Environmental Dilemma Part 1

By Marchella B., June 29, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School

Category

  • Product Design

Subject Area

  • Science

Lesson Time

225 minutes for classroom activities and 75 minutes for homework

Introduction

The Earth's climate is constantly being threatened by the weakened ozone layer. The students will explore various alternative ways that humans can decrease global warming in the Earth's atmosphere. The students will create a plan or invention to increase clean air.

National Standards

Objectives

Students will be able to understand and address the needs of citizens in a large city.

Resources

United Streaming BrainPop

Materials

  • video on the ozone layer
  • cardboard
  • tape
  • glue
  • pipe cleaners
  • plastic cups
  • rulers
  • large chart paper
  • markers
  • pencils
 

Vocabulary

  • ozone: atmosphere layer at about twenty to thirty feet
  • global warming: an increase in earth's and oceanic temperatures due to the Greenhouse Effect and population growth
  • atmosphere: gaseous mass air around the earth
  • greenhouse effect: warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of a planet
  • ultra violet rays: the sun's rays that are beyond the visible spectrum of light
 

Procedures

1. The students will view a video that highlights the dangers of global warming. Prior to the video the teacher should explain the normal process of the flow of energy throughout the ecosystem (i.e. the water cycle, photosynthesis, etc.). 2. The students are put into groups of three.  Afterward the Challenge is given: Each student has to role play as if they are an ecologist, an engineer, or a scientist. The groups should then discuss the effects of pollution and review possible solutions to solve or decrease it. 3.  Ask students the following questions related to the standards during the challenge: a) What concerns you about the environment? (Pictures, newspaper articles, or news reports can be showed to gain participants interest.) b) Do you think that humans play a big part in pollution? How? c) Have you ever witnessed or cause pollution yourself? If so how? d) What would you like to see change regarding the environment? e) Do you feel that the population has a major effect on the ecosystem. If so how? 4. Investigate: The students will then begin to research and observe population issues within their neighborhood and with the city. Afterward the groups will brainstorm and choose one area of global warming to tackle. Different types of outlines can be utilized such as a flow chart, series chain of effect, continuum scale, problem and solution outline, and network tree. 5. The students will interview individuals in their neighborhood and from the student body. The interviews can be conducted via an online Web site, face to face, or paper survey. The students can conduct the interview in a one-on-one format or in a focus group session.  Students should ask: a) What concerns you about the environment? b) Do you think that humans play a big part in population? How? c) Have you ever witnessed or caused pollution yourself? If so how? d) What would you like to see change regarding the environment? e) Do you feel that the population have a major effect on the ecosystem. If so how? (Note: The interview will address the effect humans have on the ecosystem.) 6. The problem will then be reframed: The students will brainstorm a plan or invention to improve their selected global warming issue.  The students can review articles in the newspaper or search the internet for scientific findings of global concerns. The findings can be combined with local findings to create a plan to improve the state of the ecosystem. The facts and concerns can be listed, recorded, sorted and ranked from low to high. Afterward information collected from the interviews will be complied with the research findings to formulate a main topic of concern. 7. Through discussion and a trial-and-effort process, the problems will then be evaluated and redefined. 8. Generate: The groups will brainstorm on paper their prototypes and outline the design of their plan or invention. Each group will be engaged in discussion during the sketching and model making session. Different types of outlines can be utilized such as a flow chart, series chain of effect, continuum scale, problem and solution outline, and network tree. 9. Edit-develop: The groups will create their prototypes through diagrams and models. The students will present their plans or inventions. 10. Share & Evaluate: The students will continue to discuss their plans and evaluate the pros and cons of their prototype. The groups will discuss the needed materials for the real life ecosystem project. Each material will be analyzed for pros and cons.  Alternate materials will also be considered. The width, speed, weight, and dimensions will also be discussed.  Afterward chart paper outlines will be created to show the process from start to finish.  Also the side, front, bottom, and back will be outlined and labeled. 11. Finalize: Alternate solutions will be discussed and outlined.  Different types of outlines can be utilized such as a flow chart, series chain of effect, continuum scale, problem and solution outline, and network tree. 12. Articulate: The groups will create their 3D models or detailed plan based on their outlines.  The materials, dimensions, and process from start to finish should be detailed.

Assessment

Students will be observed and questioned before, during, and afterward. The students will present their plans/inventions and describe the ways they will decrease Global Warming. Performance Expectations:
  • Given data on increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, lists both positive and negative effects of this carbon dioxide buildup (NS12, proficient)
  • Given data on increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, lists positive and negative effects of this buildup and science-based actions people might take to reduce or prepare for any negative effects (NS12, advanced)

Enrichment Extension Activities

A school-wide or community ecology club can be created to raise awareness of Global Warming issues and to gain the community’s support to decrease Global Warming.

Teacher Reflection

My students designed a solar-powered refrigerator, an exhaust engine, a rocket, and a robot.  All these inventors were to designed to replenish the "bad" air into reusable clean air.  The students overall enjoyed the planning process. However, next time I will allow more time for researching types of filters to broaden their awareness of air filtration.

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