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


Title: Ecology

Author: Sarah White

Grade Level: 9-12

Subject/Content: Social Studies / United States Government / Current Issues

Summary of Lesson: Students will learn what the Kyoto Protocol is and examine the decision of the United States to not sign the agreement.

Focus Question: Should the United States sign the Kyoto Protocol? What are alternative options to protect the global environment?

Databases(s): Gale Virtual Reference Library, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, General Reference Center


  • This lesson may be directly integrated with a Biology or Environmental Science class or can be incorporated into a Social Studies unit on the environment and government policy.

Steps / Activities by the teacher: 

  • Provide students with an overview of the Kyoto Protocol (information available at the Gale Virtual reference Library in the article "Kyoto Protocol / Treaty").  Discuss the pros and cons of the treaty with students; brainstorm a list of reasons why the U.S. would not sign the treaty. 
  • Ensure that students will have computer access to Gale databases for the student led portion of the lesson.
  • InfoMark the articles listed below in the Gale databases for student access.  (More information and directions on how to use InfoMarks can be found at http://www.gale.com/infomarks/)
    • Gale Virtual Reference Library "Global Warming Policy Making" and "Quitting the Kyoto Protocol: The United States Strikes Out Alone"
    • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center "US Should Support the Global Climate Treaty" and "The International Community Must Act Together"
    • General Reference Center - Many relevant articles available

Steps/Activities by student(s):

  • Create a chart with the headings pros, cons and additional information.
  • Access and read  the InfoMarked articles and use the information in them to complete the chart.
  • After completion of the chart students will answer the following in essay format: "Do you agree or disagree with the U.S. decision to not sign the Kyoto Protocol?  Explain in detail using information from your chart."

Outcome: Students will gain knowledge into the Kyoto Protocol, evaluate it and propose alternate solutions to the issue.

Related Activities: Devise an alternate plan that protects the environment but that you feel the U.S. would ratify.  Explain why you think your plan may work.

Standard Date: Approved

Content Standard(s):

  • Describe and assess ways that historical events have been influenced by and have influenced, physical and human geographic factors in local, regional, national and global settings.
  • Propose, compare and evaluate alternative policies for the use of land and other resources in communities, regions, nations and the world.
  • Prepare a public policy paper and present and defend it before an appropriate forum in school or community.
  • Analyze the causes, consequences and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary and emerging global issues, such as health, security, resource allocation, economic development and environmental quality.

Performance Indicators:

  • At Level 1, the student is able to:
    • Identify and describe the Kyoto Protocol.
  • At Level 2, the student is able to:
    • Explain the benefits and drawbacks of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • At Level 3, the student is able to:
    • Evaluate whether or not they agree with the US decision to not sign the protocol and develop an alternate plan.

Computer Literacy and Usage Standards 9-12:

  • The student will demonstrate proficiency in the care and use of computer based technology.
  • 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

  • Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publication, communication and productivity.
  • Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem solving and decision making in content learning.

Information Power; Information Literacy Standards:

  • 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 7: The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society.
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