hang it in their kitchen to share it with their family. Spreading green information is an important part of making the world a greener place.
Refer to Chapter 9. Actions to Preserve Our Environment. Activity: Page 105: Recycling for Trees!