Day Lighting

Using a light meter, explore the possibilities of day lighting in the classroom.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Language Arts
  • Suggested Time: 2 hours

Materials

Light meters (available commercially), Day Lighting Worksheet, the Ohio School Design Manual light level chart (make copies or display by projector), and colored paper and markers.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Science:

  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • Light and sound are forms of energy that behave in predictable ways. (5)
  • The sun is one of the many starts that exist in the universe. (5)
  • Science inquiry and applications. (4-6)

Language Arts:

  • Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. (4)
  • Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively. (4)
  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. (4, 5)
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings. (6)
  • Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (4-6)
  • Draw on information from multiple print of digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (5)
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism. (6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Define day lighting.
  • Answer reading comprehension questions from a selection about day lighting.
  • Measure light values with a Kill A Watt meter.
  • Compare data to the Ohio School Design Manual light level chart.
  • Identify where natural light can replace electric lights.

Introduction

  • Before students enter the room, open the shades or blinds, if there are windows. Leave the lights on. Once class begins, switch off the lights and ask students which lighting they prefer. Usually students prefer natural light. Help students identify natural vs. electric light.
  • Ask the students to briefly discuss why they prefer natural light. If needed, help them connect their preference for the lights being off to a preference for natural light. Possible answers include that natural light is more calming, comfortable, not too bright, and that people like sun.
  • Explain that today they will use a light meter to study one method of reducing cost and energy use, called day lighting.

Activities

  • Distribute a copy of the Day Lighting Worksheet to each student. As a class or individually, students should read the selection about day lighting and the answer questions. Go over answers to make sure students understand the answers.
  • Show students how to use a Kill A Watt meter by measuring the light in the classroom with the lights on and blinds shut vs. lights off and blinds open. Allow students to try it themselves from different places in the classroom. Students should record data in a log, noting where they measured the light, what type of light was present (natural, electric, or both), and the light value in foot candles.
  • As a class, search the school for locations where day lighting could be used. Use the light meter to measure the light value in foot candles. Try areas such as:
    • empty classrooms
    • hallways
    • cafeteria
    • offices
    • library
    • gym
  • Wherever possible, turn off electric lights to measure natural lighting.
  • Back in the classroom, help students compare their findings to the Ohio School Design Manual light level chart (distribute copies or display by projector). If students are not able to read the chart by themselves, just point out the appropriate values and ask if they are greater than or less than the values they measured.
  • Students should identify areas where lighting values exceed the Ohio School Design Manual recommendations, and list locations in the school where day lighting could be used to lower energy costs. Record on Day Lighting Worksheet.
  • Students can make signs and place them next to light switches and windows, reminding people to turn off the lights and open the blinds or shades during the day.

Extensions

  • Encourage students to create a day lighting plan for their homes. Students may discuss and implement the plan with their families.
  • Students may draw a design for a school or home that would optimize day lighting potential through the placement of windows. Help students to consider the direction of the sun throughout the day and orient the building accordingly. Display drawings in the classroom.

Closing

After reviewing the lesson, create a plan for using day lighting in the classroom. Under what conditions will natural light, electric light, or a combination be used?

Worksheets

See: Daylighting Worksheet

See: Recommended Light Levels

What’s my Carbon Footprint?

Students will calculate their carbon footprint.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies
  • Suggested Time: 1 hour

Materials

Chalk/whiteboard, computers with internet access (ideally one per student), Carbon Footprint Worksheet, large paper or poster and markers (optional).

National Standards

Science:

  • Regulation and behavior.
  • Population and ecosystems.
  • Structure and function in living systems.
  • Science as inquiry.

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Roles of the citizen.
  • Human systems.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Science:

  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • Organisms perform a variety of roles in an ecosystem. (5)
  • Science inquiry and applications. (4-6)

 

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments in Eastern and Western hemispheres influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Define greenhouse gas and carbon footprint.
  • Identify ways carbon dioxide is emitted.
  • Calculate individual carbon footprint.
  • Brainstorm ways to reduce carbon footprint.

