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For Educators

Use these companion lesson plans to present the stories and concepts from POV's Borders: Environment to your middle school or high school class.
 
Lesson 1: The first group of lesson plans in each section are meant to be used with the various stories and features on the POV's Borders: Environment website. Each of the three lesson plans focuses on Earth, Water or Air, the three general categories/themes of the POV's Borders: Environment website. The plans offer ideas about how to incorporate website features about hybrid cars (streaming video), a polluted waterway (streaming audio) and the importance of biodiversity and heirloom seeds (interactive game) into your curriculum in a meaningful way.

Lesson 2: The second three lesson plans in each section can be used together as a unit, or separately. All three are designed to facilitate online storytelling and the sharing of pictures. Teachers who utilize these lesson plans, either individually or as a unit, should contact POV so that their class work may be added to this website for use/reference by other classes around the globe. One of the goals of this picture project is for teachers around the world to engage their students in order to facilitate cultural understanding, tolerance and understanding of the global environment in which we live.

The philosophy behind all of these lesson plans is that people who actively take notice of the environment around them and who are engaged in its study will be more likely and better equipped to act as its stewards. This is the goal of these lesson plans — that students and teachers who engage in these activities will take action to sustain healthy living conditions in their local environment and global communities.
 

LESSONS: AIR

LESSON 1: FUEL FOR THOUGHT
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Global climate change is a serious environmental problem that is the direct result of human activity. This lesson plan engages students in a real-life exploration of climate change as it is affected by greenhouse emissions from vehicles. The aim of this activity is for students to realize the impact of vehicle use in their family and to give students the opportunity to brainstorm viable alternatives to this use.

LESSON 2: AIR QUALITY PICTURE PROJECT
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Human activity and industrialization are rapidly altering the quality of our air, both indoors and out, and both locally and globally. The goal of this activity is for students to recognize which activities contribute to poor air quality and which contribute to good air quality. The idea behind this study is that an informed/educated student is more likely to choose activities that contribute positively to the air that we breathe over those which contribute negatively, and is more likely to talk to others about sustainable solutions.

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Teachers...
Please let us know what happened with your students and whether we can share your experiences with other teachers.

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LESSONS: WATER

LESSON 1: WHERE IN THE WATERSHED?
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A watershed is a drainage basin that includes a collection of smaller waterways and water bodies that flow in to a common major waterway or water body. The study of water flow through watersheds is a useful tool for ecologists as this flow carries pollutants, can dilute pollutants, shapes land and influences human activities. This lesson aims to connect students to their watershed by exploring a local water body and mapping its features.

LESSON 2: WATER USE PICTURE PROJECT
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Water is considered by some to be the "blue gold" of today. Though in some areas water is becoming more scarce and polluted, other communities use water as if there were no limit to its supply. Through the use of digital cameras, students will document how water is used in their local communities and explore how those uses impact the local environment.

water drops

LESSONS: EARTH

LESSON 1: THE FOOD WE EAT, THE SEEDS WE SOW
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Food is our most basic necessity: without it, we cannot survive. Although food is basic to our lives, however, there are very complex processes – both biological and cultural – that lead to the vastness of food options we enjoy. This food diversity is a product of seed diversity, and results in cultural diversity. One might even say that seeds are culture – neatly packaged for passing down from generation to generation. This lesson plan aims to explore the importance of seed diversity for cultural and ecological stability/health.

LESSON 2: LAND USE PICTURE PROJECT
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Humans are altering the earth's landscape at rates and in ways never seen in times past. Using a digital camera to document local landscapes as they are today, students will explore how changes in human land use are impacting local environments. Students will also explore some of the social impacts of various land uses in their area.

mountain

About the Author

Terri Carta grew up in Southern California in a family that enjoyed camping and hiking in the region’s backcountry. After completing her undergraduate degree in Ecology at San Diego State University, Terri served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. In this capacity, she developed her skills and interest in environmental education and global community. She then pursued her master’s degree in Ecological Teaching and Learning from the Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University. She now serves as a program manager for the Central Park Conservancy and lives in New York City. Terri is especially interested in fostering connections between people and the natural world in which they live.

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