I'm looking for examples of green projects of all sizes--from the classroom level to schoolwide to projects that span the globe. A couple questions for Classroom 2.0 colleagues:
  • How do you get students thinking about their carbon footprint (at home, at school)?
  • Are your students speaking up as advocates on environmental issues they care about?
  • Which digital tools are most useful for your young citizen scientists?
  • Which organizations have you found to be useful for information gathering and connecting with experts?
Thanks in advance for your ideas. I'll be sure to share what I find out!

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Great questions!

I taught a unit on climate change to 4th graders and another cross-curricular unit to 6th graders. Here are some of the things I did:

With the fourth graders, we talked a lot about cause-and-effect. We focused on less waste, re-using, and recycling (because those were things the kids could take ownership of). We spent a couple of days collecting used newspapers, magazines, and other paper (construction paper, notebook paper, etc.). Then, we tore up some of the old paper, mixed it with water, and used screens to create fresh paper. We also created a display on the causes and effects of climate change, using only old newspapers and magazines.

I then had students create iMovies (but you could do any type of digital story) explaining the causes and effects of climate change. The students made the videos for an audience of other kids their age, in an attempt to give them ideas for how they could help.

With 6th graders, they learned about climate change in science class and then worked in groups to design new, energy-efficient machines. In reading class, they researched energy efficient machines that were already in existence (mostly Web research). Then, they came up with their own ideas -- pedals under school desks to power the school with kinetic energy; a water-powered elevator; solar-powered cell phones (this was before these actually exisited). They worked in science class to work out the science of the devices (i.e., how much kinetic power can you create from a rocking chair? How much energy does it take to run a tv? How long would you have to rock to power your tv?). In math class, they figured out their personal carbon footprints (here's a good link) and then created budgets for creating a prototype of their design. In ELA classes, they wrote essays about why their inventions were needed and how they would help reduce greenhouse gases. They also worked on their presentation skills. In social studies, they wrote to legislators about the problem and suggested possible solutions. At the end of the month-long project, the kids presented their inventions in a science-fair-like atmosphere to local energy experts/engineers (we called our local electricity company, and they sent engineers over to judge the presentations).

Lastly, I now work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We're opening a climate change exhibit in two weeks, and we're planning to unroll a Web site, as well as several lesson plans around the same time. Check our Web site after March 29 for resources.

I hope this helps a little.
Katy,
Wow! Jackpot! Thanks so much for sharing these terrific ideas. Your description covers such a nice range--from understanding cause-and-effect in complex systems to designing solutions to advocating for change. Great.
In addition to the web resources you're creating at the aquarium, is there a way for teachers to take kids there on virtual field trips?
Thanks so much--and have fun with your new job. Sounds like a terrific use of your skills and passions.
Cheers,
Suzie
Thanks, Gayle!
I wasn't familiar with Planetfesto--looks terrific! Thanks for sharing. How do your kids respond to being part of a larger community through this activity?
Thanks,
Suzie

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