Investigating and acting on local environmental problems

Age: 12-15 years

In this lesson, centered on environment and sustainability, students must identify, discuss and act on environmental issues that exist in the school area or in the places where they live.

The seriousness of the environmental issues affecting our society needs citizens that are well informed and empowered to take appropriate actions about such issues. Some issues happen just near our school and our homes. So, all of us can have a very positive role in trying to contribute to the solution of these problems.

1. Gain Attention

To complete this activity you will have to:

  • Work in a group of four students.
  • Identify one environmental problem in the school area or near your home.
  • Collect some visual data about such problem (photos and/or videos) using cameras or mobile phones.
  • Investigate the causes of that environmental problem.
  • Post the visual data and the results of your investigation in a blog (using Posterous).
  • Involve all your classmates in an online discussion (using your blog) about possible ways to contribute to its resolution.

2. Inform learners of objectives

In this activity you will

  • investigate environmental issues affecting the places where you live.
  • learn how to use digital cameras or mobile phones to record photos and videos.
  • learn how to build a blog to present and discuss data and ideas.
  • present and discuss ideas.
  • involve in activism on local environmental issues using Web2.0 tools.

3. Stimulate Recall of Prior Knowledge

In your opinion, what is an environmental issue?
Do we have any power to solve those problems?
How can we use Web2.0 tools in environmental activism?

4. Provide guidance for learning

  • Identify an environmental problem that your group considers particularly serious in your community.
  • Organize your group members in order to collect: a) photos; b) videos; c) data regarding the causes of the problem; d) information about possible ways to solve the problem.
  • Go to the link and create a blog for your group. Associate all the team members to the blog.
  • Register the e-mail address that you must use in order to publish your posts. Remember that to post in your blog you just have to send e-mails: the subject of your message will be the title of your post; the text of your message will be the text of your post; the attachments (photos, videos, etc.) will be embedded in the blog.
  • Be attentive to the feedback given by your teacher about the blog you are preparing. Use that feedback to make some changes to the blog that you consider important.
  • Send your posts to the blog, presenting the problem and inviting your classmates to suggest ways of acting on those problems in order to solve them. Be sure that you can convince them to participate.
  • Each student must participate (post) in the blog of at least three different groups. Try to choose the blogs that have less comments/posts/suggestions.
  • The members of each group must comment all the posts to their blog.

5. Present the material

All the material will be published and discussed in the Posterous blogs.
Before divulging their blog, each group must discuss with the teacher ways of improving it. After that phase, each group must send and e-mail to the other groups with their blog’s address.

6. Elicit performance

The performance will be elicited during the blog’s development and implementation.

7. Provide feedback

During the entire process, students must receive teachers’ feedback about the process and the product. The feedback will be published in the blog as comments.

8. Enhance retention and transfer

Implement some activist initiatives (suggested/discussed in the blogs) involving Web2.0 tools (blogging, webpages, Facebook, etc.) in order to contribute to the solution of some local environmental problems identified during the activity.

Try to conquer colleagues from other classes into your cause.

At the end, each group answer to the following questions in their blog:

  • Did you like this activity?
  • Why or why not?
  • What did you learn with this activity?


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