Theme 3: Making Responsible Choices

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Overview

Information from Statistics Canada’s 2011 Households and the Environment Survey revealed that household and purchasing decisions can be a significant factor in a home’s environmental impact. In this theme, students will explore the impact of household and purchasing decisions by investigating the use of programmable thermostats and “green” cleaning products. They will think critically about the production and consumption of locally produced foods. They will also investigate the energy efficiency in their home and classroom.

Suggested Grade Level

  • Grades 1-3

Topics

  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science and Technology

Cross-curricular Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Arts

Materials:

Lesson 1: Temperature Control

  • Simplified Survey Data: Programmable Thermostat
  • Handout: Temperature Comparison
  • Handout: Standard and Programmable Thermostats Images

Lesson 2: Green Cleaning Products

  • Simplified Survey Data: Green Cleaning Product Use
  • Handout: Green Cleaning Product Survey
  • Handout: Green Cleaning Test

Lesson 3: Locally Produced Food

  • Simplified Survey Data: Locally Produced Foods

Lesson 4: Energy Audits

  • Simplified Survey Data: Modifications from Energy Audits

Theme: Making Responsible Choices

  • Rubric:  Making Responsible Choices

Assignments:

  • Complete a temperature comparison worksheet.
  • Complete a journal entry about setting a programmable thermostat.
  • Create a bar graph comparing class results with provincial findings.
  • Conduct an investigation of homemade green cleaning products.
  • Create a healthy meal plan using locally produced food.
  • Create an energy audit map of the classroom.

Theme Rubric

Theme Rubric
Table summary
This table displays the results of Theme Rubric. The information is grouped by Level 1 (appearing as row headers), Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 (appearing as column headers).
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Answers questions about data represented in a graphic organizer. Poses and answers questions about data represented in a graphic organizer with support. Independently poses and answers questions about data represented in a graphic organizer. Independently poses and answers sophisticated questions about data represented in a graphic organizer.
 
Is beginning to make connections between personal and family choices and how they are affected by natural and built features of the environment. Hesitantly makes connections between personal and family choices and how they are affected by natural and built features of the environment. Comfortably makes connections between personal and family choices and how they are affected by natural and built features of the environment. Confidently makes sophisticated connections between personal and family choices and how they are affected by natural and built features of the environment.
 
Identifies general ways that humans impact the environment. Identifies some ways that humans impact the environment and forms opinions about this impact. Identifies some ways that humans impact the environment and forms opinions about this impact with evidence. Identifies some ways that humans impact the environment and forms opinions about this impact with strong evidence.
Identifies general ways products and technology impact the environment. Identifies and describes positive or negative ways that products and technology impact the environment. Identifies and describes positive and negative ways that products and technology impact the environment. Identifies and describes positive and negative ways that products and technology impact the environment and suggests insightful solutions.

Lesson 1: Temperature Control

Lesson

Estimated Completion Time: 1+ hours

Learning Objectives:

Mathematics:

  • Pose and answer questions about simple line plots and tally charts.
  • Pose and answer questions about class-generated data.

Science and Technology:

  • Investigate and demonstrate an understanding of seasonal changes in different regions.
  • Make observations about the local climate and how it affects the lives of people who live there.
  • Describe how people prepare for and respond to daily and seasonal changes.
  • Describe how different technologies are used to help people adapt to daily and seasonal changes.

Assignments:

  • Complete a temperature comparison worksheet.
  • Complete a journal entry about setting a programmable thermostat.

Activity:

Begin this lesson by having students use text, video, or online resources to investigate average temperatures and weather patterns at different times of the year in their home province or community. Use the Handout: Temperature Comparison and ask them to record their findings. Use a map of Canada to select a city in another province or territory where the weather may be very different from one’s own and complete the same activity using information about what seasons look and feel like in that place.

Hint: An excellent online resource for investigating temperature is the Environment Canada Weather Archives, available here: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/

Discuss the way people dress at different times of the year and to adapt to different temperatures. Talk about how the temperature can be different inside than it is outside and brainstorm different technologies that are used to keep people warmer or cooler than the temperatures outside. Take a walk around the school to find and identify some of these technologies, such as insulated walls, fans, air conditioners, heaters and thermostats to control them. Talk about the cost of using different energies and encourage students to consider which technologies cost the most in terms of energy and money.

