How can we reduce our negative impact on the environment? What methods help us sustain and even improve the environment? What factors harm our environment and what can we do about them? The design process throughout this unit examines human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact. Student teams will investigate minimizing the impact of humans on water usage, land usage, and/or pollution in the environment. They will explore school impact on energy use, self-monitor and report use of electricity, water, and recycling, calculate the Carbon footprint of every student at their school and create a school plan to minimize that impact. In the final Design Challenge students will choose a problem to monitor/study, present the problem with data, and then design a solution and monitor the results. This unit gives students insights into how they can make positive environmental improvements for their future.
- Given a problem related to human impact on the environment, students use scientific information and principles to generate a design solution that:
- Addresses the results of the particular human activity.
- Incorporates technologies that can be used to monitor and minimize negative effects that human activities have on the environment.
- Identify relationships between the human activity and the negative environmental impact based on scientific principles, and distinguish between causal and correlational relationships to facilitate the design of the solution.
- Students define and quantify, when appropriate, criteria and constraints for the solution, including:
- Individual or societal needs and desires.
- Constraints imposed by economic conditions (e.g., costs of building and maintaining the solution).
- Students evaluate potential solutions:
- Students describe how well the solution meets the criteria and constraints, including monitoring or minimizing a human impact based on the causal relationships between relevant scientific principles about the processes that occur in, as well as among, Earth systems and the human impact on the environment.
- Students identify limitations of the use of technologies employed by the solution.
In the Empathy phase of Lesson 1 students develop their understanding of their own energy usage by collecting and analysing data by creating a graph to display their energy usage at school at at home. In Lesson 2 students self-report and calculate their use of natural resources in service of electricity, water, and waste production. Students will practice using single digit and double digit multiplication with decimals. In the Define phase of Lesson 3 students use a carbon footprint calculator to find their own carbon footprint, and use an algorithm to multiply across the carbon footprint of all students at their school, and result in creating a school plan to minimize impact. The final Design Challenge (Ideate, Prototype, and Test phases) of Lesson 4 asks students to design a solution to help reduce their negative impact on the environment. Students will then monitor, collect data, and iterate on their design.