“How Can I Help Reduce Pollution?”

 

 

 

 

A Unit for 3rd Graders

By

Lyndsey Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

Overview and Rationale

Teacher Background Information

Unit Planning Chart

Organization and Subject Matter Overview

Goals and Objectives

Classroom Layout

Learning Activities Bank

Assessment

Appendix

 

 

Overview and Rationale

 

The title of this Unit is “How can I help reduce pollution?”  It has been created for use in the third grade.  The purpose of this unit is to make students aware of social studies issues concerning pollution and to help them recognize some of the things they can do to make a difference within their schools, community, and ultimately the world.  In order for this to happen, students need to know of pollution issues and the affects they have had and do have upon people and the environment.  The NCSS says the primary purpose of the social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good.  Providing students with information concerning pollution, its affects, and what can be done about it, gives students the opportunity to meet the primary purpose of social studies.  The state standards of third grade include showing how environments and communities change over time through the influence of people, and the importance of participation in activities that promote good citizenship.  This unit will provide various activities that will teach environmental and community changes caused by pollution, and provide students with the information they need to address these issues. Making learning meaningful is the core of teaching (Lindquist, 2002; Levstik & Barton, 2001).  This unit will allow students the opportunity to take what they are learning about the effects of pollution and make it meaningful by applying it to their own lives.  They will be able to see how their daily actions contribute to pollution and how they can help prevent it.  They will be participating in various activities and assignments that will let their thoughts be heard and their works be seen.

 

 

Teacher Background Information

 

In order to carry out this unit the teacher must obtain or have access to the necessary information concerning pollution.  This information includes the types of pollution and its causes, how pollution has influenced people and the environment throughout history, evidence as to why some pollution may be necessary, possible future outcomes resulting from pollution and recycling, and the various things people can do to prevent or clean-up pollution.  It is also important to know of, and research, pollution issues that are directly related to the area in which the students you live.  Some resources that teachers may find helpful in obtaining this information include:

 

Websites 

http://nationalgeographic.com

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem

http://www.pollution.com

http://www.recycle.com

 

Books

“50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth?” by The Earth Works Group

“Recycle, A handbook for kids” by Gail Gibbons

“A True Book” series by Rhonda Luca Donald

“Endangered Animals”

“The O-zone Layer”

“Recycling”

“Air Pollution”

 

Unit Planning Chart

 

Social Studies

Teacher Resources

Student Reading/Literature

Math

Science

•The influences of pollution on people in the past and today.

•How to prevent pollution.

•Types of pollution.

•Causes of pollution.

•How pollution influences where people live.

•How human activity influences pollution.

•Adult books on pollution, prevention, and recycling.

•Local environmental professionals.

•EPA (environmental protection agency).

•The internet.

 

•Information books and magazines about pollution and recycling.

•Story books about pollution and recycling.

 

•Real life problems about pollution and recycling.

•Costs of recycling and clean-up.

•Statistics concerning pollution.

•Measurements.

 

•The influences of pollution on the environment, animals, and natural resources.

•Earth day and related issues.

•Endangered animals.

•The o-zone layer.

•The rain forest.

Art

Physical Education

Music

Technology

Oral Language

•Sculptures, drawings, or other projects using recycled materials.

•Drawings or paintings of recycling methods, or pollution damage.

•Making and decorating recycling bins for classroom or school.

•How pollution influences our health.

•Nature Hikes.

•Pick up trash around the school and community.

•Singing or writing songs about recycling or pollution.

•Making musical instruments from recycled products (tissue boxes, milk cartons, boxes etc.).

•The Earth Day Song

(www.lessonplanspage.com).

•“Pass it on Down” by Alabama.

•Internet research and computer use in research and other projects.

•How technology has helped in recycling and clean-up.

•How technology has increased pollution.

 

 

•Read-a-louds of stories or students work about recycling and pollution.

•Plays.

•Readers Theatre.

•Class discussions.

 

Written language

Field Trips/Guests

Culminating Activity/Unit Projects

Read Alouds

Accommodations

•Poems or stories about recycling or pollution.

•Letters to the editor, a company, or a senator.

