In this activity, students visit Web sites that provide information on different environmental problems, their costs now and in the future, and strategies for lessening their impact. Among the topics covered are saving our oceans and waterways, combating various forms of pollution, conserving natural resources, and maintaining balance in the ecosystem. Working in groups, students select an environmental issue and attempt to solve it through a formalized plan of action.
- To learn through resources on the World Wide Web about the impact of waste and pollution on the environment, as well as programs and projects currently under way to reduce their effect.
- To develop a plan of action that addresses an environmental hazard in the immediate community or abroad.
Introduce the activity by bringing to class a balance scale and placing it on a level surface in view of all students. Challenge the class to locate objects in the classroom that are of different physical dimensions (for example, a pencil and a chalk eraser) but have exactly the same weight. Instruct students to use the scale and keep track of their successes. After allowing time for experimentation, elicit that achieving a perfect balance is painstaking. Note that this pursuit becomes much more difficult when the balance is in nature and add that humans have interfered with this fragile balance through acts such as pollution and failure to conserve precious resources. Point out that students are about to take part in a group effort to alter this grim picture.
Urge groups to follow through on their plans of action, maintaining a journal that details their progress. If the classroom or school is connected to other schools or classrooms via a network server, help students establish an ongoing dialogue with students at a remote site who are engaged in some facet of environmental study. Encourage groups to trade and share ideas and suggestions with their on-line "buddies."