Teacher Preparation

Carbon footprint is a calculation of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (like carbon dioxide) an entity is responsible for. An entity may be a country, business, industry, or individual. The footprint measures the direct and indirect amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions also lower the quality of the air we breathe and contribute to other forms of pollution. The average American’s individual carbon footprint is over 20 metric tons, which is double that of people in other industrialized nations. To find out what your footprint measures, try the EPA’s online calculator at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/individual.html. Knowing the size of your footprint is a good first step toward reducing carbon emissions.

Introduction

  • Draw a footprint on the board and write “Carbon Footprint” above it.
  • Then, write the definition on the board: "the amount of greenhouse gases that are let into the atmosphere by a person or organization".
  • Explain that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are harmful to the earth when too much is let into the atmosphere. Draw or display a diagram of the greenhouse effect, explaining that these gases cause the earth’s temperature to slowly rise. This can affect human, animal, and plant life. These gases can also pollute the air we breathe.
  • Explain that everyone has a carbon footprint, but some people’s carbon footprint is much larger. American’s carbon footprints are usually twice as big as people in other countries, which is bad for the earth. Tell students they will be calculating their personal carbon footprints and learning ways to shrink their carbon footprints.

Activities

  • Distribute the Carbon Footprint Worksheet to each student. Review the definitions of carbon footprint and greenhouse gas while students write them down.
  • To help students understand the last web site, you may need to tell them the chemical abbreviation of carbon dioxide, and the standard abbreviation for pounds.
  • Assign students to computers. They should write their answers on the Carbon Footprint Worksheet. Help students follow the worksheet instructions to log onto the web sites and answer the questions.
  • Regroup as a class. Ask students what causes greenhouse gases to be let into the atmosphere. Students may write these causes inside the drawing of the footprint.
  • Ask students to share their answers to the other questions on the worksheet. Students may write reduction strategies on a large paper or poster to hang in the classroom.

Extensions

  • Students may draw diagrams illustrating the greenhouse effect.
  • Students may research global warming to form an opinion on the issue.
  • Students may encourage their family members to calculate their carbon footprints using the web sites on the worksheet or the EPA’s carbon footprint calculator.

Closing

Ask students how they plan to change their carbon footprint.

Worksheet

See: Carbon Footprint Worksheet

Trash Monster

Each child brings in one recyclable trash item and the class builds a monster sculpture out of the trash.

  • Grade Level: K-3
  • Subjects: Social Studies, Art

Activities

Students will each bring in one recyclable trash item, and together they will build a trash monster sculpture. The class can vote on his/her name and decide on the monster’s super power. Add clothing or accessories to the sculpture as long as they are recyclable. Put the Trash Monsters on display for Halloween. Students may write stories about the trash monster as an extension.

Cold Food Only Day

Plan a “Cold Food Only” day. Bring to focus the amount of energy consumed in preparing food.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Social Studies, Math
  • Suggested Time:1-2 class periods, plus the Cold Food Only Day

Materials

Chalk/whiteboard, Cold Food Only Day Worksheet, calculators (optional), pencils, posterboard and crayons or markers.

National Standards

Math:

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.
  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions.
  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
  • Problem solving.
  • Connections.

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Scarcity.
  • Roles of the citizen.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Math:

  • Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison. (4)
  • Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left. (5)
  • Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. (5)
  • Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (6)

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments within the Western hemisphere influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)
  • Variations among physical environments within the Eastern hemisphere influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Identify how energy is used in the kitchen.
  • Explain the need to conserve energy in the kitchen.
  • Calculate the cost of preparing food different ways using units of time, energy & money.
  • Create a cold food only menu.
  • Plan and advertise a school-wide Cold Food Only Day.

Teacher Preparation

Gain support from the building principal and kitchen staff to hold a Cold Food Only Day.

Introduction

  • Ask students to guess which room of the house uses the most energy (kitchen).
  • Why do they think it uses the most energy? (stove, oven, microwave, washing dishes, refrigeration, electric mixers, can openers, etc.).
  • Ask students to name their favorite school lunches.
  • Ask students how they could conserve energy during food preparation.
  • Inform students that they will be creating a menu for a Cold Food Only Day for the whole school.