•Journal writing.

 

•Recycling center or landfill fieldtrip.

•Local environmental professionals.

•Member of EPA (environmental protection agency).

•Representative of a local industry (share ways they attempt to reduce pollution and reasons that some pollution may be necessary).

•Planting trees.

•Starting or improving a recycling program in the school.

•Making and putting up signs (Do not litter, do not dump-feeds to river etc.).

•Picking up trash around the school and community.

•The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

•”Where Does the Garbage Go?”  by Paul Showers

•”For The love of our Earth” by P.K. Hallman

•”Recycle, A handbook for Kids” by Gail Gibbons

 

 

 

•Native language resources and reading books

•Teachers Aid to help struggling students.

•Working in pairs.

•Shorter assignments

•Additional assignments or challenges.

 

 

Organization and Subject Matter Overview with Goals and Objectives

 

The overall question that will seek to be answered throughout this unit is “How can I help reduce pollution?”  There are two specific NCSS standards that is this unit will address 1) Locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (Xd); 2) Recognize and interpret how the “common good” can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action.  The Utah core objectives are directly related to these NCSS standards and are listed below.  The objectives of the learning activities will support the NCSS standards and the Utah core objectives.  These activity objectives include:  The students will be able to distinguish the different forms of pollution and its causes, the students will be able to share some of the influences of pollution upon people and the environment throughout history, the students will recognize the good and bad reasons behind pollution, and the students will be able to name several things they can do to reduce pollution. The subject matter of this unit is theme and chronologically based.  It is organized in a way that students will be able to establish a foundation of knowledge and then build upon that knowledge by asking questions, making predictions, and participating in various projects and activities.  This unit will provide students with the opportunity to make reasoned decisions, and experience meaningful learning by participating in and making decisions about real life problems.  It will also provide them with opportunities to promote good citizenship.

 

Because this unit incorporates many subject areas, two hours a day will be spent in covering the information and activities that will answer the overall unit question of “How can I help reduce pollution?”  The students will participate with a partner, in groups, and as a whole class.  They will be participating in different activities at different times, incorporating the use of centers.  The classroom will need to be organized in a way that will allow for this type of instruction.  See classroom layout below.

 

 

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Topic

What are the different types of pollution and its causes?

What are the effects of pollution upon people in the past and today?

How can human activity influence pollution?

What can I do to help reduce pollution?

NCSS Standard

•Locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (Xd);

•Recognize and interpret how the common good can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action (Xj)

Utah Objective

1.1 Predict how human activity will influence environments and communities.  Identify the influence of people on environments and environments on people.

1.1 Predict how human activity will influence environments and communities. Identify the influence of people on environments and environments on people.

1.1 Predict how human activity will influence environments and communities.  Describe the changes in environments caused by human inventions.

5.2 Demonstrate basic citizenship skills.  Identify community needs that students can help fill personally.

Learning Activities

•Distinguish different forms of pollution (Air, water, land, noise).

•Discuss various types of each form.

•Discuss causes of the various forms (oil spills, factories, cars, garbage disposal) relating how people influence the environment.

 

•Historical walk of the history of pollution (focus on comparing the United Stated and South America, which meets the UEN standards of third grade)

•Types of pollution in the past and today.

•How pollution has increased and why.

•How pollution has influenced people (careers, health, locations, environment).

 

•How pollution influences where people live.

•The global warming trend, reduction of the rainforest, and air quality.

•Is pollution necessary and why.

•How pollution may influence our future.

•How recycling and other methods of pollution prevention can influence our future.

 

 

•Recycling, reusing, and reducing.

•Disposing of litter and other waste properly.

•Educating others.

•Writing letters to senators and newspaper editors.

•Creating or being involved in organizations that provide service.

• Ways to reverse pollution (planting trees, clean-ups).

•Voting.

 

*Because there is an abundance of information that could be taught throughout this unit, the four weekly topics may be spread into one and one half week increments, thus making the unit six weeks rather than four.  This would also allow for the opportunity of meeting more of the NCSS and UEN standards.

