Lesson 1D: Consistent Issues: Sustainability and Practical Use

Lesson 1D: Consistent Issues: Sustainability and Practical Use    Grade level:  8-12 Time: 1-2 45m class
Cross Curricular Components: 1A: The Gilded Age;1B: Ecological Changes; 1C: Historical Context of Conservation; 2A: Influence; 2B: Sustainable Forestry; 2C: Stewardship, Consequences and New Ideas; 3B: Conservationists, Preservationists and Capitalists; 4A: Conservation vs Preservation; 5A: The Modern Era: Controversy and Strife; 6A: Sustaining Forests; 6C: Managing the Forests; 6D: That’s a Wrap; 6G: What Might Have Been

PDE Academic Standards:    4.2.10/12; 4.8.7-12; 1.1.8/11; 1.2.8/11; 1.6.8/11; 5.1.9; 5.2.6/12; 6.1.9/12; 6.2.9/12; 7.3.9; 7.4.9/12; 8.1.6/9; 8.2.69/12; 8.3.9/12


–Students will compare and connect current environmental issues to those of the past

–Students will begin to formulate their own stance on current issues and ways of solving them


Seeking the Greatest Good


Anticipatory Set:  (2min)      “Moment of Zen”       Discuss the quote as it relates to both students and the topic.

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives”

                                                                                                                        -William James


–Watch Chapter I of the film Seeking the Greatest Good

–Revisit the conclusions from lesson #1A regarding the impact of industrialization.  Then have the students (in small groups) research, collect evidence and describe the current environmental issues and proposed solutions in the following areas, by presentation of the teacher’s choice:


Food Production          Sustainability                Biodiversity                 Industrialization           Suburban sprawl

Population                   Technology                 Air/water quality          Wildlife                        inexhaustibility

Climate Change                        Energy Production


–Connect these current issues to those facing towns today and the policies of the Gilded Age from lesson #1.  What are were/are we confronting?  Then ask the students to discuss what the following phrase from the film means:


Application of common sense to common problems for the common good


–Have the students offer solutions for their assigned problems that reflect this ideal.  Discuss the following Key Questions and have the students write a persuasive essay defending their point of view:

-How do we balance the needs of a population with the needs of the planet?  How does population growth impact      your answer?

            –Similarly, how do we balance then needs of the environment with the needs of the economy?  Is one more   important than the other or are they equally important?


Closure/Summary:            (3min)

Students can present their findings and revisit them at the end of the unit.




Students will be evaluated on the quality of their writing and responses.

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