Science & Technology

Environment

Lessons Plans

Environmental Justice
Elementary   Middle school   High school
Source: Teaching Tolerance
Uses maps and graphs to explore how some natural disasters like the Gulf Oil Spill disproportionately affect people of color and those who live in poverty.
Grade Level: elementary -high school
Subject Area: social studies, geography


Reporting on Environmental Racism
Source: Teaching Tolerance
Explores the concept of environmental racism using print sources.
Grade Level: Middle -high school
Subject Area: social studies, science, health


Trash Conflicts: An Integrated Science and Social Studies Curriculum on the Ethics of Disposal

Authors: Amy Ballin with Jeffrey Benson and Lucile Burt
Source: Educators for Social Responsibility, 1993
A comprehensive teacher’s guide incorporating a variety of activities, handouts, and readings that help teachers integrate environmental education across subject areas, including science, English, and social studies. As a self-contained or team-taught unit, it can be used in a variety of settings ranging from schools to community centers.
Price: About $35
Grade Level: Middle school – adult
Subject Area: social studies, science, events


Speak Truth to Power: Wangari Maathai
Source: Speak Truth to Power Curriculum, RFK Center
Activities based on an interview with the founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.
Grade Level: middle school
Subject Area: science, environmental studies


Water and Environment
Source: Teach UNICEF
Multiple grade-appropriate lessons focus on water and sanitation as a human necessity and the effects of lack of water on children around the world.
Grade Level: pre-K – high school
Subject Area: social studies


Books

Aani and the Tree Huggers
Based on a true story from India in the 1970s. Aani and her community rely on the trees in their forest for their survival. When men come and start cutting down the trees, Aani takes drastic action to save the trees…and her village.

  • Author: Jeannine Atkins
  • Source: Lee & Low Books, 1995
  • Price: about $9
  • Grade Level: Upper elementary
  • Subject Area: science, ecology
  • Teaching guides available here.

 


A River Ran Wild

An environmental history of the Nashua River, from its discovery by Indians through the polluting years of the Industrial Revolution to the ambitious clean-up that revitalized it.

  • Author: Lynn Cherry
  • Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1992
  • Price: Variable
  • Grade Level: upper elementary
  • Subject Area: Science, social studies, geography, ecology
  • Lesson plans available from ScholasticReadWriteThink, and California Lutheran


Video

Chasing Ice 
Director: Jeff Oriowski
, Source: Submarine Deluxe, 2012
Description: Time-lapse cameras capture a multi-year record of the world’s “dying glaciers.” Teacher’s guides:  Several available from Chasing Ice, Climate Generation, and Docs for Schools.
Time: 75 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult


A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet

Director: Mark Kitchel, Source: Bullfrog Films
Documentary of the development of the environmental movement. Teacher’s guide available on the DVD.
Time: 53 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult


Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Director: Lisa Merton, Alan Dater, Source: PBS
The story of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups, and follows Maathai, the movement’s founder and the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Prize. Modules and lesson plans available from PBS.
Time: various
Grade Level: middle school – adult

 

FOOD

Lesson Plans

Chocolate Curriculum
Source: Global Exchange
This nine-lesson curriculum examines fair trade chocolate production and consumption and the way consumer choices affect people around the world.
Grade Level: elementary school
Subject Area: social studies, health, science


Exploring Food Justice

Source: Exploring Food Justice
The five lessons in this curriculum include looking at food sources, eating on a budget, hunger and privilege, taking action against food injustice.
Grade Level: elementary
Subject Area: social studies, science


Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger

Source: UN Cyberschoolbus
Each three lesson-unit provides learning activities on defining hunger, malnutrition, and food security. Includes an interactive forum, maps, and information on healthy eating.
Grade Level: elementary, middle, and high school
Subject Area: social studies, science, health, geography

Food and You
Source: Earth Day Network
Explores the connection between the sources of food and waste. Defines sustainability using oranges and orange juice. Simple graphing of results.
Grade Level: elementary
Subject Area: social studies, science


Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum

Source: Grassroots International
This curriculum includes four modules with a collection of education-for-action exercises and factsheets that emphasizes informed activism.
Grade Level: high school – adults
Subject Area: social studies, environmental studies


Food Insecurity

Source: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
This  multi-lesson unit defines and explores food security as a human right. Using videos about India, Nigeria, and Guatemala. Ideas for research and local exploration.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: Social studies, science, geography, environmental studies

 

HEALTH

Lesson Plans

The Edge of Joy: Combating Maternal Mortality in Nigeria
Source: Pulitzer Center
Lesson plan with video that examines the social, cultural, religious, and human resource factors contributing to maternal deaths and the work being done to reverse the current trend. Demonstrates the interrelated factors that create the right to health for women.
Grade Level: high school – adult
Subject Area: health, social studies, geography, women’s studies

 

Fighting Disease: Health at the End of the Millennium
Source: UN Cyberschoolbus
A seven-lesson unit with learning activities that focus on global health. See especially Unit 4, “Poverty: Breeding Ground for Disease.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, health, science

 

Health and Human Rights
Source: Against the Odds
Uses case studies to explore health as a basic human right.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, science

 

Heroes of AIDS in the Caribbean
Source: Pulitzer Center
A five-lesson unit that involves students in research on the AIDS crisis in different parts of the Caribbean, comparing responses, resources, attitudes, and outcomes. A study in the right to health.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, health, current events

 

