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Learn to recycle, reduce, reuse and revere with Environmental Resources from Gale

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint to Help the Environment

Author: Sarah White

Grade Level: Upper Elementary (3 – 6), could be adapted for younger grades

Subject/Content: Social Studies / Science

Summary of Lesson: Students assess their family’s carbon footprint and brainstorm ways they could reduce it.

Focus Question: How can individuals and families help reduce waste, conserve energy and improve the environment?

Database(s): Global Issues in Context, Gale Virtual Reference Library (eBooks)

Procedures:

  1. Introduce students to the concept of a carbon footprint. Teachers may use the article “Carbon Footprint” from the eBook Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change (found in Gale Virtual Reference Library) as a reference, or have older students read the information independently.
  2. Arrange to play podcasts listed below (both found at the Carbon Footprint section of the Environment and Climate Change Portal of Gale Global Issues in Context online resource).
    1. Turkey Dinner’s Carbon Footprint
    2. NFL Plans to Offset Super Bowl's Carbon Footprint
      • During this podcast students should focus on these two questions and answer them as a class following the podcast:
        • Why does the Superbowl have such a big environmental impact? Provide specific examples.
        • What is the NFL doing to lessen the impact?
  1. Provide directions to families to complete the “What’s my carbon footprint?” assessment with their child. The link to this activity can be found at the Carbon Footprint section of the Environment and Climate Change Portal of Gale Global Issues in Context online resource.
  2. Provide students with large sheets of paper, crayons / markers and a foot outline.

Steps/Activities by student(s):

  1. Students learn what a carbon footprint is by reading the brief article provided by the teacher or by listening to the teacher’s overview.
  2. Students will listen to the two podcasts listed above and then create a flowchart showing the environmental impact of an activity in their own lives.
  3. As homework students should complete the “What’s my carbon footprint?” assessment with their parent(s).
  4. The following day students will create a large footprint outline and fill it with pictures and / or keywords that explain what their family does to leave a carbon footprint.
  5. Students will then create a smaller footprint outline showing things their family could do to reduce their carbon impact.

Outcome: Students will have a specific plan to help the state of the environment.

Related Activities: Students may write follow-up journals describing their progress in reducing their carbon footprint and may later re-assess their footprint to see how it has changed.

Standard Date: April 10, 2009

Content Standard(s):

  • What are the responsibilities of citizens?
  • What dispositions or traits of character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy?
  • How can citizens take part in civic life?
  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding Populations, resources, and environments
  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding Risks and benefits
  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding Science and technology in society

Performance Indicators:

  • At Level 1, the student is able to:
    • Define Carbon Footprint
  • At Level 2, the student is able to:
    • Explain what human activities increase our carbon footprint
  • At Level 3, the student is able to:
    • Take action to reduce their carbon footprint

Computer Literacy and Usage Standards 9-12:

  • The student will develop skills using a variety of computer resources to increase productivity, support creativity, conduct and evaluate research and improve communications.
  • The student will use technology resources to improve problem solving and decision making skills and apply these skills to real world situations.

ISTE NETS for Students

  • locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

Information Power; Information Literacy Standards 1-4:

  • Standard 1: The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
  • Standard 2: The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently.
  • Standard 3: The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
  • Standard 9: The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.
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