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This ESD resource uses lessons learned from the Gulf oil spill to promote environmental stewardship. Classroom activities examine the implications of society's reliance on oil and encourage students to do their part in protecting our planet's water.
Using the internet, classroom and library resources, students explore some of the different forms petroleum takes on as a component or ingredient in various manufactured products as well as some of the health and environmental concerns associated with the use and disposal of these products. Finally, students explore connections between the Gulf oil spill and consumer choices and suggest ways to minimize the harmful effects of petroleum and petroleum-derived products.
The lesson is divides into five parts- Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate. A brief description of each part follows:
Engage: In pairs or groups, students are given a list of "Common Consumer Products" and asked to identify those which might contain petroleum-derived components. A class discussion ensues and groups are asked to come to consensus on each item. Students then discuss what petroleum is, where it comes from, how people use it, and the role that it plays in the items on the list.
Explore: Working in groups students use the Internet to research one of the consumer products from their list to identify the ingredients derived from petroleum as well as the health/environmental concerns associated with each one. They are asked to consider the creation, transportation, use and disposal of the selected item. Groups present information to the class.
Explain: Discussion questions encourage students to consider ways through which humans can reduce or minimize the negative effects petroleum-derived products on human health and the environment. Students also explore the larger issue of our petroleum-dependent economy.
Extend: Students read and summarize articles which focus on strategies for reducing oil consumption. They are then organized into two groups- those who advocate for the use of petroleum products because they make our lives easier and those who oppose their use. Groups are given additional research time prior to debating the issue. Finally students write a report on a specific aspect of petroleum use.
Evaluation: Students are given evaluation questions to focus attention on the need to make personal changes that will reduce their dependency on petroleum and petroleum-based products. They are also asked to reflect on how the products they use are related to the Gulf oil spill.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
Students are given information on common consumer products containing petroleum products and the environmental risks associated with oil extraction, refining, and transporting and asked to draw their own conclusions. The points of view of government, oil companies, and environmental activists were not included.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The resource links the environmental issue of oil pollution to society's economic dependence on oil and oil-based products.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The approach promotes dialogue and discussions within groups of students. Although it does not examine all aspects of the issue, it encourages open-ended solutions and relates environmental problems associated with oil and oil products to individual lifestyle choices.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
Group discussions do provide some opportunities to clarify and express values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Empathy is fostered for those whose lives and livelihoods were negatively impacted by the Gulf oil spill.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Satisfactory|
Although there is so out-of-doors experience, the resource does encourage the value in caring for the planet.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The resource emphasizes the question- " What is the connection to me?" This brings relevance to the learner.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The resource uses the environmental catastrophes caused by the BP oil spill to bring attention to the risks of offshore drilling. Students are asked to play a role in implementing measures to decrease our dependency on oil, so the need to continue this "high-risk" drilling in the future will lessen.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are encouraged to consider and develop their own thoughts, opinions, and solutions for reducing their dependency on petroleum and petroleum-based products.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although primarily a science-based activity, there are also learning opportunities in geography and language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
There are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners and reading levels could be a problem for some students. It does address both the cognitive and affective domains.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Poor- no experiential learning opportunities
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Poor-Reflection questions are provided but tools to capture formative and summative information about student learning must be developed by the teacher.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Relevant information is provided but case studies lack detail and thorough descriptions.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
The program content is mostly provided by the teacher but students do get the opportunity to choose elements of the program in some lessons.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|