Sunday, December 4, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Natural Resources

In first grade students learn about natural resources, that they are limited, and that these resources are affected both positively and negatively by the things we do. Here is ten days worth of materials to teach VASOL 1.8.

Virginia Standards of Learning

1.8 The student will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited. Key concepts include:

ation of natural resources;
b)factors that affect air and water q
c)and recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption of natural resources.

Curriculum Framework:

Natural resources provide us with the things we need in order to live, including food, clothing, water, air, shelter, land, and energy.
What we put into the air, especially the products of the fuels we burn, affects the quality of the air. Waste produced by animals, including humans, and factories can affect the quality of water. Some pollution washes from yards, streets, and farms.
Many natural resources are limited and cannot be renewed. Other resources are limited and cannot be renewed, but they may last a very long time.
Recycling recovers used materials. Many materials can be recycled and used again, sometimes in different forms. Recycling helps to save our natural resources. An example of a recycled material is newspapers that are turned into writing tablets.
Reusing materials means using them more than once. Examples include using dishes and utensils that are washed after use rather than using paper plates and plastic utensils and putting them in the trash.
Resources will last longer if we recycle them, reuse them, or reduce consumption of them.
The creation of parks can help preserve land. Parks have many uses, including recreation.


Conserve- to use wisely

Limited- in short supply
Natural Resources- Something found in nature that is necessary or useful to humans
Non Renewable Resources- Resources we can not replenish
Pollution- Harmful substances put into the environment
Recycle- To process used materials to make them useful again
Renewable Resources- Resources we can replenish
Reuse- To use again for a similar or different purpose

Day 1: Identifying Natural Resources

Today we will begin to focus on natural resources. What are they and where can we find them? This topic will cover days one and two, and the first we will talk about will be resources we can easily see and feel in the school yard. First we will have a 5 minute brainstorming session about natural resources. Focus will be on land, soil, forests, and plants. We will take a 15 minute excursion outside to see wh
at natural resources the students can find. Students will be given small containers and will be able to bring back anything they want as long as it is not a) alive (we don't want to disturb creatures in their natural habitat) or b) dangerous (no touching poison oak/ivy) (twigs, small amounts of dirt, grass, etc.). We will come back to the classroom and go over what the students found. We will sort and categorize the resources we found and come up with uses for t
hem. Students will be sure to record our observations and conclusions in their journals. Encourage students to write words as well as draw pictures in their journals.

Day 2: Identifying MORE Natura
l Resources

We will continu
e identifying and categorizing natural resources today. After reviewing the previous days work, students will be introduced to animals, air, water, and minerals as natural resources. Students will be broken up into four group and assigned one of these resources. They will be asked to come up with an example or two of each and how we use these as natural resources. Examples could i

nclude horses for ani
mals because we can use them to do work for us, the air we br
eathe because it keeps us alive, rain because it waters our plants, and lead because we use it to make things (students will probably say metal i
nstead of lead, but they can be led in the right dire
ction). Some of these are harder so try to use this as a way to differentiate instruction and be sure to help and encourage students. Have students record their thoughts into their journals. After students come up with examples and uses, write their answers up on the board. Students will make the following foldables using our natural resources information
we have gained for the past two days. These will be glued into students journals.

Day 3: Limited Availability of Resources.

Today we will explore natural resources and the fact that they are limited. Students will complete an activity showing what it means for something to be limited. There will be ingredients for No Bake Cookies at the front of the room. Students will be divided into groups of four and given the recipe and told to make their cookies (turn recipe into pictures to help children and make sure everyone washes their hands). The catch is there will not be enough ingredie
nts for each group to make a batch of cookies (there will be eno
ugh to make sure each student gets a cookie in the end, but not to make cookies). Help students to put together their cookies and have students decide whether there is enough for their group to make cookies. Have students draw the activity into their journals as they do it. After the group(s) that are able to make their cookies complete
ly have done so discuss the activity with the students. Explain that like the ingredients to their cookies, natural resources can be used up and there will be people that need them that will not be able to.
Have students name the natural resources that we have been studying. Ask if they can think of a way they are limited. Write these observations on the board and have students record them in their journals. Homework tonight is to come up with a short list of resources that they use daily that may be limited.

