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Unit 1: Fishing For The Future
Through a fishing simulation, students model several consecutive seasons of a fishery and explore how technology, population growth, and sustainable practices impact fish catch and fisheries management. As the students progress through the fishing seasons, they will likely overfish their oceans and will have to migrate to other oceans to meet their basic needs.
Unit 2: Fish-Finding Mission
Students engage in a fact-finding mission to discover information about global fisheries and aquaculture trends. During this online scavenger hunt, they will also consider specific ways to promote the sustainability of ocean resources.
Unit 3: Debris? Oh Me!
Through a simulation activity, students experience some of the challenges and impacts of marine debris and devise solutions for marine debris removal and prevention.
Unit 4: Get The Word Out
During this 2-day activity, students compile known facts and student-designed solutions in a brochure about marine debris prevention and removal. This brochure can be distributed to students, teachers, and parents to get the word out about the impact of marine debris and solutions.
Unit 5: Watch Where You Step
Students identify the components of an Ecological Footprint by creating a web diagram of all the resources they use in their everyday lives and the mark or “footprint” this consumption leaves on the environment. The activity emphasizes the interconnectedness of lifestyle, population, and environmental impacts, and focuses on solutions to reduce Ecological Footprints.
Students research and discuss marine debris impacts and solutions, write a resolution addressing management of marine debris, and present their resolutions at a mock city council meeting.
Unit 7: Is It Sustainable?
Students define and discuss sustainability and its 3 key components: the economy, the environment, and society. Students brainstorm, analyze, and write about the sustainability of a variety of actions taken by individuals, businesses, and governments, using a Venn diagram to help organize the process.
Reading 1: Understanding Sustainability & Environmental Resources
Students learn how the three major components of sustainability (environment, society, and economy) are interconnected.
Reading 2: Economic Indicators of Progress
Students consider how the well-being or quality of life of people around the world are tied to environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability.
Reading 3: The Ocean Planet
Students learn about pollution and marine debris and how humans can impact ocean health.
Reading 4: Human Impacts on the Planet
Students learn how each person’s lifestyle and resource consumption choices affect their ecological footprint.
Students learn about the steps that they can take to work toward a locally and globally sustainable future.
The purpose of this unit is to teach important sustainability concepts and their interconnections, including natural resources, human population growth, and resource consumption. Lessons link to relevant and easy-to-implement action projects, including a sustainability audit in which students investigate and make recommendations about their school’s energy, water, trash, and transportation use. Students develop critical thinking and collaboration skills while applying sustainability concepts in their local and global communities.
Issues Covered/Key Concepts:
- Carrying capacity
- Ecological Footprint
- Marine debris
- Personal and structural solutions
- Population growth
- Renewable and nonrenewable resources
- Tragedy of the Commons
Student Skills Developed:
- Critical thinking
- Outreach to school community
Understanding Sustainability can be used as a short unit on global issues or as an engaging contextual framework within which core subjects are taught. Understanding Sustainability is often compatible with existing curriculum requirements and topics and extends students’ learning through an interdisciplinary approach to issues.
To complement Understanding Sustainability, this section contains background information and additional resources to help educators and students learn more about global issues and sustainability.