- Review Process
- Take Action
- A project of
In this three-day lesson students learn about sustainability, the challenges that sustainability problems present and the competencies required to solve them.
Day one focuses on the three pillars of sustainable development. Students consider some of the major sustainability challenges we currently face and why the interaction of these dimensions creates especially complex or ‘wicked’ problems.
On day two students look closely at one such sustainability problem. After watching a video describing e-waste students are guided through a systems-thinking approach to analyze the causes, consequences and potential sustainable solutions.
Students participate in a jigsaw activity on day three to identify the competencies necessary to successfully address sustainability problems. Then, as a culminating activity they prepare and present a comprehensive solution to e-waste in their own communities.
The detailed lesson plan is supported by a slide presentation, and printable handouts for each activity.
NOTE: A link to download the handouts used in Step 5 can be found here
In those courses across the curriculum that address issues in sustainable development, this resource will provide an excellent starting point. It also offers a meaningful way to introduce students to the sustainable development goals.
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||Very Good|
Students are encouraged to listen to and consider all of the information and points of view provided through the activities and group discussions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
A core component of this look at sustainability is the complex interrelationships of these three pillars of sustainability. Systems thinking is explained and practiced.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The case study on e-waste and the attention given to five key competencies needed to successfully address it, highlight the complexity of sustainability problems.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Action planning is one of the key competencies for addressing sustainability problems that the resource focuses on. The follow-through to implementation is not included.
|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
|Values Education||Very Good|
"Values Thinking" is one of the five competencies for addressing sustainability problems that is emphasized in this resource.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Attention given to the Sustainable Development Goals in Step one provides a meaningful opportunity to encourage empathy and respect and promote the value of diversity.
|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|
Activities related to the case study on e-waste should help foster an appreciation for the natural world.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
As a culminating activity students apply the skills/competencies necessary for solving sustainability problems to e-wast solutions in their own communities.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Poor/Not considered|
While a longitudinal lens is absent from the discussion of sustainability, students are provided with an understanding of its promise for the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The resource stresses that issues in sustainability lead to 'wicked' problems with complex solutions requiring multiple competencies.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The resource supports the teaching of content and skills in science, geography and social studies.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
There are a number of guided inquiry activities in which students are provided with questions to explore and various tools to use.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students work individually and in small and large group settings. The lessons are mostly student centered and involve a range of learning approaches.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students are required to apply what they have learned about sustainability to develop solutions to e-waste problems in their own community.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work collaboratively in small groups to develop solutions and present them to the class.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|
A major responsibility of the students is to develop solutions to the e-waste problem and present them to their peers.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
A case study describing the current 'cradle to grave' life cycle of electronics provides the context for the student investigation and action planning.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
Few opportunities are provided.
|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.|