This unit is divided into four sections. Students are expected to understand how their actions affect the surrounding community via the social studies and science components and realize that they can be the change that is needed. This should be evident in the content learned throughout the four weeks and represented through lessons and activities that allow students to understand the history behind community and environmental planning, identify the components of a built environment and its affect on the lives of residents in that community, hypothesize the challenges faced, and define the services and amenities needed by individuals in a community and the challenges incurred because of them like pollution, waste disposal transportation and housing.
Week 1: This first week will provide the students with an overview of what it means to be green. This will include what are the practical sources of energy and the pros and cons of renewable energy sources versus nonrenewable sources. Students will learn about sustainability and its necessity. Students will understand their own ecological footprint and access the footprint of the school. With this understanding students will begin to think about how every action causes a reaction in issues regarding air and water pollution.
Week 2: The second week will focus on experimental design where students will review the scientific process and collaboratively come to a consensus on what is the best form of green energy and what changes they can make in their own lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Students will understand what a community is made of and the issues every community faces from the air they breathe to the impact of their daily decisions upon the environment. Students will be able to identify the difference between individual and community needs as they strive to strike a balance. Experiments will be centered on biofuels and biomass as a source of energy. Students will also identify the individual and societal needs of a community. Students will combine the science and social studies background knowledge to discuss transportation issues evident within a community.
Week 3: Students will understand the three different types of communities including the importance of proper governance and collaboration. The students will discuss the history of urbanization and begin thinking about past ideas and their relationship to the future design of the community.
Week 4: This week the students will combine the background science and social studies concepts learned as they explore and problem solve issues involved with community planning and land use. Students will begin to work in groups in to make decisions on how to define the problems involved with building designs that currently exist and work together to investigate and generate ideas to design a community on the basis of quality of life and land use, i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and open/public space. The students will also understand how environmentally positive decisions also may have negative consequences.