Sunday, April 27, 2014

Human Footprint

Did you know that the average American will consume 43,371 cans of soda in their lifetime?  You would use enough cans to stretch 3.42 miles.  That's 50 football fields with end zones.  The human footprint on the environment is enormous.

Around Earth, wild habitats and the wildlife they support are threatened because of human activity.  Only 17 percent of Earth's surface remains untouched by human influence.

In fourth grade, we have been studying the human footprint on the environment.  National Geographic has some amazing resources to assist in teaching and learning about this interesting topic. 

We started out by reading the Human Footprint, By Ellen Kirk.  The illustrations and facts in this book are really eye opening.

Then we explored National Geographic's Human Footprint website interactive.  You can type in how much you consume and it will calculate and compare your lifetime average to that of other people around the world.

There is also an amazing map on the National Geographic website that shows what parts of the world have had the greatest human impact.

After spending a lot of time researching and discussing our human footprint we completed a culminating activity with a reading from the National Geographic website.  Students read an article about the human impact on the environment of two animals:  the gorilla and the okapi.  
Although this was a challenging text, students were easily able to use their comprehension strategies, and a dictionary, to decode and comprehend the text.
As a group, students selected one animal to focus on and then brainstormed a list of steps people could take to reduce or reverse the problem. 
Lastly, students created a presentation consisting of a poster, storyboard, PSA, graphic novel, skit (or any other idea they prepared) that communicated the key issue and suggested action steps.

I recorded each group's presentation so students could watch themselves while completing a self-evaluation.

After about two weeks of researching and learning about the human footprint, students were still eager to learn more. 

Be sure to check out all the amazing resources on National Geographic's website!

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