WHERE FICTION AND REALITY MEET
From Pristine to Earth
1. Use visual media. This includes news and videos available on the Internet or through other venues. The media offers a wealth of information about the environment for teachers and students. Some government websites have sections dedicated to teaching children about various environmental topics, including those related to health, energy, air, water, recycling, ecosystems, and climate change. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Students for the Environment webpage where young people can learn about the environment by playing games. They also can find a wealth of ideas for science fair project ideas. This site also has teacher resources and lesson plans for teaching about the environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a Fun for Kids webpage with weblinks containing teacher lesson plans and educational resources pertaining to the Earth’s oceans and climate. The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has a Teach and Learn webpage with helpful teacher and student resources for teaching how the Department manages the land, water and wildlife in the United States. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Energy Kids webpage has fun games and facts for learning concepts about energy sources, consumption, and conservation. The EIA also has helpful teacher lesson plans. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Climate Resources and Climate Kids webpages have informative data concerning, the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change. The Climate Kids webpage is especially resourceful with hands-on activities for children learning about climate change and how it affects various species.
2. Use hands-on demonstrations. For example, when teaching about chemical safety, teachers may consider using the Chemical Safety Resource for Middle School Teachers lesson. As part of the assignment, students do an inventory of the household chemicals and cleaners found around their homes with parental supervision. The students learn what makes a chemical toxic and explain why chemical safety is important as a means of pollution prevention. The EPA’s Wastes – Educational Materials webpage has three units on waste, including facts and activities, such as composting and recycling activities. Other examples of hands-on demonstrations include the Washington Department of Ecology's A-Way with Waste Resources webpage, which offers various lesson plans with demonstrations. Teachers, interested in an activity where students will learn about different types of plastic pollution in the ocean and the affect on marine life, may want to check out the activity posted on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) webpage, You are What You Eat: Plastic and Marine Life.