Activities

  • Ask students why it is important to save energy in the kitchen. Review where energy comes from and how this impacts the environment.
  • Distribute the Cold Food Only Day Worksheet. Explain the table and ask students to answer 1-3.
  • Discuss how to calculate the cost of using appliances using place value (when the cost of electricity = $.10 kWh). Show how the same applies to converting kW to watts.
  • Discuss why one might prepare foods in a particular way, even if it costs more.
  • Discuss why large commercial ovens at school use more energy than the types listed in the table.
  • Individually or in small groups, ask students to brainstorm cold foods from every food group. (Explain or review the food groups if necessary.)
  • As a class, list on the board some cold food ideas from each food group. Then take a vote to choose 2 from each category to create the cold food menu.
  • Explain that you will submit the menu to the kitchen staff and they will choose between the different menus each class created.
  • Break students into groups to create Cold Food Only Day posters to inform others about the day. Include the date and how cold food saves energy.

Extensions

  • Students may research other ways to save in the kitchen such as water use, hot water use, and use of other kitchen appliances.
  • The teacher may contact a local newspaper or news station and invite them to cover the Cold Food Only Day.
  • Students may create a plan for saving energy in the kitchen at home and present it to their families. They may hold a Cold Food Only Day or Meal at home.

Closing

  • Review the lesson and ask students to think of ways to save energy when storing cold foods in the refrigerator (such as closing the door quickly, getting all items out at once, returning all items at once, and keeping the refrigerator full versus empty).
  • Congratulate students on the success of Cold Food Only Day.

Worksheet

See: Cold Food Only Day Worksheet

Food Journey

Discover the journey made by different foods, from point of production to your plate.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Social Studies, Math
  • Suggested Time: 1-2 hours

Materials

Chalk/whiteboard, paper and pencils, U.S. and world maps, foods brought in by class and/or teacher, copies of map (1 per student, optional), atlas or computers with internet access (optional).

National Standards

Social Studies:

  • The world in spatial terms.
  • Environment and society.
  • Places and regions.
  • Roles of the citizen.
  • Marginal cost/benefit.
  • The uses of geography.

Math:

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions.
  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
  • Problem solving.
  • Connections.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Social Studies:

  • A map scale and cardinal and intermediate directions can be used to describe the relative location of physical and human characteristics of Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Global and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places, and environments. (5)
  • Variations among physical environments influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)
  • When selecting items to buy, individuals can compare the price and quality of available goods and services. (6)

Math:

  • Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison. (4)
  • Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances. (4)
  • Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols. (5)
  • Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm. (5, 6)
  • Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Read food labels to determine where foods have been shipped from.
  • Locate other states and countries on a map or globe.
  • Calculate the fuel cost of transporting the foods to local supermarkets.
  • Research foods that can be grown and purchased locally.

Introduction

  • Ask students where the food they eat comes from. How does it get to grocery stores?
  • Assign homework for students to look at the food in their homes and find an item from another state or country. Tell students they will learn where food comes from and what it takes to get from there to their plate.

Activities

  • Ask students what foods they brought and where the food came from. Make a chart on the board or overhead.
  • Students should locate those states and countries on a map or globe. You may wish to discuss why foods are imported, such as climate and soil conditions.
  • Ask students how food might travel from those locations. Students may write the most likely type(s) of transportation next to the food on the chart.
  • Use an atlas, map with key, or web sites below to determine the approximate number of miles the food traveled. Add up the miles from all the food on the chart.
  • Calculate the approximate fuel cost for each item. Use the web sites above or local gas prices (this is more difficult for airplane, train or boat, so you may wish to limit this to US items and assume they traveled by diesel truck).
  • Students may add up the fuel cost from all the food on the chart.
  • For the item they brought in, students may draw a picture of its journey. If desired, provide copies of a map for students to trace their foods’ possible journey. Students can include the numbers of miles, fuel cost, and type(s) of transportation.
  • Ask students to imagine all the different foods they eat in a week, and how much fuel is used to transport those foods to local grocery stores. In addition to using fuel, transportation also causes polluting gases to be released into the air.
  • Ask students to think of ways to reduce the amount of money, fuel, and pollution caused by transporting food. How about buying locally grown food and planting a garden?
  • What types of foods can be grown in a garden in your region? Students may research this in books, on the internet, or by interviewing local gardeners (such as parents, students who live on farms, or a teacher). Make a list as a class.

