I teach fourth grade at Nathan Hale Elementary School in New Haven, Connecticut. My classroom is in an urban district and is composed of a diverse, multicultural community of learners that encompass a wide spectrum of achievements, interests, learning and social needs. At Nathan Hale, students are provided with the means to explore their multiple intelligences and utilize different learning styles to strive to reach their goals. Students are given opportunities to choose how they respond and how they are assessed on various integrated curricular tasks throughout the year. Assessment is done via project driven rubrics and students are not limited as to how much they can achieve. This unit is designed to teach students the fundamentals of our responsibility and the effect our daily decisions have on the community of people, and the environment which surrounds us.
This interdisciplinary unit will combine science curricula on energy sources and the environment, with social studies curricula outlining communities and their societal place. It is intended to show students the need to sustain natural resources in an effort to build a community that not only shrinks its footprint, but preserves the environment to fit the needs of the future. Students will therefore be better prepared to take more responsibility in their decisions, in their learning and in their job as a thoughtful member of a community, where each person has an impact on the reaction of their decision. Students will be able to evaluate the environmental issues involved in community planning and make changes to existing communities as they design their own sustainable community.
This unit will better instruct students through interdisciplinary connections, about the effect of their own ecological footprint and best practices to reduce it. They will understand how human activity and industrialization add to environmental pollution which then affects the enclosed habitats. They will recognize and understand the need for sustainability in a world of consumption. Students will know what it means to be 'green' as they learn about energy sources and their place in the powering of a community. Additionally, students will have a clearer understanding about urbanization, the three different types of communities and the members that govern and maintain it.