How big is our impact on the planet?
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How big is our impact on the planet?
Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ASHE135)
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CO2 Emissions per capita - Google Data Explorer

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This resource is accessed through Google’s public data explorer arm. The information is taken from the World Bank and Google compiles it allowing it to be easily compared.
The data chosen shows different CO2 emissions over the past 50 years and can be compared against every country that publishes this data.

Interpreting this information covers a large portion of the working scientifically outcome SC4-7WS as students are required to interpret and manipulate graphs. The layout of the program is very user friendly; users can immediately begin browsing data by changing selections to produce different graphs on the required data. The program uses flash so an instant readout is given and hovering over any point on the graph will bring up a text box with information from that year.
This could allow questions or worksheets to be set for students to find information on a range of different figures. This activity may be too prescribed and some students may not find it engaging so this exercise would depend on whether the focus of the lesson is on graphing or the data itself.
For a less linear activity, students could compare figures from Australia with other countries of their choosing that have dramatically different figures. This could start a dialogue on why this difference exists and be the springboard into a student research project.

This is a suitable resource for a higher level class however student attention spans will limit the time spent on this activity, the page layout is very minimal and other than the Google colours, there are only letters and numbers.

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Environmental Online Game To Learn About Waste Disposal Techniques

Environmental Online Game To Learn About Waste Disposal Techniques | How big is our impact on the planet? | Scoop.it
Here's a great environmental online game to help you learn about waste disposal techniques. Waste disposal is more interesting than you realize!
Gene Keski-Nummi's insight:

Wonderville is a Canadian science awareness website aimed at introducing science to children. The site features activities, games, videos and comics that are aimed at making science fun and interactive.
Waste Avengers is designed as an environmental awareness activity for students to understand what happens to their waste and how it should be treated.

 

 

The program is easily accessible for all learning abilities; all sections are represented with text, audio and animation and are not interdependent allowing students with poor literacy or hearing impairments to be able to engage with the program.
The program is arranged in a simple narrative with a Canadian school student eating lunch, allowing some level of empathy from the students.

This program could be a great opportunity for students to create a waste management system in their school. Students could set up a compost or worm farm that they maintain and that could be used in the future when looking at ecosystems and nutrient flow between trophic levels.

This kind of ongoing activity would be engaging and stimulating and could be a successful method of engaging students from lower ability classes.

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WWF Ecological Footprint Calculator

WWF Ecological Footprint Calculator | How big is our impact on the planet? | Scoop.it
Footprint calculator
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The WWF has compiled this footprint calculator as a public tool for individuals in the community to assess their own ecological footprint.
This activity can be used to start a discussion on how the choices we make impact the rest of our planet.
The site is easy to navigate, walking the user through a series of questions to assess their own impact. With each answer selected, an animation shows a representation of that impact placed next to the user’s avatar making it interesting and engaging for students working through the questions.

This exercise would be ideal at the beginning of a lesson as it gives students a set of figures to work with and evaluate impacts of each activity.
Students could then work on their scorecard, researching ways to lessen their impact.

 

While this is a good resource to use to generate discussion on what is and is not energy and land intensive, it may lead to equity issues between students if it is done as a whole class as each user is given a score at the end.

An alternate to doing personal scores could be for students to predict the footprint of a number of different characters created by the teacher.
These characters would have their own story and represent a spread of different people within our society, allowing students to critique their lives without the process being personal.

Within this SHE outcome, this way of thinking is the end goal of this process so this is an essential online tool that students should be aware of for their education and personal development.

 

Related carbon calculators: http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/AGC/home.html

http://www.cooltheworld.com/kidscarboncalculator.php

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Smog City: Pollution Simulator

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Smog City is a not for profit program developed by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. It allows the user to set the levels for different factors that contribute to air pollution and see how this affects the community showing predicted air quality and UV danger.
With prior learning on air quality, students can use this tool to understand the relationships between weather, human population, industry and different forms of transport and their effects on air quality.

 

As this program is designed for US Americans, it uses the imperial system for temperature however temperature is selected on a graphical representation of a thermometer making it relative to the program.
The simulation only takes a few mins to run and re-run so an accompanying activity is essential.

Simple worksheets could be appropriate however student engagement would not be maintained.
A consecutive questioning exercise and progressive brainstorming activity using the simulation as a stimulus would be the most ideal forms of consolidation after this activity as it raises ideas on how different factors contribute to air pollution.

 

The strongest aspect of this tool is it is a simple model where students receive instant feedback from their decisions. While there are a range of other similar models, more complex inputs are required for them to run or they are heavily based on Microsoft excel and are beyond the capabilities of a stage 4 class.

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Energy 101: Solar Power

Our animated correspondent, 'Little Lee Patrick Sullivan,' continues our "Energy 101" series with an inside look at solar-power technology. He breaks down th...
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YouTube can be used as an effective learning resource to illustrate an idea. This video ‘Energy 101: Solar Power’ explains the basic principles behind solar power with simple and entertaining animation and audio. It is part of a serious of videos on energy, all of which would be relevant to the unit.
The video is aimed at young children however it contains enough information for a stage 4 class, especially if it was used with an accompanying activity.
As the video only runs for three minutes yet has a large amount of dialogue, a cloze passage accompanying it would consolidate the information conveyed in it. As the information is given quickly, the cloze should not focus on students understanding every noun or complex idea and instead change verbs and adjectives to make it more interesting to answer and create more varied responses.

As the text is produced in the United States, it has a North American focus however this does not subtract from its value as a learning resource as the context of the video remains the same.

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