Extensions

  • Students may list the foods they eat for lunch and read the labels to determine where they came from. They may repeat the above activities to add the mileage and fuel cost for all foods. They may present this to their parents to raise awareness and encourage them to buy local foods whenever possible.
  • Try growing vegetable plant seedlings under a grow light in the classroom. When the seedlings are ready, send them home with students with planting instructions.
  • Students may research why certain foods are imported from certain locations. For example, why do avocados often come from Mexico and California? Why do they grow best there? Are there other reasons for importing them?

Closing

After reviewing the lesson, ask students how they might inform others about how transporting food affects the environment. What can they encourage others to do?

Energy Survey

Create and administer an energy survey on energy awareness in your school and / or home.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
  • Suggested Time: 3 hours, split into 2 sessions, with several days between to complete energy survey

Materials

Chalkboard or whiteboard, paper and pencils, computers with word processing program, colored pencils, rulers.

National Standards

Language Arts:

  • Communication skills.
  • Communication strategies.
  • Evaluating data.
  • Developing research skills.
  • Participating in society.
  • Applying language skills.

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Roles of the citizen.
  • Human systems.

Science:

  • Science as inquiry.
  • Transfer of energy.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Language Arts:

  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (4, 5)
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (4-6)
  • Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (4, 5)
  • Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate. (6)
  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions. (4-6)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. (6)

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment. (4)
  • Civic participation requires individuals to make informed and reasoned decisions by accessing and using information effectively. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments within the Eastern and Western hemispheres influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)

Science:

  • Science inquiry and applications.
  • Heat results when substances burn, when certain kinds of materials rub against each other, and when electricity flows through wires. (4)
  • Light and sound are forms of energy that behave in predictable ways. (5)
  • There are two categories of energy: kinetic and potential. (6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • List different types of energy.
  • Identify examples of how each type of energy is used.
  • Write an energy survey which asks questions about energy usage.
  • Administer energy survey to people in the school, home, and community.
  • Summarize and graph results of survey.

Introduction

  • Explain that homeowners, schools, and businesses receive utility bills each month. People are charged for using resources which are provided by companies. These resources include water, electricity, and natural gas. Individuals also pay for oil to fuel their cars—what we call gas or petroleum.
  • Explain students will be creating and conducting a survey about energy usage in the community.


Activities

Day One:

  • One at a time, name examples of ways energy is used (see below). Ask students to write the example next to the type of energy it uses (explain that many examples use more than one type of energy). Examples can include:
    • Heating
    • Cooling (A/C )
    • Lighting
    • Cooking
    • Showering
    • Watching television
    • Driving a car
    • Washing a car
    • Riding the bus
    • Making plastic
  • Explain the goal of the energy survey: to help people think about how they use different types of energy and other resources, and how they could conserve resources. Identify who will take the survey: school employees, family members, and neighbors/friends.
  • As a class, help students write questions for the survey. See an example here:

Example School Survey Questions

  • Encourage students to think of questions regarding each type of energy. Make the survey as general or detailed as you find appropriate for your class. Some more detailed questions might include:
    • At what temperature do you keep your thermostat in the winter/summer?
    • What is the maximum temperature your hot water is set to reach?
    • Do you have a programmable thermostat? (explain or demonstrate if there is one in the classroom).
    • What types of light bulbs do you use? (show students pictures or examples of incandescent and LEDs).
    • Do you have high efficiency appliances? Which appliances?
    • Do you have efficient water fixtures? Which fixtures?

After 1st class session:

  • Type or assign a student to type the questions in a computer word processing program. Print and make copies, 2 per student. Email surveys to school employees in your building. If desired, email to employees of other buildings in the district.
  • Assign students to take home 2 copies of the survey. One should be completed by a member of their household. The second should be completed by a trusted neighbor, relative, or friend (remind students not to go door to door approaching strangers).

Day Two:

  • After students have conducted the survey, go through the survey answers as a class, including the answers from school employees. Write the questions on the board or display with a projector.
  • Ask students for response frequencies and assign a student to record on the board. For example, “38 people use LEDs and 27 use incandescent.” Or they may raise hands to represent frequencies, and then summarize. For example, “most people do not have a programmable thermostat.”
  • Students should write “Community Energy Profile” at the top of a clean piece of paper. Help students select data which is best represented by a graph. Each student should draw a graph of data from one question, using a ruler and colored pencils.
  • Students should write a paragraph summarizing how resources are used, and how resources could be conserved in the community.