Day 4: Water quality

Today students are going to explore water quality. Bring in bottles half-filled with water, two for each group. Groups will keep one bottle clean while they will put things into the other to see how it affects the water. Things students can choose from will be food coloring, dirt, flour/cornstarch, and veg
etable oil. Students can add as much of the products into their water as they choose. Each time they add a new ingredient to the water they s
hould record what happens into their journals. After students record the changes in their water, have students compare and contrast this to the bottle of clean water. Have students share their observations with the class. Ask them if they would drink the water they altered? Why or why not? Does this mean that water quality is as importan
t as water quality?
Take students outside to the playground and have them bring their clean water with them. Bring sidewalk chalk and some shredded paper. Find a place along the edge of the black top to have students color a small patch and sprinkle a small amount of shredded paper (they will do this in their groups from inside). Have students make predictions about what will happen if they pour their water on their drawings and the paper, then have them do this.What happens to the drawing and paper? What happens to the water? Have students record these observations into their journals. Make sure to clean up the shredded paper

Today we will expand on yesterdays lesson. We will learn more about water quality and add in air quality and the importance to both to our environment. First, read the book, The Lorax to the students, taking breaks to discuss the impact the Once-ler has on his environment. Once the story is finished, have students draw two pictures in their journals. The first is a picture of the setting
of the story before the Once-ler arri
ved, and the other is a picture of what his actions did to the environment. Students will discuss their drawings in groups. Afterwards discuss renewable and non renewable resources. Ask students to discuss whether the think air and water are renewable or non renewable resources. Explain that while we most likely won't run out of air and water, we might run out of clean air and water. Introduce pollution and comp
are and contrast the types of pollution found in the book with the types we have in our world today. Have students draw pictures of ways they think we can clean the air and the water or keep them from becoming polluted in the first place. Students should share their ideas with the group. Go over conservation with students and how it relates to water. Discuss ways students can conserve water both at home and at school. Then discuss ways that we can affect air quality both positively and negatively. Students will take from class discussion and create a drawing of how to fix the damage done by the Once-ler in The Lorax. Homework tonight is to think of ways that the students family can conserve water at home. Come up with a water conservation action plan and bring it to school.

Day 6: Conservation and Community Improvement

Students will sha
re their water conservation action plans with the class. What is each student proposing? Talk with students about how conservation is only a part of what we can do to protect and clean the air and the water. Have students come up with ideas help protect the planet and its natura
l resources and write these on the board. Brainstorm with the class about recycling, reusing items, and reducing the consumption of natural resources. Give each student a copy of the Dear Mother Earth sheet. Have students work together in groups to come up with a letter to the earth about how they will help protect it. This letter will be graded on content. Do the ideas the student presents make sense in some way? Do they have the right train of thought? Is it possible? After discussing how each individual can affect the air and water quality, go over how we can aff
ect it both positively and negatively as a society. Write answers on the board. Have students make the following foldable showing what you come up with.

Day 7: Limited Availability

Today we will return to the limited availability of certain resources. Have students think back to the cookie activity. What happened when there weren't enough materials to go around? Was it a good or a bad thing? Have the students discuss this in small groups. Reintroduce non renewable resources. Come up with examples and talk about what the impact would be if we ran out. Fossil fuels are a good example. What happens if the world runs out of oil? Think of all of the products
that we make that we wouldn't have anymore, gasoline, vasoline, plastic products, and many more. Have students discuss the best way to deal with non renewable resources and prepare a short (3-4 sentence) presentation to give to the class. Students should focus on reusing, recycling, and reducing consumption. Have students draw a picture in their journals explaining one way to save non renewable resources. Then discuss the questio
n: Can we run out of renewable resources? The answer is that it is not likely, but if we don't do things to protect them then it is possible. Talk about trees, they are a renewable resource, they can be planted and grow new ones. Then think about The Lorax and the Truffula Trees. No one replanted them so they all eventually dissappeared.
Discuss ways to renew the renewable resources and have students draw a picture illustrating one idea you come up with as a group. Tonight's homework is for students to look around their house and see what renewable and non renewable resources they use. Can they think of a way to conserve any of these resources?

