Students will uncover the dynamic interaction between the Earth's four spheres and how the process of each sphere allows Earth to be a naturally self-sustaining system. Students will explore the transfer of energy and recycling of matter as they explore the biogeochemical cycles and how they function within and between Earth's spheres. Students will begin to participate in citizen scientist data collection that will continue throughout the course, as they gather baseline data to inform their understanding of natural cycles and man-made disturbances to the environment. Throughout the unit, students will develop a model of Earth's natural processes that support sustainability and use this model to explain the science of Earth's systems to a mock Congressional Panel.
21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Product Creation
Students will apply their understanding of Earth's ability to self-sustain as they investigate some of the causes that disrupt Earth's delicate balance. Students will analyze how human population growth and consumption has impacted all spheres and cycles in the environment. Students will uncover the far-reaching consequences of consumption for both needs and wants as they analyze the science that governs these issues. Students will also consider alternate perspectives and interests that influence conversation and policy. Students will take on the role of citizen scientists as they plan and conduct data-gathering experiments at the local level to assess air and water quality. Students will use sensors to assess air quality and use chemical and physical analytical techniques to assess water quality. Students will also tackle specific global environmental issues, from a scientific perspective, in a topic of their choosing, for an Earth Day campaign and an Environmental Symposium.
21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Engaging in Global Issues, Presentation
Students will be exploring the innovative ways people are developing to help humanity achieve a sustainable relationship with the natural environment. Students will engage with many emerging products and practices that are working to mitigate the negative consequences of modern society on the environment. This final unit is largely research-based and requires students to learn about a new technology that aims to resolve an environmental issue and develop their own version that can be implemented here in Connecticut. Students will need to apply their understanding of environmental science to demonstrate how this new technology improves environmental quality. They will then work to persuade a panel of judges to invest in this new product or process, while accurately explaining the science that governs its efficacy and justify the need for the technology by discussing the consequences of inaction.
21st Century Capacities: Citizenship, Innovation, Presentation