Extensions

  • Students may create a poster representing the community energy profile. They may present it to school and/or community employees.
  • Post the students’ graphs in the classroom or in the school hallway under a sign saying “Community Energy Profile.”

Closing

Ask students how they can help people in the school, at home, and in the community conserve resources. How can they motivate others and offer practical tips?

No Paper Day

Students research the effects of paper use, identify ways to conserve paper, and sponsor a No Paper Day.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
  • Suggested Time: 2 class periods, plus the No Paper Day

Materials

Computers with internet access and a word processing program, poster boards and markers, dry erase boards with erasers and refillable markers (optional), classroom laptop set (optional), a few sheets of scrap paper for signs, and paper recycling bins.

National Standards

Science:

  • Behavior and regulation.
  • Population and ecosystems.
  • Properties and changes of properties in matter.
  • Populations, resources, and environments.

Language Arts:

  • Evaluating data.
  • Developing research skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Communication strategies.

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Roles of the citizen.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Science:

  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • Organisms perform a variety of roles in an ecosystem. (5)
  • Changes of state are explained by a model of matter composed of atoms and/or molecules that are in motion. (6)

Language Arts:

  • Draw evidence form literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (4)
  • Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (5).
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism. (6)
  • Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (4, 5)
  • Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understandings of a topic or issue. (6)
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (4-6)
  • Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (4-6)
  • Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. (4-6)
  • Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (4-6)

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Research current paper use in the United States and its impact on the environment.
  • Identify ways to reduce paper use.
  • Create a poster to inform others about paper use, environmental effects, and paper saving strategies.
  • Plan and advertise a school-wide No Paper Day, including a paper recycling drive.

Teacher Preparation

Gain support from the building principal and other staff to hold a No Paper Day.

Introduction

  • Ask students to brainstorm on the board all the ways that they use paper at school and at home (create two columns).
  • Ask students how the 3 “R’s” can be used to save paper.
  • Inform students that they will be sponsoring a No Paper Day for the whole school, which will combine reducing, reusing, and recycling strategies.

Activities

  • Students should research the following questions, using the web sites below. Display these questions in a paper-free way, such as the board, overhead projector, or PowerPoint slide.
    • How much paper does the United States use every year? How does this compare with other countries?
    • How does paper use affect the environment?
  • Helpful web sites:
  • Students should research ways to save paper. The following web sites are helpful:
  • As a class, discuss findings and record statistics and paper-saving strategies on the board. Help students to consider the following tips for a No Paper Day:
    • Use no new paper, only scrap paper (already been put in the recycle bin).
    • Encourage students to bring lunches in reusable, non-paper lunch bags.
    • Art teachers should use non-paper mediums, preferably re-usable mediums such as canvas or clay.
    • Use paper alternatives such as the chalkboard, laptops (students may email teachers work), or individual whiteboards with refillable dry-erase markers to do classroom work http://www.amazon.com/Pentel-Handy-line-Retractable-Refillable-assorted/ and http://www.whiteboardsetc.com/LapBoards.htm.
    • Obtain permissions to unplug copiers and printers for the day, and create signs from scrap paper to explain the reason.
    • Identify exceptions for the No Paper Day (such as toilet paper, tissues, and cafeteria napkins).
  • Plan the No Paper Day campaign. Break students into small groups and assign one of the following activities to each group:
    • Create posters advertising No Paper Day, including a paper recycling drive. Encourage students to bring lunches in a reusable lunch bag, and to bring paper from home for recycling collection.
    • Create a poster about paper use, environmental impact, and paper-saving strategies. Students should present to the class and other classes if possible.
    • Write a letter using a computer word processing program, announcing and explaining No Paper Day to staff members. Email the letter to the staff listserv and ask staff to advertise No Paper Day to their students.
    • Write a checklist of printing tips to save paper, using Microsoft Word. Email this list to staff members and suggest posting a copy near printers in offices, the library, and computer labs. See the web sites above for ideas.
    • Write a PA announcement advertising No Paper Day, including the paper recycling drive. Students from the group may take turns, reading the announcement on different days leading up to the No Paper Day, if possible. Also, create signs to post on printers and copiers explaining why they are turned off during No Paper Day.
  • Hold the No Paper Day, including the paper recycling drive. Students should record the amount of paper collected for recycling and create a follow-up announcement to update and congratulate the student body for its paper-saving efforts.

