Thursday, January 6, 2011

Humans and the Environment

Part of our third grade social studies unit this month discusses how humans have adapted to their environment. To provide some creativity and critical thinking to this topic, I am having the students create a slide show discussing the damage these adaptations have on our environment. While we are using Power Point, any slide show medium would work. 
We began the lesson with a general class discussion on what humans have added to the environment in order to live here and why, and then what have we taken from the environment in order to live here and why. As the conversation progressed, the ideas flowed! I was especially impressed with one student who knew that we use coal to produce electricity. After the discussion, each student completed a table listing things we have added to/taken from the environment and why. Even though we just discussed this as a class, individual learning does not always take place in this atmosphere. Finally, we shared our lists and took notes from each other.

Each student picked one item from either list to use as the topic of their slide show. The requirements are to have four slides as follows:
  • Title slide
  • Topic slide with information on what their topic consists of and why humans do this
  • Effect on the Environment slide with information on how human actions affect the environment
  • Solutions slide with their recommendations to lesson our impact on the environment.
Possible extensions for this project include researching adaptations animals make to survive or adaptations we would have to make if we lived in other countries of the world. The project was intentionally short as we have four 45-minute class periods and I wanted to leave the fourth class for practicing presentation skills. We are also leaving time to add creativity to our slide shows and collaborate a little within similar topics. So far the students are enthused both about the topic and about creating the slide show!
"Birch Trees in Winter" by lmorowski, 12/2010


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