Ask students how they control the temperature in their homes. Explain that a thermostat is a control panel for a building’s heating and cooling system. Some thermostats are programmable and some are not. Show students examples of these using the Handout: Standard and Programmable Thermostat Images. A programmable thermostat has a computer inside of it that can control the temperature automatically at different points throughout the day.

Help students to develop questions for a survey that they will conduct in their own homes.

Questions may include:

  • Can we control how hot or how cold our home is?
  • Do we have a programmable thermostat?
  • Do we turn the temperature down at night? Why?
  • If we do not turn the temperature down at night, why not?

Tally the students’ results on the blackboard. Use the Simplified Survey Data: Programmable Thermostat or the data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 Households and the Environment Survey to compare students’ findings with the data in the survey data table.

Talk about the results and discuss why families do or do not turn down the temperature at night.

Guiding Questions:

  • What were some of the reasons your parents gave for why they do/do not turn down the temperature at night?
  • Does the class have a greater or fewer number of programmable thermostats than the average in their home-province?
  • How does the use of programmable thermostats in their province compare with use in the province they investigated using the Handout: Temperature Comparison?
  • Why would people in these provinces use or not use a programmable thermostat?
  • Is it warmer or colder there? Are their seasons less variable? Is energy less expensive?
  • What type of heating system is in your home? A furnace, baseboard heater, radiator, etc.
  • Why do some people who have a programmable thermostat not program it?

Have students complete a journal entry about how they would set their thermostat at night in a particular season. They should include an illustration of a programmable thermostat and their desired temperature, and an explanation of why that temperature would be good for their family.

For example:

  • I would set my thermostat to 25 degrees Celsius at night. My baby brother gets cold so we have to keep it warm.
  • I would set my thermostat to 17 degrees Celsius at night. It saves electricity and I like it cool when I sleep. I sleep with fuzzy blankets.

Simplified Survey Data: Programmable Thermostat

How many households have a programmable thermostat? How many households lower the temperature in their house when they are asleep?

This table shows how many households that had a thermostat in Canada and in each province have a programmable thermostat in their home and how many of those households use their programmable thermostat to lower the temperature when they are sleeping

Each icon represents one household out of ten, therefore if you see this: 1, it means one household from a group of ten households with thermostats had a programmable thermostat. Additionally, if you see this: 5, it means that five households from a group of ten households with thermostats had a programmable thermostat.

Simplified Survey Data: Programmable Thermostat

Description for Simplified Survey Data: Programmable Thermostat

Handout: Temperature Comparison

Complete the tables below:

  1. Write the name of your province or territory.
  2. Write the temperature in degrees Celsius in the circle.
  3. Colour the thermometer to show how hot or cold the temperature is.

My City and Province or Territory:

Summer:

thermometer

Fall:

thermometer

Winter:

thermometer

Spring:

thermometer

A City in Another Province or Territory:

Summer:

thermometer

Fall:

thermometer

Winter:

thermometer

Spring:

thermometer

  1. Draw a scene around each thermometer to show what the weather and temperature are like at that time of year in each province or territory.

Handout: Standard and Programmable Thermostat Images

Figure 1 Programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat has a computer inside of it that can control the temperature automatically at different points throughout the day.

Figure 2 Standard thermostat

A standard thermostat allows the home owner to manually turn a dial to set the desired temperature.

Lesson 2: Greening Cleaning Products

Lesson

Estimated Completion Time: 2+ hours

Learning Objectives:

Mathematics:

  • Collect and organize discrete primary data.
  • Display data in a tally chart.
  • Pose and answer questions about class-generated data.

Science and Technology:

  • Follow established procedures and safe practices while conducting a scientific investigation.
  • Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary in oral and written communication.

Assignments:

  • Create a bar graph comparing class results with provincial findings.
  • Conduct an investigation of homemade green cleaning products.

Activity:

Begin this lesson by discussing what makes a product “green” and creating a definition together as a class that can be posted in the classroom. Example definition: Green products are products that are designed so that their use does not harm the environment.

Guiding Questions:

  • What does the word “green” mean?
  • Is it just a colour?
  • When have you heard or seen this word used to describe something that isn’t to describe colour?
  • What kinds of things are described as “green”?
  • What are some important facts that should be true to call something “green”?