Extensions

  • The Energy Savings Patrol may add paper recycling to their patrol. Students may look to see whether paper is thrown in garbage cans or recycling bins.
  • Students may write articles before and after No Paper Day for the school or local newspaper. The teacher may contact a local newspaper or news station and invite them to cover the No Paper Day.
  • Students may share their research and printer checklists with their parents or other adults for use in offices and other places of employment.
  • Students may create a plan for saving paper at home and present it to their families. They may hold a No Paper Day at home by turning off printers, using cloth napkins, purchasing recycled toilet paper, using only scrap paper for writing, etc.
  • For sixth graders, discuss the changes the atoms and/or molecules in wood undergo during the paper-making process.

Closing

  • Review the lesson and congratulate students on the success of No Paper Day.
  • Ask students to identify paper-saving practices they could continue on a more permanent basis. Write the plan on the board and ask students to sign their names as a pledge to continue saving paper. Encourage students to be a spokesperson for ongoing paper-saving practices in their other classes.

Waste Web Quest

Complete a web quest to learn about waste and recycling.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
  • Suggested Time: About 2 hours, as one or two sessions

Materials

Computers with internet access, Waste Web Quest worksheet, paper and pencils.

National Standards

Social Studies:

  • Environment and society.
  • Roles of the citizen.

Language Arts:

  • Developing research skills.
  • Evaluating data.
  • Communication skills.

Science:

  • Science as inquiry.
  • Regulation and behavior.
  • Population and ecosystems.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Social Studies:

  • People have modified the environment since prehistoric times. There are both positive and negative consequences for modifying the environment in Ohio and the United States. (4)
  • Variations among physical environments influence human activities. Human activities also influence the physical environment. (5, 6)
  • The choices people make have both present and future consequences. (5, 6)


Language Arts:

  • Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. (4, 5)
  • Determine the meaning of general academic & domain specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area. (4, 5)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (4, 5)
  • Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. (6)
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings. (6)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. (6)

Science:

  • Scientific inquiry and applications. (4-6)
  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • The total amount of matter is conserved when it undergoes a change. (4)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Explain why it is important to reduce waste.
  • Answer reading comprehension questions using information about waste and recycling from web sites.
  • List possible solutions for reducing waste, using the 3 “R’s”.
  • Write a plan in paragraph form for reducing waste in the community and in the home.

Introduction

  • Ask students to list items they threw in the trash yesterday. Point out how much trash was thrown away by just one class in one day.
  • Ask students to raise their hand if their family recycles on a regular basis.
  • Reading the following passage to the students: "Every day you throw away something. So do your friends, neighbors, and almost every person on earth. Right now the world population is 6.5 billion people, and the U.S. population is 300 million. That’s so many people throwing away lots of trash! So much trash is a big problem and raises some serious questions. Where will all the trash go? How does it affect our planet? What happens to the trash once it leaves a house? Are there solutions to this problem? This trash problem may not seem important now, but the problem will only get worse as you grow up and live in a world with more people, more trash, and increasing damage to the environment. Today you will be learning more about what we do with trash and what impact trash has on the environment. Your goal will be to gather information and then come up with solutions for the waste problem."

Activities

  • Distribute the Waste Web Quest worksheets. Tell students waste is another name for trash. Remind students to read over the questions before starting the assignment. They do not need to read every web site in its entirety. Students may complete the work individually or in groups, depending on the number of computers.
  • Continue the same day or the next day as desired: once students have answered the questions, students should return work individually or in groups to write a plan in paragraph form for solving the waste problem in the community. Ask students to include ways to involve others in reducing waste.
  • Students should then work individually to write a plan in paragraph form for reducing waste in their homes. Again, their plan should include ideas for involving the whole family in reducing waste.
  • Once students have completed their plans, discuss their waste solutions as a class.