Day 8: Land

Today the class will continue to think about the possibility resources being used up. Ask the students if they think land is a renewable or non renewable resource? Take out a twin sized bed sheet and ask one group of students to stand on it. Have them describe the amount of space they have to the class. Add another group. How does this affect the amount of space each person has? Have the students make a prediction about how the space will feel after you add another group then have another group stand on the sheet. Discuss how this is similar to how land can be affected by people (it become crowded and messy, less resources available per person, etc.). Have the students record their observations in their journals. Based on
these observations ask students if they think they were right about land being a renewable or non renewable resource. Talk with the students about the benefits of national parks. They give wildlife a place to live and provide us with space to enjoy and the amount of trees and plants helps to clean the air. Ask students to make predictions about what would happen if we were to use up all of the land? Be sure to really think about what we use land for (space to live, space to grow food, space to naturally house resources until we need them) and whether it would be a positive thing or a negative thing to run out of land.

Day 9: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

Students will spend today going into detail about recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption of natural resources. Explain why we must do these things (resources are limited) and compare and contrast the different options. What can be recycled? What should be reused? What should we reduce our consumption of? How are the three different? How are they they same? Write students answers on the board and ask them to copy these into their journals as we discuss. Take students on a walk around the school yard, bring two boxes with you, one labeled recycle and one labeled trash. U
sing gloves and a reacher/grabber, pick up items and decide if they are trash, or something that can be recycled. Place the items in the correct box. (Make sure to do this ahead of time and tell students not to touch anything this trip. If you have enough gloves for everybody students can assist in picking up items under teacher supervision). Take your items back to the classroom. Show students the large plastic totes you have brought in. Give students poster markers and have them decorate the bins and label them "Plastic" "Aluminum" and "Paper". Tell students that these bins are going to be part of a class plan to conserve natural resources. Sort the recyclable items that you found on your walk into the bins. Make sure the "trash" items end up in the trash. Have students draw pictures of each of the bins into their journals. For homework, have students bring in three to four (or more!) items from home that can be recycled.

Day 10: Journals due and Review

Go over items the students brought in. How can they be sorted for recycling? Sort through the items with each group and place them in the correct recycle bins. On this day students will share their journals. We will spend time together afterwards discussing the entries and coming up with a class action plan for conserving natural resources during the school day. This plan will be displayed for everyone to see so that we can do our part for the r
est of the year to protect our nat
ural resources. We will spend the rest of class reviewing our journals and other notes to prepare for the test. Students will create a study guide to take home and look over with their parents. Also, for homework, have students get in touch with at least ten people over the next week and share our class action plan. Tell students to keep a log of who they got in touch with and their reaction of our plan.


Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share. By Molly Bang. Illus. by the author. 1997. 32p. Blue Sky Press, (9780590100564). Gr 3-5.

This beautiful picture book brings real questions to students in a way that is neither above their heads or condesc
ending. Beginning with a simple story, and ending with the idea that after this, we have nowhere else to go, Bang has children begin to thing about the world around them. How can we protect the air, water, and land around us? Why is important to do so? This book is sure to get younger children thinking about a subject that is very close to home.

Don't Throw That Away! A Lift the Flap Book About Reusing and Recycling. By L. Bergen. Illus. by B. Snyder. 2009. 14p. Little Simon, (
  • 9781416975175). Gr K-1.
  • This book does look a little young, but it is a great way to introduce young students to recycling and reusing. It is made from eco-friendly cardboard and is illustrated with vegetable dye. That alone makes it a good discussion starter when teaching about the environment.
The Garbage Monster. By J. Sensel and C. Bevins. 2001. 24p. Dream Factory B
ooks, (
9780970119520). Gr PreK-2.

A young girl finds out just how bad garbage can be when one night the trash comes to life after she forgets to take it out. Jo manages to slay the beast by tearing him apart limb from limb and learns that by recycling she can make sure that the Garbage Monster can never return. An added benefit, the once painful chore is now a little more fun. The realistic main character provides students with someone they can identify with and doing so will show them that even at their young ages, they are capable of doing some thing as daunting as recycling. This book is a great way to bring some magic into environmental education.