Ask students to ask their parents to help them look for examples of different “green” products in their homes or at the grocery store. Have students make a list, draw pictures, or take digital photos of examples they find. If possible, bring in several examples of “green” products or labels to show to the class and talk about how these products are used and what makes them “green.” Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of using green cleaning products at home. (e.g., Green products can be more expensive. Some of them might not work very well. Non-green products sometimes have dangerous chemicals that could go into our water.)

Have students complete a survey using the Handout: Green Cleaning Product Survey to determine how many students use green cleaning products in their home. The handout has three copies of the same survey that can be reproduced and cut along the dotted line. Students will need to ask for parent or guardian assistance to complete their survey. Tally the results on the blackboard and discuss them with the students as a class. Are they surprised? What kinds of green cleaning products are they using at home?

Distribute Simplified Survey Data: Green Cleaning Product Use in order to have students review data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 Households and the Environment Survey. Compare the class’s tally to the average in their home-province. Talk about why people in their province might use or not use green cleaning products and create a bar graph to compare the use of products among parents in their classroom, with households in their province.

Have students investigate, using suggestions from their parents, or other sources, the effectiveness of some safe, green cleaning products that they can find in their own kitchen, such as vinegar, lemon juice and sunlight, baking soda, and warm water. Test these suggested home solutions and have students document their findings on the Handout: Green Cleaning Test.

Guiding Questions:

  • What do you think it means if a product is described as being “green”?
  • What do you think makes people choose to use green cleaning products?
  • What was the most effective homemade green cleaning solution?
  • Do you think your parents would use this at home? Why or why not?

Simplified Survey Data: Green Cleaning Product Use

Have you ever purchased an environmentally friendly or “green” cleaning product?

This table shows how many households in Canada and in each province have purchased a “green” cleaning product for their home.

Each data point has been adjusted to show the information as if the total population was a group of ten households.

Simplified Survey Data: Green Cleaning Product Use
Table summary
This table displays the results of Simplified Survey Data: Green Cleaning Product Use. The information is grouped by Area (appearing as row headers), Has Purchased Green Cleaning Product (appearing as column headers).
Area Has Purchased Green Cleaning Product
Canada 9/10 households
Newfoundland and Labrador 8/10 households
Prince Edward Island 8/10 households
Nova Scotia 9/10 households
New Brunswick 9/10 households
Quebec 9/10 households
Ontario 8/10 households
Manitoba 9/10 households
Saskatchewan 8/10 households
Alberta 8/10 households
British Columbia 9/10 households

Handout: Green Cleaning Products Survey

Survey Questions: Use pictures or words to answer the survey questions:

  • Do you use “green” cleaning products in your home?
  • If yes, what kinds of green cleaning products do you use?
  • If no, why not?

Handout: Green Cleaning Test

Welcome to the Test Centre!

  1. What are you trying to clean? Describe it or draw a labelled picture.
  2. What are going to use to clean it? Describe it or draw a labelled picture.
  3. How are you going to test this? Describe your test or draw a labelled picture. Do you think this will work?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. What happened? Describe the results of your test or draw a picture. Is this a good product to use?
    • Yes
    • No

Lesson 3: Locally Produced Food

Lesson

Estimated Completion Time: 3+ hours

Learning Objectives:

Mathematics:

  • Pose and answer questions about data in a bar graph.

Social Studies:

  • Extract information from a map about location and physical characteristics of a region.
  • Gather and organize information on the interrelationship between people and the natural and built features of their community.
  • Identify ways that needs are met in communities.
  • Describe similarities and differences between their community and a community in a different region.

Science and Technology:

  • Follow established procedures and safe practices while conducting a scientific investigation.
  • Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary in oral and written communication.

Assignments:

  • Create a healthy meal plan using locally produced food.

Activity:

Begin this lesson by asking students where they think their food comes from and recording their ideas on the board.

Show students a map of their region and work together to find areas where food might be produced. Have students look for farmland, bodies of water where edible resources are found, and food production centres. Work together as a class to decide what it means to say that something is made “locally.” How far away can something be produced and still be considered local? (e.g., in the neighbourhood, municipality, province, or country)

Guiding Questions:

  • Is it easy to find foods that are produced locally where we live?
  • What kinds of food can we find?
  • Where can we purchase them?
  • Where can we grow them?
  • What might make it difficult to find locally produced food where we live?

