Friday, February 20, 2009

Curriculum Framing Questions

Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Students will use the beloved Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax, to explore renewable and nonrenewable resources as well as the effects of pollution. Students will investigate the cause and effect relationships that happen daily in the environment around them. At the end of this unit students will have the opportunity to create a newsletter. The newsletter will show how pollution and other human factors have affected renewable and nonrenewable resources in the world and even in their community.

Essential Question: How does change impact our lives?

Unit Questions: What effect can you have on the environment?
How can change affect an ecosystem?
What impact do humans have on an environment?

Content Questions: What are some examples of renewable and nonrenewable resources?
What are different types of pollution?
What are ways we can conserve our resources?


  1. I like how your content questions are concrete and clear and relate logically to your unit questions. There seems to be a flow to the process.

    I also think using The Lorax as a way to introduce the unit is fantastic. I think students at all levels can relate to that book. What is your grade level? The Lorax is really a nonthreatening way to introduce the topic.

    In thinking about your ending activity, I wondered if you could give students other options or choices, such as a photo story. I have found that students really like them and you could require a voice-over from a script they develop.

  2. I enjoyed teaching Environmental Science with my classes a few years ago and was able to start a recycling program on my campus which the students were very involved in. I wanted to offer a name and resource for you that was very fun and extremely helpful to me. Jane Hiller at Paper Stock Dealers which is the recycling center for Richland/Lexington county located off of Shop Rd has a super cool classroom and loads of ideas and information. She makes visits to your class or you can take a field trip to her classroom.

  3. I would like to learn more about The Lorax ..can someone bring to class ..perhaps I can modify for use to introduce other topics as well...thanks for starting our students at an early age for a greener planet..
    At LHS we started a paper recycling program .. recycling dumpster is located behing the cafeteria..

  4. Thanks for your class reflections. Hopefully, you will get more out of the class than just learning about Publisher. You unit seems well thought out. While there is nothing wrong with your curriculum framing questions, you seem to be focusing on the big ideas of change, pollution, and preservation. Some other possible essentials questions might be:
    What does it take to change the world?
    What does it take to save the world?
    Can I really make a difference?
    Should I save it for later?

  5. I really like the topic you have chosen for your unit! I know your kids will be able to learn a great deal, as this content has tons of real-world application.

    I think that your essential question is broad enough that it will allow your kids to really "jump-start" their thinking process as you begin the unit.

    Adding to what Kate commented earlier, I do think giving your kids some options for their project is a great idea. You could give them 3 or so options and even tie in current events (based on age/level). With this being a hot topic in the news, you could even have them produce a news story at the end of the unit. Just a thought . . .

  6. This is a very intriguing way to get the students involved in thinking about ways that could make a difference in our environment. The newsletter is also an excellent way to get them to incorporate their writing skills with their communication skills in sharing their thoughts on an important, relevant topic. The only suggestion I would have would be pertaining to questions about the cost(s) of making some of the changes that may be recommended. In other words, would there be a cost involved in any of the changes that would be recommended? If so, what? Again, this sounds like a very good learning activity.