This page lists all teacher notes for this lesson. Individual notes can be accessed on the main Teacher Notes page.
Introduction (20-30 minutes)
Before beginning, make sure that each student has a copy of the Engineering Portfolio. Explain to students that they will use these portfolios to complete activities throughout the lesson. In this first activity, students will complete a concept map showing what they already know about energy and its impacts on our environment. If your students have not used a concept map before, demonstrate how to add new words, concepts and ideas. Have students turn to page 1 of their Engineering Portfolios to complete the concept map. Students may create the concept map online using https://bubbl.us [link to site]. After the students are finished, ask them to share their ideas with the class.
Energy and Climate Change (15 minutes)
Students will watch a short video about climate change and energy use. Go over any new vocabulary and make sure students understand what global climate change means. Direct students to page 2 of their Engineering Portfolio to take notes about the video.
Our Contribution to Climate Change (45 minutes)
In this activity, students will read an explanation of some of the key concepts of the lesson. They will also watch a short video describing one family's impact on the environment over the course of a year. Go over any new vocabulary in the lesson. After the video, have students "turn and talk"—in other words, turn to a partner to discuss and share ideas about what they saw. Ask if anyone has heard the term "carbon footprint" before and have students discuss what they think it means in their pairs. You may also wish to have your students discuss the "More to Explore" reading and their answers to the related questions.
Your Carbon Footprint (40 minutes)
In this activity, students will click through an interactive feature to learn about the environmental impact of some everyday tasks. Students should turn to page 3 of their Engineering Portfolios and take notes as they explore the activity. They should also write down their reaction to the information they learned. You may ask students to share their thoughts with the class. You may also wish to have your students discuss the "More to Explore" resource and their answers to the related questions.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint (30 minutes)
In this activity, students will estimate their carbon footprint using an online calculator. Have them turn to page 4 of their Engineering Portfolios. During class, assist students as they fill out the carbon footprint calculator. They will get a more accurate reading if they fill out the calculator for their entire family rather than as an individual. Afterwards, have students share their carbon footprints with the class.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint (45 minutes)
Ask students to turn to page 5 of their Engineering Portfolios. After they have explored the websites listed on the web page, ask them to share their research and create a class list of strategies to reduce students' carbon footprints. Students should be able to refer to the class list as they complete the next activity.
Personal Conservation Commitment (1 hour)
In this activity, students will create their personal conservation plan, recalculate their carbon footprint based on their plan, and compare their modified carbon output with their original output by creating a bar graph. Before students begin, ask them to turn to page 6 of their Engineering Portfolios. Review the parts of a bar graph, if necessary. If students prefer to create their bar graphs offline, direct them to the grid paper on page 7 of the Engineering Portfolio. You may also wish to have your students discuss the "More to Explore" resource and their answers to the related questions.
Your Challenge: Create a Public Service Announcement (1 hour)
Students will receive a challenge to create a public service announcement that educates the public about energy consumption and its impact on the environment. Before beginning this activity, divide your class into STEM teams of 3 - 4 students each. Students will need to work in STEM teams for the remainder of the lesson. (See
for more information on forming STEM teams.) Direct students to pages 8-17 of their Engineering Portfolios. After students watch the introductory videos, go over the steps in the engineering design process and make sure that students understand what each step means. Ask them to use the information they have collected and brainstorm new ideas with their team to complete
questions 1 - 4.
Explore Possibilities (1 hour)
Students will look at some existing PSAs and will begin exploring ideas for creating their own PSA in this lesson. Assist students as they explore different possibilities for their PSAs. There will likely be much debate as they weigh the messages and images they wish to use. Encourage them to keep track of their thinking and take notes on pages 9-11 in their Engineering Portfolios. You may want to create an account at edu.Glogster.com in advance. Glogster is an interactive poster-making site where students can share ideas using pictures, videos, text and music.
Select an Approach and Design Your Proposal (45 minutes)
Students will select their strongest PSA idea and write a more detailed design proposal in this activity. Have students refer to page 12 of their Engineering Portfolios. Be available for questions as students continue to work in their STEM teams to develop their proposals.
Make a Prototype and Test Your Design (1-1 1/2 hours)
Students will create a prototype of their designs and solicit feedback from their classmates in this activity. Before the activity begins, consider creating or using an existing Edmodo.com account. Edmodo is a social learning platform where teachers and students can share information. Encourage students to log on to post their PSAs and view their classmates' PSAs. If you use the survey tool in Edmodo, you will need to input the questions from the survey on page 13 in the Engineering Portfolio. If you decide to work offline, have students look at posters or printouts of their classmates' PSAs. Be sure to provide students with additional copies of the survey from the Engineering Portfolio as needed. Each student should complete a separate survey for each PSA. Stress the importance of constructive criticism. Once surveys are completed, results should be given to the appropriate teams to help them evaluate their designs.
The following website provides a tutorial to help you get started with Edmodo: http://www.trschools.com/hsnorth/Edmodo/Edmodo_Tutorial.pdf
If this lesson extends beyond your normal class period, you may want to focus students on completing their prototypes in one class period and using the surveys to evaluate their classmates' PSA's during the next class period.
Refine Your Design and Create Your Final PSA (1 hour)
In this activity, students will refine their design to respond to their classmates' feedback. Work with groups as they figure out how to refine their design. Encourage them to find creative ways to get their PSA into the public eye. You may also wish to explore Padlet.com for sharing PSAs. Padlet is a platform where people can post and share multimedia content on a virtual wall. Make sure they complete page 16 of their Engineering Portfolios, where they refine their designs.
Communicate Your Results (45 minutes)
In this activity, students will work individually to write a short essay on page 17 of their Engineering Portfolios that describes their work on their PSA. Work with your students as they complete their final assignment of the lesson.