 

 

Classroom Layout

 

 

 

 

Learning Activities Bank

 

Sample lesson 1

 

Title of lesson:  “Is it too Loud?”

Teacher:  Miller

Date:  Week 1, day 3

Time Allotted:  45 Minutes

Grade level:  3

Number of Learners:  24

Unit Theme:  “How Can I Help Reduce Pollution?”

Standard(s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (NCSS Xd).

Objectives:  The students will be able to describe what noise pollution is and the forms it comes in, in order to identify the influence of people on environments and environments on people (Utah 1.1).

Materials Needed:  recording of various types of noise pollution, reading or writing materials, paper, crayons, and markers.

Motivation:  Ask the students to perform a task such as reading a book or responding to a question in their journals.  As the students attempt to do this play the recording of noise pollution (honking, factory and machinery noises, interstate noises, trains, sirens etc.).  After a couple of minutes stop the recording and ask the students the following questions:

How did the noises make you feel?

How did they make doing the task more difficult?

How does noise in our community affect you or the people you know?

Is noise a type of pollution?  Why or why not?

Procedures:

1.  Discuss when a noise is and is not a type of pollution.  When a noise influences people or the environment in a negative way (hearing, the thinking process, driving animals from their homes) it becomes a type of pollution.  Have the students give specific examples of noise pollution and explain why they are noise pollution.  Allow the students to direct the discussion through their questions and comments.

2.  On the board create a chart about noise pollution.  Use the following as an example.

 

Types of noise pollution

 

 

 

 

 

Disadvantages 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advantages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a class rank from least negative to most negative

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Ask the students if any of these types of pollution influence them?  Have them share.

4.  Have the students choose one or more types of noise pollution and write a poem.  They can focus on how this type of pollution makes them feel, or how it influences the environment, animals, or people.  You may want to teach the format of a specific type of poem and have the students use that type.

Accommodations:  Use pictures along with words in filling in the chart.

Closure:  Have a few of the students share their poems with the class.

Evaluation: 

1.  Review the students’ poems for the basic understanding of what makes noise a pollution and the consequences of it.

2.  Observe students comments and participation in class discussions and activities.

Extension:  Have the students draw a picture that represents the type of noise pollution they wrote their poem about.

 

Teacher Reflection:

 

 

Sample lesson 2

 

Title of lesson:  “Before and After”

Teacher:  Miller

Date:  Week 3, day 2

Time Allotted:  1 hour

Grade level:  3

Number of Learners:  24

Unit Theme:  “How Can I Help Reduce Pollution?”

Standard (s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will be able to locate, access, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (NCSS Xd)

Objectives:  The learners will predict how pollution may influence people and the environment, by relating the past to the future.  They will predict how human activity will influence environments and communities (Utah 1.1)

Materials Needed:  “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss, picture cards of areas that are polluted and areas that are not polluted, (may be cut out of magazines or found on-line through google or other image searches) paper, and drawing and coloring materials.

Motivation:  Show the pollution picture cards one at a time.  Ask the students to imagine what the area in the card may have looked liked before it was polluted.  What may have caused this pollution?  What could have prevented it?

Procedures: 

1.  Show the students the non-pollution picture cards.  Ask them to imagine what this area could look like in the future if it becomes polluted.  What will prevent this area from becoming polluted?  What will cause it to become polluted?

2.  Read the “Thorax” by Dr. Seuss.  Introduce the book by doing a picture walk and having the students predict what will happen in the story.

3.  Discuss the book by asking the following questions:

•What happened to the Truffula trees in this story?  Why?

•What happened to the Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Swome-swans, and the Humming-fish?    

 Why did this happen?

•What happened to the water?  Why?

•How can we relate this story to our lives or to our future?

•How can we prevent what happened in this story from happening in our world?

4.  Allow each student to choose one of the picture cards.  If it is one of the pollution pictures, the student will create a drawing of the same picture as if it were before the pollution had occurred.  If it is one of the non-pollution picture cards, the student will create a drawing of the same picture as if the area in the picture became polluted.

Accommodations:  As needed, students may help you hold up the picture cards, help hang students’ drawings, or look through the “Thorax” book individually or with a partner.  

