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The Lifestyle Project
http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/enviroprojects/lifestyle.html

Karin Kirk, John J. Thomas, SERC - Starting Point Collection

This multi-week project begins with a measurement of baseline consumptive behavior followed by three weeks of working to reduce the use of water, energy, high-impact foods, and other materials. The assignment uses an Excel spreadsheet that calculates direct energy and water use as well as indirect CO2 and water use associated with food consumption. After completing the project, students understand that they do indeed play a role in the big picture. They also learn that making small changes to their lifestyles is not difficult and they can easily reduce their personal impact on the environment.

This is a multi-week project that can either be done as project assignment outside the classroom or adapted to be carried out over a shorter time scale.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Energy Literacy

Many different units are used to quantify energy.
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1.7 Units of energy.
Energy is a physical quantity that follows precise natural laws.
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Energy is a physical quantity.
One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.
Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.
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6.6 Behavior and design.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
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6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.
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Human use of energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities
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B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities.
4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:D) Accepting personal responsibility
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D) Accepting personal responsibility.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:D) Global Connections
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D) Global Connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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E) Environmental Issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:A) Identifying and investigating issues
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A) Identifying and investigating issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:B) Sorting out the consequences of issues
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B) Sorting out the consequences of issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:C) Planning and taking action
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C) Planning and taking action.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:D) Evaluating the results of actions
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D) Evaluating the results of actions.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:B) Evaluating the need for citizen action
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B) Evaluating the need for citizen action.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Requires educator buy-in and active promotion throughout the run of the project.
  • Parts of the Eco-Quiz will have to be changed to reflect the educator’s geographical location since some questions deal with conditions (water supply, etc.) in northern New York.
  • Can be used in a distance learning setting.
  • Although this is a multi-week project, it can be used over a shorter time scale and adapted to a variety of topics and age ranges. Project can run in the background of a course, so it does not require 3 weeks of actual class time.

About the Science

  • Connects personal actions to the larger-scale problems of energy use.
  • Allows for quantified approach to students' energy use and waste output.
  • Solid background materials for educator.

About the Pedagogy

  • An original approach to getting students involved personally in energy use and climate change.
  • Project is very relevant to students’ lives.
  • Many ways to approach the project and the exact categories are up to each student.
  • Use of an eJournal is a good tool to monitor student progress.
  • Strong plan for assessment (evaluating eJournals, having embedded questions in the eJournal, and provides ancillary assignments).
  • Interesting alternate assignments provided.
  • Very good advice on how to kick off the project and also how to maintain student motivation through the project.
  • Includes introductory quiz, calculators, and exercises for measuring energy use.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Well organized and laid out for ease of use by both students and educator.

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