We started off by reading The Lorax (which the students informed me that they had heard a million times before - the challenges of teaching middle school, I guess). We talked about how the Thneeds were produced, which led to a great discussion of sustainable development. After coming up with a good definition, the students designed their own sustainable Thneed factories. There were a ton of good ideas - like not chopping down the whole Truffula tree (just taking the fluff off the top so that it could grow back), making the Thneeds out of wool instead of trees, installing solar panels to give electricity to the factory, and covering the walls with windows to let in natural light. They worked really hard on their factory designs!
Afterwards, we moved into the big event - Earth Day centers. So much of middle is school is just sitting that I like to try to get them up and around. I set up four centers: making recycled paper, planting flower seeds, creating recycled tin foil sculptures, and calculating our ecological footprints. They were SO excited. One of my students had made recycled paper before, so she basically supervised that station, which allowed me to take some pictures! (That's a plus of middle school; they're so self-sufficient.)
|Two girls figure out their ecological footprints. How many planets would it take to support your lifestyle?|
|A completed recycled tin foil sculpture (thank you What the Teacher Wants!)!|
|Come on sun, help us grow!!|
|Three students work on making recycled paper! It was a multi-step process that was super messy, but they were so excited about it.|