Speak Truth to Power – Loune Viaud
Source: Speak Truth to Power Curriculum, RFK Center
Activities based on the Loune Viaud’s story of establishing healthcare systems in Haiti.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: science, environmental studies, health

 

Right to Health Toolkit
Type: Source: Advocates for Human Rights
Multi-faceted educational tool with background information, lesson plans, action opportunities, resources and more to help students learn about the right to health in the United States.
Grade Level: middle school – adult
Subject Area: social studies, science, current events


Understanding the Right to Health
Source: Human Rights: Yes! Action and Advocacy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Participants discuss what is necessary for good health and the government’s responsibility in ensuring the health of its people.
Grade Level: high school – adult
Subject Area: health, social studies, and government


Video

Rx for Survival – A Global Health Challenge
Producer: PBS
A series of videos about global health. Program 5 “Back to Basics” makes the connection between health and the enjoyment of human rights. Accompanying lesson plans available.
Time: 6 2-hour programs
Grade Level: middle school – adult

 

HIV/AIDS

Lesson Plans

AIDS: Responding to a Health Crisis
Source: PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly
Compares how different countries/cultures deal with AIDS, especially how attitudes and values about behaviors associated with AIDS affect the choices leaders and governments make in trying to treat and contain the disease.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, health, science, current events


AIDS: Who’s at Risk?

Source: Discovery Education
Uses Internet research to gather factual information about populations vulnerable to HIV. Leads to action to raise awareness about HIV prevention.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, health, science


Heroes of AIDS in the Caribbean

Source: Pulitzer Center
Five lesson unit that involves students in research on the AIDS crisis in different parts of the Caribbean, comparing responses, resources, attitudes, and outcomes. A study in the right to health.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, health, current events

 


HIV/AIDS

Source: CDC Science Ambassador Program
Uses scientific research information to correct misconceptions, answer learning guides, and present posters on topics associated with HIV/AIDS. A review activity allows students to work together to summarize key points about HIV/AIDS, while simulating the contagiousness of a virus throughout the class.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: biology


HIV/AIDS Lessons and Activity Plans
Source: AVERT: Averting HIV and AIDS
Provides a number of activities designed for use with groups and aim to be effective by involving young people. Suitable for use with a wide range of young people but adaptable for use with younger and older age groups. Organized by available time. Covers facts, attitudes, prevention, and transmission.
Grade Level: elementary – adult
Subject Area: social studies, health, science


Mythbusters: HIV Transmission
Source: CDC Science Ambassador Program
A scientific introduction to HIV/AIDS. Emphasizes the communicability of viruses, the distinction between a virus and a disease, and correction of misinformation associated with HIV/AIDS.
Grade Level: middle school
Subject Area: health, science

 

Video

AIDS at 30: Who’s at Greatest Risk of Infection?
Producer: PBS Newshour
A history of the pandemic from its first appearance to contemporary efforts to find a cure.
Time: 12:40 minutes
Grade Level: middle – high school

 

WATER

 Earth’s Freshwater
Source: National Geographic
Seven-Unit Curriculum that explores the importance of water with vivid visuals, maps, and case studies. See especially Chapter 6, “Water and Human Communities.”
Grade Level: upper elementary
Subject Area: science, social studies


Exploring Downstream: Water Resources
Source: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Lesson Plan with multiple learning activities that uses videos to explore “water wars” between Kenya and Ethiopia, effects of climate change in South Asia, and desertification in China. Extension exercises for math, action, and research.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: Social studies, science, geography, environmental studies


The Global Water Crisis
Source: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Lesson Plan with multiple learning activities that uses World Water Day videos to discuss the growing global crisis in access to water. Offers research and action ideas
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: Social studies, science, geography


Human Rights and Sanitation
Source: Water-Aid
Curriculum with 7 lessons that differentiates between needs and wants and relates human needs to human rights. Links sanitation and water to basic needs. Developed in UK but easily adaptable.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, science


Rights to a Clean Environment Toolkit
Source: Advocates for Human Rights
A multi-faceted educational tools with background information, lesson plans, action opportunities, and resources that analyze the right to a clean environment in the United States. Includes K-2 lesson on the Right to Water.
Grade Level: K-12
Subject Area: social studies, current events


A Rights to Safe, Clean Water for Everyone?
Source: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Lesson Plan with multiple learning activities that explore different attitudes toward water as a human right, inviting evaluation of sources and research on global and local water issues.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: Social studies, science, geography


The Water Crisis: Lesson Plans for All Graces
Source: The Water Project
See especially the lesson “Dirty Water – So What?” which explores the potential impact of dirty water on hunger, poverty, education, and health.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, geography, science


Water on First Nation Reservation

Source: Development a Global Perspective for Educators
Using a Manitoba First Nations community news story, considers running water and sanitation as a human rights issue. Easily adapted to US context.
Grade Level: middle school
Subject Area: social studies, environmental studies, language arts


Water.Org

Source: Water.Org
Multiple lessons at every level regarding the global water crisis.
Grade Level: elementary-high school
Subject Area: social studies, science, environmental studies

 

Books

Our World of Water: Children and Water Around the World
Shows the relationship with water of six children around the world and its importance in their lives

  • Author: Beatrice Hollyer
  • Publisher: Holt and Company, 2009
  • Grade Level: elementary
  • Subject Area: social studies, science, geography

 

Videos

Water Changes Everything
Producer: Charity: Water
Brief review of the causes and solutions of the global water crisis. See available lesson plan.
Time: 3 ½  minutes
Grade Level: middle – high school