In third grade, we learn that many of our resources are in short supply. A few of these resources are water, coal, energy, and oil. We also visit the importance of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As a part of the curriculum, we invite our students to see our responsibilities of taking care of the earth; to make sure we pass on the best world we can to the generations who will follow us. Through books, web interactives, and fun activities, we share a variety of ways we can each give back to the earth as well as conserve the resources we do have. Most importantly, however, we need to make sure that we need to promote conservation ourselves because our students tend to model what we do more than what we say.
The Adventures of the Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling. By Alison Inches. Illus. by Mark Chambers. 2009. 24 p. Little Simon, (9781416972211). Gr. 2-3.
This is a fun story following the life of an aluminum can which is both cartoonish and insightful. We follow his journey from the ground to the supermarket, and then to his life after the shelves. Kids will get an "inside look" of how a recycling plant runs and ideas for how to reuse "trash" in their own homes. You can't help but love that the book is made up of recycled materials itself.
The Lorax. By Dr. Seuss. Illus. By the Author. 1971. 72 p. Random House Books for Young Readers, (9780394823379). Gr. 1-4.
In this beloved tale, readers get a sense of how misusing their environment can affect the way they live. The story of the Lorax, the speaker of the trees, is both heart warming and thought provoking.There are many opportunities to reflect on what we are doing that may be harming our environment and the creatures who live in it. Most importantly, the book exclaims that we are able to do something about it. The illustrations are wildly imaginative and the book has the same zany wording as other infamous Seuss tales. A must have for any library.
Oil. By Christian Ditchfield. 2003. 48 p. Children's Press, (9780516293677). Gr. 3-6.
Oil is a book which accurately explains one of most important natural resources in a kid-friendly manner. Inside children will learn what oil is, where we find it, how its used, why we need to conserve it, and so much more. There are a lot of facts and interesting tidbits that will enrich everyone's knowledge on the subject. One of my favorite aspects of this book are the maps it contains that show us where oil is found around the world.
Where Does the Garbage Go?. By Paul Showers. Illus. by Randy Chewning. 1994. 32 p. Collins, (9780064451147). Gr. 1-3.
This is a fun look at what is inside of our landfills. We learn that just about everything goes inside the dump, many things that could have been reused in other ways or recycled into different things. The children in the story see the importance of recycling and are eager to change the way they throw away trash. This book would be perfect for individual reading time.
Why Should I Save Energy?. By Jen Green. Illus. by Mike Gordon. 2005. 32p. Barron's Educational Series, (9780764131561). Gr. 1-3.
Energy is one of those resources that is more difficult for children to understand. Since we can't touch or feel energy, it may be hard to know what it is and why we need to be careful not to overuse it. This book is a great introduction to the topic that will have your students answering why its important to conserve energy.
This is one website I am sure you will love. Here students can click on items in a virtual classroom that will take them to different aspects of energy. They will learn about the scientists who have made major discoveries with energy, play fun conservation games, find interesting books on the topic, as well as explore science projects they may want to try out. Be sure to check out the Teacher Resources page, for even more information.
This amazing site, put up by the Environmental Protection Agency, is a wonderful resource for our students. Here they will learn about global warming, what causes it and what we can do to prevent it. There are user-friendly videos and fact sheets that will help to enrich their knowledge.
This is another fantastic resource put out by the Environmental Protection Agency which is both informative as well as interactive. Here, students can click on different parts of an interactive map of Recycle City, where they can take a tour. You will also find the "Dumptown Game" which is a fun way to show off what your students have learned about the importance of recycling. I will also encourage educators to head over to the "activities" section, where they will find additional ways to introduce recycling through art projects and other various activities.
Here is another interactive website your students are sure to enjoy. Inside we meet Rufus, a fun energy-loving dog who shows students different ways a home can be made more energy efficient. When you click on different parts of his house, you are linked to an entire description for what he's done to make it more earth-friendly. There are also additional activities the teacher may want to try out in their classroom.
The David Suzuki Foundation set up this amazing resource for the public which houses everything from how to reduce your carbon footprint to ways you can take action. This foundation "works with the government, businesses and individuals to conserve our environment by providing science-based education". I particularly like this website for teachers; its a great place to get ideas of ways to incorporate and demonstrate conservation in the classroom as well as in our homes.
VA Standards of Learning
3.6 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources. Key concepts include:
d) The human role in conserving limited resources.
Background Information from the Curriculum Framework
- Humans need to help conserve natural resources.
- Organisms compete for limited resources in their natural ecosystem.