Closure:  Display the students’ drawings with their corresponding picture cards.  Have a few of the students explain their drawings or express their feelings.

Evaluation:

1.  Review the students’ pictures for understanding of the influences of pollution, its causes, and how it can affect the future.

2.  During class discussions note the students’ comments indicating their understanding of the potential results of pollution.

Extension:  Have the students write their feelings, or a poem, about their drawing.

Teacher Reflection:

 

 

Sample lesson 3

 

Title of lesson:  Pollution:  Acceptable or Not?

Teacher:  Miller

Date:  Week 3, day 4

Time Allotted:  90 minutes

Grade level:  3

Number of Learners:  24

Unit Theme:  “How Can I Help Reduce Pollution?”

Standard (s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will Locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (NCSS Xd), and recognize and interpret how the common good can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action (NCSS Xj). 

Objectives:  The students will be able to list several acceptable and unacceptable reasons for polluting and determine for themselves why they may or may not be acceptable.

Materials Needed:  writing paper, pencils, construction paper, scissors, glue, and any other art supplies. 

Motivation:  Discuss the increase of pollution throughout the world by asking the following questions:

•In what ways has pollution increased over time?

•Why has this occurred?

•How has pollution influenced you or people you know positively or negatively?

Allow the students to control and direct the discussion by coming up with their own answers and comments about these questions.  Encourage the students to share personal experiences and relate these issues to their own lives? 

Procedures:

1.  Make a chart on the board containing the students’ responses to the previously asked questions.  Use the following chart as a guide.  The items in this chart are possible answers to these questions.

 

How pollution had increased:

Why this has occurred:

Increased air pollution:

·smoke

·chemical vapors

·dirt

Water pollution

·Oil and chemical spills

·Sewer and garbage disposal in lakes, rivers, and the ocean

Land Pollution

·Garbage and litter

·Chemical spills

·Improper waste disposal

 

 

 

More factories

More cars and other transportation

More technological advances

More people

·more consumption

Carelessness

·littering

·not recycling

Laziness

·Driving rather than walking

·Efforts to recycle are too much

 

2.  Divide the students into pairs.  Each pair will create a list of acceptable reasons for polluting, and a list of non-acceptable reasons for polluting.  Have them provide at least one argument as to why each type of pollution is acceptable or unacceptable.  Make sure the students are aware that they may view acceptable and unacceptable differently, and as they discuss pollution issues with their partner they should share their opinions.  If they cannot agree as to whether or not a particular type of pollution is acceptable or not, have them create an “other” list.  If necessary provide ONE example about what you feel is an acceptable and an unacceptable reason for polluting.

3.  If the students come up with one or more types of pollution that the acceptability of is controversial, divide them into teams and allow them to debate the issue.  If you do this make sure you establish some rules on when and how often a student can speak.

4.  Have each student design a poster.  Of each pair of students, one student will design a poster illustrating an unacceptable reason for polluting, and the other students will design a poster illustrating a solution for their partner’s poster.  Make sure the students agree upon the pollution issue they choose to illustrate.

Accommodations:  For those who may not be able to write, provide a scribe.  Also, use pictures along with words in filling in the chart.

Closure:  Allow as many pairs of students as possible to share their posters.  Also, have them express why they chose to illustrate what they did.

Evaluation: 

1.  Review students’ posters to see that they correspond with their partner’s poster.

2.  Review the students’ lists of acceptable and unacceptable reasons for pollution and their arguments behind them.

3.  Note the students’ comments, and willing to express their feelings, during class discussions, partner discussions, and debates. 

Extension:  Have the students write in their journal about how these activities made them feel, or have them add to their poster by making it an anti-pollution campaign poster.

Teacher Reflection:

 

 

Sample lesson 4

 

Title of lesson:  Recycle!  Recycle!  Recycle!

Teacher:  Miller

Date:  Week 4, day 1

Time Allotted:  2 hours

Grade level:  3

Number of Learners:  24

Unit Theme:  “How Can I Help Reduce Pollution?”

Standard(s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will be able to locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view (NCSS Xd); Recognize and interpret how the common good can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action (NCSS Xj).

