Fifth Grade, Lesson 4: Community Action
Decisions about how one uses the resources within a particular bioregion must consider the biodiversity and complexity of the ecosystem.
How can communities make decisions that benefit both their families and the animals that live within them?
Step 1 -- Connect (The Concept to Prior Knowledge)
Students will examine their role in harming or helping the environment.
- Paper, pencils
- Brainstorm a list of decisions that students make on a daily basis that affect the welfare of the environment. Categorize these as being either harmful or helpful.
- Trace local actions to distant consequences. Ask students how our decisions at home affect the people in El Salvador? How do their decisions affect us? Discuss our role as consumers and how that affects how resources are used around the world.
Step 2 -- Literature/Discuss (Give Expert Information Book; Ask Questions)
Students will discover the source of all the resources used at their school.
- Paper, pencils
- Brainstorm a list of things that students and faculty use while they are at school. Examples: paper, electricity, running water, pencils, markers, books, physical education equipment, lunch trays, etc.
- Students will conduct research to trace all of these materials to their original sources. Where does the water in your community come from? What kind of fuel does your school use to make electricity? What are your supplies made of?
Step 3A -- Practice (Math and Learning Centers)
Students will choose a resource (water, paper, electricity) and do an environmental assessment of their school community.
- In small groups or individually, students will observe and record how resources are used in their school community. Through interviews and direct observation, students will do an environmental assessment of their school. An audit of how resources are used might include the type of energy that heats the school, the amount of electricity used to light classrooms, the food that is used in the cafeteria, the materials used in the construction of the building... Audit surveys are available at Redefining Progress and the Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator. Examples of survey questions might include: Do students leave the water on while they clean up for lunch? Is there enough natural light in each classroom to leave the lights off? Do students and teachers recycle? Explore the cost vs. environmental benefits of using recycled paper.
- Results of resource use and/or conservation practices will be displayed on charts and diagrams.
Step 3B -- Create (Performance Tasks Related to Standard Indicators)
In small groups or individually, students will create a plan to conserve a resource in their school community.
- Assessments from Step 3A
Using the environmental assessment results, students will come up with a step-by-step proposal for resource conservation within their school community. Refer to EcoFootprint at Redefining Progress.
Step 4 -- Present (Edit Work/Students Present Projects)
Students will have to present their information to a mixed audience in an effective way.
Students will present their results and proposals to the rest of the school community in a way that they feel will be most effective in demonstrating the results of their findings.
The Rainforest Alliance curriculum is unique in that it teaches science, math, language arts and social studies essentials while addressing the United States National Standards for Learning. These are the standards addressed in the fifth grade lessons.
Standard 3: Evaluation Strategies
Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate texts.
Standard 1: Reading for Perspective
Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves and of the cultures of the US and the world.
Standard 4: Communication Skills
Students adjust their use of spoken, written and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
Standard 7: Evaluating Data
Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
Students develop an understanding of the structure and function in living systems, populations and ecosystems, and diversity and adaptations of organisms.
Standard 1: Grades 3 - 5
Students understand the need for measuring with standard units and that measurements are approximations and how differences in units affect precision.
Standard 5: Technology Research Tools
Students use technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
Standard 4: Technology Communication Tools
Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
Standard 5: Environment and Society
Students should understand how human actions modify the physical environment.
Standard 6: Personal and Social Perspectives
Students develop an understanding of populations, resources and environments.
Fifth and Sixth Grade Resources
- Fifth Grade Curriculum
- Sixth Grade Curriculum
- El Salvador Slideshow [PDF]
- El Salvador Slideshow Script [PDF]
- Coffee Slideshow [PDF]
- Alex Goes Exploring in El Imposible [PDF]
- Alex Explora El Imposible [PDF]
- Alex Explora o Parque Nacional O Impossível [PDF]
- Life in San Miguelito [PDF]
- La Vida en San Miguelito [PDF]
- A Vida em São Miguelito [PDF]
- Ocelot [PDF]
- Great Curassow [PDF]
- King Vulture [PDF]
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbird [PDF]
- Blue-Crowned Motmot [PDF]
- Coffee [PDF]
Teacher Summary: El Imposible National Park, El Salvador [PDF]