Suggested Materials

Topic Search

Input

Found an error? Have a suggestion? Looking to connect?LinkedIn Profile

Email me or visit my LinkedIn profile.

Sponsor

 

Introduction to Environmental Science

The first unit of environmental science is intended to give students a feel for the types of issues that will be covered in the course. Certain fundamental concepts that will reappear multiple times throughout the year will also be taught here. A special emphasis is placed on the root causes of many of the environmental issues discussed through the course, such as overconsumption of resources, pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, the importance of developing a sense of environmental ethics is a central theme. The famous Hetch Hetchy debate is used to frame much of this lecture.


Introduction to Environmental Science Unit Plan

View Unit Plan
Introduction to Environmental Science Unit Plan

Purpose: This is an outline of the major lessons covered within this unit, their suggested sequence, a time estimate for each topic, and important objectives and vocabulary covered by this unit. Links are provided for any website, video clip, worksheet, or lecture Powerpoint needed by the instructor.
This unit plan is primarily written for instructors of upper-level high school students and introductory college-level students.


Introduction to Environmental Science Lecture Powerpoint

View Lecture
View the Introduction to Environmental Science Lecture Powerpoint

Purpose: This Powerpoint presentation is designed for the first class of a survey Environmental Science course. The lecture briefly covers many of the fundamental ideas and issues behind the discipline and serves as a good preview for the material covered in the rest of the course.

The Powerpoint begins with an introductory a narrative to frame the rest of the material. In this case, I begin with the events leading up to the debate surrounding and eventual construction of the Hetch Hetchy dam in Yosemite National Park. This is a great example of an early clash between two distict types of environmental ethics -- the resource conservationists and nature preservationists. The rest of the lecture is spent discussing some of the broad environmental issues -- resource conservation, pollution, developed vs. developing countries, and ethics.

This lecture is based on material from Environmental Science by G. Tyler Miller, Principles of Environmental Science by Cunningham, and my own research.

Essential Concepts: Environmental science, renewable resources, nonrenewable resources, pollution, biodiversity, environmental ethics, Tragedy of the Commons, developed countries, developing countries, sustainability.


Introduction to Environmental Science Lecture Notes Outline

View Worksheet
View the Introduction to Environmental Science Lecture Notes Outline for students.

Purpose: Taking efficient notes can be a big challenge for many students, especially when working from a Powerpoint lecture. This outline gives students a means to take notes that guides them toward important concepts and avoids the pitfalls of writing word-for-word or simply not taking notes at all. The outline is written as a series of questions, fill-in-the-blanks, or diagrams.

Essential Concepts: Environmental science, renewable resources, nonrenewable resources, pollution, biodiversity, environmental ethics, Tragedy of the Commons, developed countries, developing countries, sustainability.


Introduction to Environmental Science Pre-Test

View Worksheet
View the Environmental Science course pre-test

Purpose: A good way to be introduced to your students and the background knowledge they bring to the course is through a pretest. This test is a mixture of open-response, multiple choice, and true/false type questions. Each of the major units typically covered in an introductory environmental science course is addressed in this pretest.

One way to incorporate this into the first day of class is to first allow students to take the pre-test, then go around the room one at a time, have the students introduce themselves, and ask them to give their answer to one of the questions. This will provide an opportunity to break the ice, encourage some basic-level discussion on a few important environmental issues, and provide some insight into the interests and backgrounds of everyone enrolled in the course.


Journal Writing Entry - The Hetch Hetchy Decision

View Worksheet
View the writing prompt handout for the Hetch Hetchy debate

Purpose: An important part of the first unit in environmental science is gaining an awareness of one's own environmental ethics. Most of the decisions and problems faced by environmental scientists do not have clear-cut answers, and may involve economic, personal, and ecological effects. This writing prompt has students take the role of Teddy Roosevelt in the early part of the 20th century. San Francisco is increasing an rapidly increasing population and does not have the water supplies to meet their needs. The city would like to dam the nearby Tolumne river, but the Hetch Hetchy valley it runs through is on federal land.

Essential Concepts: Environmental ethics, environmental history, pragmatic resource conservationism, aesthetic nature preservationism, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Hetch Hetchy valley, dam construction, water resources



Journal Writing Entry - Environmental Ethics: Bhopal, and Dow Chemical

View Worksheet
View the environmental ethics writing prompt on Bhopal and Dow Chemical

In 2004, the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster in India, a man falsely claiming to be a spokesperson for Dow Chemical appeared on a live BBC newscast. During his interview, he announced that Dow Chemical would be accepting full responsibility for the cleanup, remediation, and victim restitution from the Bhopal disaster of 1984. Immediately after this interview, Dow Chemical's stock price fell 4.2%, or $2 billion in market value.

Essential concepts: Environmental ethics, morality, economics, Bhopal, developing countries, hazardous waste.


Journal Writing Entry - Blood, Sweat, and Takeaways

View Worksheet
View the writing prompt on the Tuna episode of Blood, Sweat, and Takeaways

Purpose: The contrast of lifestyle between developed and developing countries can be a difficult ones for students to grasp, particularly if they have only been raised in an affluent area. Blood, Sweat, and Takeaways is a BBC reality TV series that sends several young people to developing countries, having them live the lifestyle and work the same jobs that those people do. This writing prompt is based on the first episode of the series, where the young people are taken to Indonesia to experience a tuna cannery and fishery.

Essential Concepts: Environmental ethics, developed countries, developing countries, treatment of workers, environmental costs.



Walmart - The High Cost of Low Price Documentary

View Worksheet
View the Walmart High Cost of Low Price Documentary student worksheet

Purpose: One of the demands of a consumer society is to make the goods as cheap as possible. When prices are cut in this way, there are unseen human and ecological costs. This documentary does a good job showing the impact of the powerful retailer Walmart on both towns within the United States and the countries in which the products they sell are produced. This is a worksheet of questions for students to answer as they watch the documentary.

Essential Concepts: Environmental economics, environmental ethics, economic cost, human cost, environmental cost, developed countries, developing countries, workers rights.

.


Affluenza Documentary

View Worksheet
View the PBS Affluenza Documentary student worksheet

Purpose: As members of developed counties, we are often not even aware of the vast amount of resources we consume, especially in comparison to other countries. This documentary explores the materialistic nature of our society and its impacts. The worksheet contains questions for students to answer as they watch.

Essential Concepts: Environmental economics, environmental ethics, overconsumption, resource use, developing countries, developed countries.



Introduction to Environmental Science Study Guide

View Worksheet
View the introduction to environmental science unit study guide

Purpose: Once the instruction for the unit is completed, students can complete this study guide to aid in their preparation for a written test. The study guide is divided into two sections: vocabulary and short answer questions. The vocabulary is taken directly form the lecture, sequentially. The short answer questions are meant to model the type they may see on the exam.

Essential Concepts: Environmental economics, environmental ethics, overconsumption, resource use, developing countries, developed countries.


Download free Dreamweaver templates at JustDreamweaver.com