Use the Simplified Survey Data: Locally Produced Food or the data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 Households and the Environment Survey to investigate how many families in their home-province bought locally grown foods and compare this with the same question for other provinces.

Guiding Questions:

  • Do households in our province buy locally produced foods more or less often than households in other provinces?
  • Why might this be?
  • What kind of resources does our province have that would make this so?
  • What kind of resources do other provinces have that would affect their choice to buy locally or non-locally produced food?
  • Is their weather different than ours?
  • Do they have longer or shorter growing seasons for food?
  • Do they have bodies of water nearby where they can get fresh seafood and other products?
  • Are there large cities in this province? How would living in a city make it easy or difficult to find locally produced food?
  • Are there ways to grow food in the city?

Have students conduct interviews with community members and use community resources to investigate food that is produced locally. Use this group research to create a list of crops and products that are produced locally. Have students identify where they could go to purchase these locally produced foods. If possible, visit a local producer, such as a farm or dairy to see where local food is produced.

Finally, have the students create a plan for a delicious healthy meal using foods that are produced locally. These can be written as recipes and compiled into a class cookbook or illustrated and labelled on “plates” cut out of reclaimed cardboard (e.g. cereal boxes) for display.

Simplified Survey Data: Locally Produced Food

Has someone in your household bought locally produced food?

This graph shows how many households in Canada and in each province purchase locally produced food.

Each data point has been adjusted to show the information as if the total population was a group of ten households. If you see an X, it means one household from a group of ten households has purchased locally produced foods.

Simplified Survey Data: Locally Produced Food

Description for Simplified Survey Data: Locally Produced Food

Lesson 4: Energy Audits

Lesson

Estimated Completion Time: 2+ hours

Learning Objectives:

Mathematics:

  • Pose and answer questions about data in a bar graph.

Social Studies:

  • Gather and organize information about the way people live and choices they make regarding technology.
  • Describe and assess personal and family uses of energy.
  • Describe similarities and differences between their community and a community in a different region.

Science and Technology:

  • Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary in oral and written communication.

Assignments:

  • Complete an energy audit map of the classroom.

Activity:

Begin this activity by having small groups of students brainstorm lists of ways energy is used in different rooms in the home, such as appliances in the kitchen, electronics for entertainment in a family room, or lighting and heating/cooling throughout the home.

Explain that an “energy audit” is a review of a building’s features to see where it is using energy efficiently and where energy is being wasted. Energy audits investigate the energy-efficiency of appliances, the energy-efficiency of heating and cooling systems, or areas of buildings that release air that is warmed or cooled using energy.

Ask students who would want to do this and why it might be an important thing to do.

Guiding Questions:

  • What kinds of things might families learn about their home by doing an energy audit?
  • How would this be helpful?

Use the Simplified Survey Data: Modifications from Energy Audits or the data from Statistics Canada’s 2011 Households and the Environment Survey to compare how many households in their home province who had an energy audit performed on their home and made modifications based on the results of the audit. Have students discuss possible factors that could impact energy consumption, such as very cold winters or very hot summers and why this might make people want to do an energy audit on their home.

Tell the students that they are going to work in pairs to complete an energy audit on their classroom or school. Have them investigate their surroundings and locate objects that use and possibly waste energy.

After they have completed their scavenger hunt, have students use graph paper to draw a floor plan of their classroom and use their diagram to perform an energy conservation check by circling or drawing things on the floor plan that could be done to make the room and their day-to-day activities in the classroom more energy efficient. This could include:

  • Turning off the lights when the classroom is not in use
  • Using natural light from windows to light the classroom
  • Ensuring all windows are closed tightly in the winter
  • Turning the temperature down when they leave the classroom in the afternoon
  • Shutting down the class computer when it is not in use

Simplified Survey Data: Modifications from Energy Audits

If you have had an energy audit performed on your home, did you make changes or modifications as a result?

The table below shows how many households in Canada and in each province made changes to their home after performing an energy audit.

Each icon represents one household out of ten, therefore if you see this: household, it means one household from a group of ten households that had an energy audit performed made changes to their home.

Simplified Survey Data: Modifications from Energy

Description for Simplified Survey Data: Modifications from Energy Audits

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