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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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.