Objectives:  The students will be able to define recycling and reusing, recognize what types of materials can be recycled and reused, and identify community (recycling) needs they can help fill personally (Utah 1.1)

Materials Needed:  book – “Recycle, A Handbook for Kids,” plastic bags, gloves, paper, pens, and envelopes.

Motivation:  Read “Recycle, A Handbook for Kids” by Gail Gibbons.  As you read, have the students respond to the question from the book:  Where can it all go?  Once the students are given time to respond continue reading.  Because this book is so full of information, just read the parts that you feel are most applicable. 

Procedures:

1.  Review the main points of the book by asking the following questions:

Why is garbage such a concern?

How does it influence people differently?  

How does it influence animals?

What types of items can we recycle?  (Make a list of these items on the board)

What items can we reuse?

2.  Divide the students into groups of two.  Provide each pair with a plastic garbage bag.  As a class go and pick up trash around the school, at a park, or other community area.  Make sure that the students are aware that they should pick up non-recyclable items, as well as recyclable ones.  Emphasize the importance of properly disposing of items that cannot be recycled.

3.  After picking up the garbage, return to the classroom and have each group sort their garbage into paper, plastics, glass (use caution), aluminum, and other.  Dispose properly of the items that cannot be recycled.  Take the recyclable items to a recycling center.  If possible do this as a field trip.  Have someone at the recycling center talk to the students or take a tour of the center.

4.  Have the students write a short paragraph or letter to the editor of a local newspaper, telling about what they did on their fieldtrip.  Have them explain how much trash they picked up, and how they felt about how much trash was in the area.  Also have them share their experiences about participating in the recycling activity.  Explain to the students that they are now activists.  

Accommodations:  Provide second language learners extra opportunities to look through “Recycle, A handbook for Kids.”  For those who may struggle with writing, provide a scribe.

Closure:  Have the students share the letters they wrote or the feelings they experienced from participating in these activities.

Evaluation: 

1.  Observe the students comments and participation in class discussions for understanding of recycling and reusing concepts.

2.  Observe the students as they sort the litter they collected to see that it is properly separated.

3.  Review the students’ letters for understanding of recycling concepts and their feelings about the citizen action they participated in.

Extension:  Have the students write a letter to a local representative suggesting local pick-up of recycled items, posting of no littering signs, or some other student suggested recycling or reusing idea.

Teacher Reflection:

*Lesson adapted from lesson found at: http://www.teacherlink.usu.edu/tlresources/units/units.search

 

 

Assessment

 

  The students should be given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.  These are some suggestions that may or may not be used in order to asses what the students have learned.  Before beginning the unit the students will participate in a KWL (what they know, what they want to know) in order for this unit to be more meaningful and effective.  This will provide an understanding of students’ current knowledge, and what they are most interested in learning.   Throughout the unit, during and after lessons, students will demonstrate their understanding through various methods. Through writing, they will record their thoughts and feelings in journals and create stories or poetry.  The students will also share their understanding orally through discussions, or visually through artwork or a bulletin board. Other methods that may be used are diagrams, graphs, and presentations.  Observation is also an important method that will be used in assessing the students’ understanding.  Observation of students work, their participation in discussions, and their participation in group and class activities will be a good indicator as to whether or not they are meeting the objectives for the unit.  Allow the students to choose a few of their best pieces of work from this unit to put into their portfolios, for evaluation at the end of the year.  In concluding the unit the students will complete their KWL by sharing what they have learned.  They will also be able to share what they have learned and the activities they have participated by holding a parent night, or a time to share with the school. 

 

 

Appendices

 

References

Levstik and Barton

Lindquist

National Council for the Social Studies

Utah State Office of Education

 

Children’s literature Resources

“Where Does the Garbage Go?” by Paul Showers

“50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth?” by The Earth Works Group

“Recycle, A handbook for kids” by Gail Gibbons

 

“A True Book” series by Rhonda Luca Donald

“Endangered Animals”

“The O-zone Layer”

“Recycling”

“Air Pollution”

“Young Discoveries” By King Fisher

“Pollution and Waste”

“Garbage and Recycling”