Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > What can you do?

What can you do?

Carolyn Dowling
Arkansas State University
Author Profile

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 22, 2008


This activity helps students, specifically non-majors, to become more environmentally conscious. They identify a minimum of five behaviors, situations, or actions that are harmful to the environment and can be changed, altered, or modified in a reasonable amount of time and with a minimum of money.

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This activity is used in a general education course Environmental Geology for non-majors. See the course profile page for this course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The students begin to understand that what they can help reduce their impact on the environment through small and inexpensive modifications in their daily lives.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity could be used as an extra credit exercise or be modified for an interactive class activity.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Becoming environmentally conscious.
Realizing that being environmentally conscious does not cost a lot (in fact it can save money in some cases) and does not take a lot of time.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Synthesis of ideas.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students identify five or more behaviors, situations or actions that are harmful to the environment and can be changed, altered, or modified in a reasonable amount of time and with a minimum of money. They must fully describe the situations, environmental costs, modifications, environmental benefits, anticipated monetary costs and estimated time for implementation.

Situation: Excess plastic grocery bags
Environmental Cost: Litter, filling up of landfills, use of petrochemicals in production
Modification 1: Use a reusable cloth bag for shopping to reduce plastic bags.
Environmental Benefit: Reduce
Modification 2: Reuse the plastic bags as bathroom garbage bags.
Environmental Benefit: Reuse
Modification 3: Recycle clean plastic bags
Environmental Benefit: Recycle
Money: Reusable Cloth Bag ($10-$20)
Time: Negligible, but some planning ahead is required

Determining whether students have met the goals

Are the behaviors and modifications reasonable? Inexpensive? Time-consuming?

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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