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Teacher Guide

Environmental Concerns in the Community

By Mary Howland, Beth Fensterwald, Steven Caringella
Meet the Authors

"How do we become aware of local environmental concerns and what can we do to make a difference?"
 Overview


 Understandings
and Standards


 Activities


 Resources


 Student Guide



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Overview

Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Curriculum Areas:
Focus: English/Language Arts
Secondary: Reading, Science, Math, History/Social Science, Geography, Technology

Topic:
Environmental Concerns in the Community

Themes:
Citizenship in the Community, Community, Environment, Habitats, Persuasive Writing, Pollution, Report Writing, Scientific Inquiry

Duration:
September through March
Summary
Students from three schools in grades four, five, and eight collaborate to answer the essential question: How do we become aware of local environmental concerns and what can we do to make a difference? Each class contributes a key component to be shared by all. Fourth graders will collect water quality data from a local creek while fifth and eighth graders will research wetland and other environmental problems and write persuasive essays that advocate action toward correcting them. Eighth graders will compose poems and newspaper articles as well. As the culminating project, the fifth graders will use information from the other two classes to produce radio public service announcements that promote environmental awareness and protection. The final products of the activities in this project can be found at www.ourenvironmentproject.org.

Rationale
Though our three schools are located 18 miles apart, we all live in a heavily populated interface between surrounding mountains and the San Francisco Bay that poses unique environmental concerns. Students need to become aware of how people impact this environment, how we can scientifically monitor its health, and how we can use the power of words to promote environmental action.

This collaboration enables English-learners, special education students, and mainstream students from different schools to communicate with one another to discover the difference they can make toward environmntal protection.