A Problem Based Learning Unit on Environmental Stewardship

Beth Kerr, 1st Grade, Bain Elementary

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit will integrate standards from science and social studies to have students learn about how people impact their environment and steps that can be taken to reduce that impact in their own community.  Students will begin by analyzing the Dr. Seuss story The Lorax, noticing how the environments change in the book with the actions of the characters.  This study will help students to think deeply about how the characters interact with the environment and the consequences of their decisions.  Students will then take an in depth look into our natural resources, regarding how they are used and how they are replenished.  Students will study how their resources take years to replenish and what we can do to reduce the amount we use.  Experts from different community management areas will be invited to speak with students about how the community handles issues such as waste management and recycling.  Students will explore ways these issues can be improved upon.  Students will present their findings to an audience at the conclusion of their study.  We will be utilizing many problem-based learning strategies and protocols to analyze their projects and to prepare for presentations.   Students will be using their science notebooks to document their progress with their projects, with a specific focus on using Write to Learn strategies.  These integrated activities may be adapted for later grades.