The Green Mother Goose: Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time. By D. Davis and J. Peck. Illus. by Carin Berger. 2011. 32p. Sterling, (

A new take on old classics. Our favorite nursery rhymes are back with a new "green" twist. This book is a great fun read as well as a good writing prompt. Seeing how somebody can take something old and familiar and make it their own is good for kids who may be having a hard time coming up with their own topics. It's printed on recycled paper so you have another talking point to go over with your students reminding them that you should practice what you preach.
The Lorax. By Dr. Seuss. Illus. by author. 1971. 72p. Random House, (9780394923376). Gr K-3.
In his politically
driven book, The Lorax, children are introduced to a world much like our own. One where plants and animals are losing their homes and resources because of the pollution brought about by mankind. The air and water in this seussian land are ruined causing a mass exodus of the native inhabitants. This book speaks to young children, and broaches a topic that in some cases
may be too hard for little minds to understand. It also puts the future in the hands of the newest generation with it's powerful statement "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Natural Resources. By L. Spilsbury. 2009. 32p. Heinemann-Raintree, (
9781432934781). Gr. K-2.
Here is a book to help simply explain natural resources. You learn about them and where you can geographically find them. Students learn that some resources are indigenous to certain locations, while some can be found most anywhere. We learn which are necessities for life, and which are available to make our lives more comfortable. Good information presented in a nice, straightforward way.

Oil Spill. By Melvin Berger. Illus. by Paul Mirocha. 1994. 32p. Collins, (9780064451215). Gr K-2.

Here is a book that no only teaches students, but tries to get them involved. Great for a read aloud and introduction to experimentation, Oil Spill, begins in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and teaches students the causes and effects of the oil on the ocean. This book encourages children to get involved by writing to their senators and telling them that even the smallest of people can have the largest impact.

The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. By N. Roca. Illus. by R. Curto. 2007. 36p. Barron's Educational Series, (
9780764135811). Gr K-2.
A great introduction to recycling. Young children are exposed to the ideas of reusing, recycling, and reducing their consumption of natural resources. The illustrations will help to keep a child's interest and beautifully represent the storyline. The earth friendly messages should be well received by younger audiences.

Using Air. By Sharon Katz Cooper. 2007. 24p. Heinemann Library, (9781403493156). Gr. K-2

This book gives an easy to understand overview of air. We learn why it is important and how we know it is around us, even when we can't see it. It also introduces air pollution, what causes it and what we can do about it. The photographs do a good job of adding to the text and the glossary in the back is useful to students who are just starting.

Who Will Plant a Tree? By J. Pallotta. Illus. by T Leonard. 2010. 32p. Sleeping Bear Press, (
9781585365029). Gr K-2.

This book showcases the interconnectedness of the earth and all of its creatures. While this story may seem to focus on the life cycle of plants and seeds, it is a great read to teach children about renewable resources. All of the animal characters are able to plant a tree, which is something as humans we need to remember how to do. We spend so much time cutting trees down, and we don't always act responsibly and plant more afterwards. This book is a great way to get students thinking about how we impact the earth.

Games/Online Activities:

3R's Most Extreme Challenge. This basic click game has students racing against the clock to see how many items they can save from turning into waste. While some students may see this as a fruitless endeavor (it is really hard to keep all of the items from getting thrown away) it does provide us with some good talking points about how it might be hard for one person, but the more people that try, the more items we can keep out of landfills.

Choose to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This activity is better as a printoff because it can be turned into an educational coloring book for children. Follow a jelly jar through the things that it can become to keep it out of a land fill. Children learn to think of creative ways we can use items we already have to fulfill other needs that may arise. There are questions at the end of the activity that can either be used as an assessment or as talking points for a class discussion.

Recycle Roundup. This sorting game helps children what items can be recycled, what can be composted, and what is trash. It's fun and fast paced. Children get to play as Gus, a big ape, and catch falling objects from the sky and put them into their correct bins. This game is better played with a mouse than on a laptop however so be prepared.

Take Off Mission to Earth. Become an Environaut and learn about our natural resources. Children play the role of space aliens whose job is to learn about the earth and what it provides that humans need to live. You learn what natural resources are for and why they are so necessary to our survival.

No comments:

Post a Comment