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Curricula for Global Sustainability Education

Ignite your students' learning and inspire them to take action in their communities with our hands-on, standards-aligned global sustainability curricula!

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Connecting Students to the World: Engaging K-3 Lessons on Literacy, Science, and Social Studies - Lesson Plan PDF
Connecting Students to the World: Engaging K-3 Lessons on Literacy, Science, and Social Studies - Lesson Plan PDF

Teacher Lesson Plan PDF
Connecting Students to the World is an interdisciplinary teacher lesson plan PDF for grades K-3 that engages students desire to learn through hands-on exploration of real-world issues and sustainable solutions. The lessons are designed to develop the critical thinking skills and developmental assets that young people need to thrive at school, at home, and in the world. This research based, teacher-tested resource is aligned with language arts, science, social studies, and Common Core standards in all fifty states for easy integration into core classroom teaching.

  • Grades: K-3
  • Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies, Science 
  • Teacher Lesson Plan PDF: 79 pages
ISBN 9780981557762
Price $6.99

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Free Previews & Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents





Unit 1: Biodiversity & the Natural World

In this series of four activities, students explore the concept of needs versus wants. Through a kinesthetic game, students come to understand how organisms in an ecosystem are connected by their particular needs. The game allows them to experience firsthand the differences between an ecosystem with high biodiversity and one with low biodiversity. In a closing activity, students categorize a variety of ecosystems by their level of biodiversity.

Stories from Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books can be used to illustrate how two endangered species—tigers and snow leopards—are part of two very different ecosystems.


Unit 2: Humans & the Environment

In the first of three activities, students consider how everyday items like water and wooden blocks are made from materials in nature. During a nature walk, students identify both natural and human-made materials and consider how humans impact our environment and why it is important to protect natural resources.

Stories from Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books can be used to illustrate how two different endangered species—mountain gorillas and sea turtles—are affected by human behavior.




Unit 3: Culture & Diversity

The first of four activities in this unit helps students to develop a definition of culture by viewing a variety of cultural images. During a kinesthetic activity, students explore their commonalities and differences. The unit closes with students interviewing each other to learn more about their own culture and the cultures of other students in the class.

Stories from Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books can be used to illustrate how our differences can be something to celebrate. The stories also introduce students to two endangered species: lowland tapirs and chimpanzees.


Unit 4: Responsibility & Teamwork

This series of three activities begins with a role-play in which students work as a group to devise rules to solve a problem. Students explore the ideas of responsibility and teamwork by identifying a problem at their school and determining how they can solve the problem together.

Stories from Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books highlight how teamwork can benefit individuals and groups. The stories also introduce students to two endangered species: Ganges river dolphins and elephants.



Preview Video

Watch this webinar to learn how to use Connecting Students to the World to address important real-world issues in an age-appropriate way. You'll also learn how to support your students in exploring a variety of environmental and social issues from around the world and guide them to seeing how they can be involved in solutions.

Resource Details

Critical Thinking Skills and Developmental Assets

Through this resource students will:

  • Gain critical thinking skills, including problem solving, analyzing information, and working effectively with others. 
  • Learn about their own cultural identity and develop skills to understand cultural differences.
  • Understand the interdependence between humans and the environment, and among living organisms through gathering, analyzing and recording examples.


Lesson Structure

Connecting Students to the World lessons include reading and writing components, group work, and activities that get students out of their seats and engaged in learning. The activities appeal to a range of learning styles in order to reach all learners. Each of the four units in this guide contains the following components:

  • multiple hands-on lessons with step-by-step instructions
  • correlations to national education standards
  • vocabulary
  • critical thinking questions
  • suggested additional resources
  • service learning project ideas

Connecting Students to the World lessons can be used alongside Endangered Species, Empowered Communities (ESEC), a children’s book series by Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books. Each of the eight books was written with the help of young women and children in countries around the world. Proceeds from book sales will benefit nonprofit series contributors working in these countries.

If you want to learn more about the countries featured in the books, background information is provided in an Appendix at the end of this guide. Information is also provided about nonprofit organizations working in each country, along with ideas for how students can support their work.

State Standards

Educator Quotes

 Fabulous resource to support the teaching of content aligned with rigorous critical thinking and literacy-based skills. Also provides multiple opportunities for students to interact with challenging topics in meaningful ways. 

- Emma Graves, K-5 Literacy Consultant, OR and NY

 The topics are important, and tie directly into things we already teach (habitats, needs and wants, rules, and virtues like responsibility). The lessons are well designed with extensions for a variety of content areas, and scaffolded support for early learners (sentence frames, picture cards, etc). 

- Michal Friesen, 1st grade teacher, WA

 Promoting compassion for each other and care of the Earth, the new primary Facing the Future lessons teach basic sustainability relationships and principles in a context relevant to young children. Fabulous! 

- Lori Diefenbacher, Coordinator, Education for Global Sustainability graduate program, Webster University, Missouri

Professional Development

Facing the Future offers the following workshop to help you learn more about Connecting Students to the World:

Connecting Students to the World Webinar

This webinar will lead participants through using Connecting Students to the World to address important real-world issues in an age-appropriate way. Support your students in exploring a variety of environmental and social issues from around the world and guide them to seeing how they can be involved in solutions.

 

Speakers

             To learn more about our webinars, please visit our Webinar page. If you are interested in scheduling a webinar, please contact us.

 

Connecting Students to the World Workshop

Learn about using Connecting Students to the World to build literacy skills, develop global competency, and promote interdisciplinary learning. Designed for for grades K-3 to engage young students in global issues and sustainability, Connecting Students to the World supports young students in seeing challenging ‘grown-up’ issues as opportunities to make a positive difference using the supportive medium of children’s literature. This workshop will lead participants through using Connecting Students to the World to address important real-world issues in an age-appropriate way. Support your students in exploring a variety of environmental and social issues from around the world and guide them to seeing how they can be involved in solutions. Lessons are complemented by suggested children’s books. This teaching resource will provide young students with the building blocks necessary to become future global citizens and change agents.


The lessons in Connecting Students to the World are aligned with language arts, science, and social studies educational standards in all 50 states. Lessons topics include:
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Human-environment interactions
  • Culture and identity
  • Responsibility and teamwork

The lesson plan guide provides age-appropriate instructional materials including:
  • Engaging, hands-on lessons
  • Detailed instructions
  • Reflection question
  • Action project ideas
  • Print and web resources for further information
  • Reproducible handouts

If you are interested in having Facing the Future present at your next event email or call us at 206-264-1503.


Additional Professional Development Opportunities

 

To learn more about our upcoming workshops, webinars, and conferences, please visit our Workshop Calendar. If you are interested in having Facing the Future present at your next, please contact us.

Supplementary Materials

To complement Connecting Students to the World, this section contains background information and additional resources to help educators and students learn more about global issues and sustainability.

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Nonprofit Facing the Future is an international leader whose mission is to create tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future.
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