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Environmental Science: A Hands-On Approach, by Francine Coss

Guide Entry to 93.05.10:

Sparrows don’t drop candy wrappers. Beavers build no billboards. Trees don’t shed tin cans. Dolphins don’t dump chemicals into the water. Bears don’t belch carbon monoxide. And butterflies need no pesticides.
How did the air, the water, and the earth become so polluted that our food, our lungs, and our life expectancy are eroding?
We have met the enemy, and he is us.1
There is no longer a “them” scapegoat for our environmental problems. The fingers of blame have had generations to point in many directions. Now the fingers are pointing back to us: you and me. The environment can no longer be taken for granted. The young must no longer be passed the ignorance of their predecessors. The environment’s problems are ours to make or ours to change. Here is possibly your first opportunity to change it for the better—for the very best.

The young children of today have a greater awareness of the environment’s dilemmas, however, they bear no outlet for solutions. John F. Kennedy once stated, “One man can make a difference, and every man should try.”2 I hold that belief to be true, and so should you.

This unit has been created for the children of today. The unit presents “take-action” strategies and activities that will empower all K-12 students in the battle for a better world. Students and teachers alike will enjoy the learning opportunities and applications that are included in this seven section environmental unit. The main purpose of this unit is to inform and empower each teacher and student who uses it. Each topic listed builds on previous knowledge and preceding topics to allow for a connected educational experience.

I am certain that you and your students will enjoy caring for the air, the earth and the water while visiting local examples of lesson topics and building your own compost heap at school. I know my many hours of research have been well spent in my own classroom. If this unit will at least open the eyes of enough adults, parents and teachers to the simple tasks necessary for a cleaner, healthier earth, then I know my unit is a success in other classrooms as well; for it is through adult example that children learn the most about life.

(Recommended for Science classes, Grades K-12)

Key Words


1 Margaret Gabel, Sparrows Don’t Drop Candy Wrappers (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1971) 3
2 The remarks of John F. Kennedy (qtd. Gabel 1).

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