Extensions

  • Students may present their plans in the school and/or to their families.
  • Students may get credit for implementing the plan in their home (get parent/guardian signature to confirm).
  • Students may plan and hold a no waste lunch day. For ideas, see http://www.recycleworks.org/schools/lunch.html

Closing

Ask students how they will change their personal habits to reduce waste.

Worksheet

See: Waste Web Quest Worksheet

Green Monster

Make a poster featuring a cartoon character who reminds people to save energy.

  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Subjects: Science, Language Arts, Art
  • Suggested Time: about 2 hours, may be broken into sessions

Materials

Chalkboard/whiteboard, Green Monster Worksheets, poster boards (1 for every 4-5 students), markers, scissors, colored paper, glue, tape or tacks for posting, paper and pencils.

National Standards

Language Arts:

  • Evaluation strategies.
  • Communication skills.
  • Participating in society.

Science:

  • Regulation and behavior.
  • Population and ecosystems.
  • Structure of the earth system.
  • Populations, resources, and environments.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Language Arts:

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (4-6)
  • Consult reference materials (e.g. dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases. (4-6)
  • Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain specific words and phrases. (4-6)


Science:

  • Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful. (4)
  • Organisms perform a variety of roles in an ecosystem. (5)
  • Rocks, minerals, and soils have common and practical uses. (6)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • List ways to conserve environmental resources.
  • Define conserve and resource.
  • Design a Green Monster cartoon character to promote energy savings.
  • Write a slogan to motivate others to conserve resources.
  • Plan and create a poster encouraging others to practice conservation tips.

Teacher Preparation

Note: This lesson will be most effective when used as an introduction to additional environmental education. The goal is to engage students’ prior knowledge of conservation and increase their interest in conservation strategies.

Introduction

  • Ask students to brainstorm what they can do to protect the earth. Ask them the “3 Rs” of protecting the earth/environment (reduce, reuse, recycle) to help them think of ideas.
  • Record ideas on the board, and ask a student to do or act out the tips immediately in the classroom, if possible.
  • For example, the students may open the blinds and turn off the lights, turn off the computer and/or monitor, put used paper in the recycling bin, use a re-useable lunch bag, clear objects away from heating vents, etc.
  • Explain that the students will be learning about energy conservation.

Activities

  • Distribute copies of the Green Monster Worksheet. Have students look up conserve in the dictionary and write the definition on the worksheet. Note: This lesson will be most effective when used as an introduction to additional environmental education. The goal is to engage students’ prior knowledge of conservation and increase their interest in conservation strategies.
  • Ask students what is conserved by the strategies they listed on the board. They should write what is conserved next to the idea. Explain that what is conserved is called a resource. Have students look up resource in the dictionary and write the definition on their worksheet. Then students should choose 5 ideas from the brainstorming to write on their worksheet.
  • Ask students why it is important to conserve resources. What might happen if the earth’s resources run out? Help them consider the effects on humans, animals, and plants.
  • Explain that the students will to create a poster encouraging others to conserve by taking simple steps like the ideas listed on the board. The poster will feature a cartoon character called the Green Monster. Discuss why conservation is called “green” or “being green.”
  • Have the students read the poster instructions aloud from the Green Monster Worksheet. Make sure students understand what a slogan is.
  • Break students into groups, where students should use scrap paper to design their Green Monster cartoon character and write their slogan and tips. Then they should use copy paper to sketch a draft of their poster.
  • Once the students’ draft has been approved by the teacher, students should work in groups to create a poster board with the art supplies.
  • After the posters are finished, students should present them to the class. Then the students or the teacher should hang the posters in the school hallways.

Extensions

  • Students may present the posters to other classes or building staff.
  • Students may participate in the Energy Savings Patrol club and patrol the building for conservation opportunities. See the Energy Savings Patrol Teacher Guide for more information.
  • Students may create smaller signs for the classroom featuring the Green Monster, slogan, and 1 conservation tip. The signs may be posted near the area where the tip can be put into practice. For example, post a sign reminding people to recycle next to the trash can and recycle bin.

Closing

After reviewing the lesson, ask students which tips they plan to put into practice at home. Ask how they might encourage their family members to do the same.

Worksheet

See: Green Monster Worksheet

Watch Out for Vampire Load

Students learn about vampire load and how to reduce it.

  • Grade Level: K-3
  • Subjects: Science, Social Studies
  • Suggested Time: 1 hour

Materials

Chalkboard and chalk, paper and pencils and/or crayons.

National Standards

Science:

  • Science as inquiry.
  • Properties of objects and materials.
  • Characteristics of organisms.
  • Organisms and their environments.
  • Types of resources.
  • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism.
  • Changes in environments.

Social Studies:

  • Roles of the citizen.
  • Scarcity.
  • Environment and society.

Ohio 2010 Standards

Science:

  • Science inquiry and application. (K-3)
  • Objects and materials can be sorted and described by their properties. (K)
  • Living things have basic needs, which are met by obtaining materials from the physical environment. (1)
  • Living things cause changes on Earth. (2)
  • Earth’s resources can be used for energy. (3)
  • Some of Earth’s resources are limited. (3)
  • Heat, electricity, light and sound are forms of energy. (3) 

Social Studies:

  • Individuals have shared responsibilities toward the achievement of common goals in homes, schools and communities. (K)
  • Families interact with the physical environment differently in different times and places. (1)
  • Human activities alter the physical environment, both positively and negatively. (2)
  • Individuals make the community a better place by solving problems in a way that promotes the common good. (3)

Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Define plug load item and vampire load.
  • Identify plug load electrical devices in the classroom and in homes.
  • Explain how and why to reduce vampire load to save energy.

Teacher Preparation

Variation: For kindergarten use pictures instead of words as needed. Adapt vocabulary and concepts as appropriate for students.

Introduction

  • Ask students what someone should do if a faucet is dripping (fix it). Ask why (to stop wasting water & money).
  • Tell students that there are “leaky faucets” in the classroom. Allow students to guess what this means. They probably won’t guess, but don’t give the answer.
  • Ask students what electricity is. Tell them it is a kind of energy that we use to turn on lights and things we plug in. In the US most electricity comes from burning coal, a resource found in the earth which will one day run out. Burning coal causes pollution. Tell students they will learn a new way to save energy and protect the earth.

Activities

  • Write “plug load item” and definition on the board: something that you plug into an electrical outlet (point to one). Ask students for an example.
  • Draw or post a picture of a vampire on the board. Write “vampire load” and the definition on the board: the electricity used by plug load items when they are plugged in but not being used.
  • Give an example from the classroom. Ask students for more examples. Then ask students why they think this is called vampire load.
    • Optional: write “phantom load” and “stand-by load” on the board and tell them these are synonyms (remind them of the definition of synonym if needed).
  • Explain that the small amount of energy used by vampire load adds up over a year to waste a large amount of energy and money, like a dripping faucet.
    • Ask students why it is important not to waste energy. Review where energy comes from and how it affects the earth.
    • Ask students why we should get rid of the “vampires” if it is only a small amount of energy. What would happen if everyone did their part to reduce vampire load?
  • Explain that students will find the “vampires” in the classroom.
  • Break students into small groups. Give each group a piece of blank paper and ask them to draw or write the name of every plug load item (or “vampire”) they can find in the room. Remind students not to touch these items or the outlets.
    • Some possible items are computers, printers, scanners, copiers, coffee pots, microwaves, CD or DVD players, clocks, lamps, fans, televisions, electric pencil sharpeners, chargers, space heaters, etc.
  • As a class, make a list of all the “vampires” students found.
    • Point out that “vampires” that display a light, time, or message use the most electricity even when turned off. If possible show an example (printer, coffee pot, microwave, pencil sharpener, etc.).
  • Ask students how they could get rid of the “vampires.” (Unplug “vampires” when they are not being used.) Remind them never to touch a power strip or outlet, but to ask an adult for help.
    • Possible discussion point: it is not possible for all plug load things to be unplugged. We can live with minimal vampire load, especially if we reduce it where we can.
  • In groups, as a class, or individually, students should write a school announcement explaining what vampire load is and how to reduce it. Have students or staff read the announcements over the PA. (For kindergarten have students dictate announcement as a class for teacher to record).

Extensions

Students may write an explanation of vampire load and how to reduce it and read it to their families.

Closing

After reviewing the lesson, ask students what “vampires” may be in their homes. Encourage students to ask an adult to unplug at least one “vampire” when it’s not being used.