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What is Environmental Education?

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Environmental Education and the Social StudiesThis slideshow is available online at
naaee definition of environmental education
NAAEE Definition of Environmental Education:
  • “A process which promotes the analysis and understanding of environmental issues as the basis for effective education, problem-solving, policy-making, and management.”
us epa definition of environmental education
US EPA Definition of Environmental Education
  • Increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues
  • Provides the skills needed to make informed and responsible decisions
  • Teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an environmental issue
  • Does not advocate a particular viewpoint or course of action
how is environmental education relevant to social studies
How Is Environmental Education Relevant to Social Studies?
  • Offers opportunities for study under each of the ten themes of social studies education identified by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
  • Because the environment affects everything, the study of it spans all disciplines
  • Environmental Education is an excellent integration tool that can help students explore historical, economic, political, geographic, and scientific aspects of environmental topics
ten themes of social studies education ncss
Ten Themes of Social Studies Education (NCSS)
  • Culture and Cultural Diversity
  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • People, Places, and Environments
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
the ten themes of social studies education cont d
The Ten Themes of Social Studies Education (cont’d)
  • Power, Authority, and Governance
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Global Connections
  • Civic Ideas and Practices
social studies academic content standards
Social Studies Academic Content Standards
  • History
  • People in Societies
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Government
  • Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities
  • Social Studies Skills and Methods
in the good old days project learning tree
“In the Good Old Days”Project Learning Tree
  • How American attitudes toward the environment have changed over generations
  • Students study the writings of men and women who have shaped the way people think about the environment
wildlife in ohio history timeline1
Developed by Ohio Division of Wildlife. See also Life History notes on various species at www.dnr.state.oh. us/wildlife

Classroom presentation available from jen.dennison@dnr.

“Wildlife in Ohio History” Timeline
history of wildlife management project wild
“History of Wildlife Management”Project Wild
  • Define wildlife management
  • Describe major trends in wildlife management philosophies and practices
good oak leopold education project
“Good Oak”Leopold Education Project
  • Relate a tree’s annual growth rings to environmental conditions and historical events at the time of their growth.
the native way project learning tree
“The Native Way”Project Learning Tree
  • Traditional Native American cultures, lifestyles and their use of natural resources and the land
  • Compare to contemporary attitudes and lifestyles
  • Compare fictional and actual version of Chief Seattle’s words
wildlife in national symbols project wild
“Wildlife in National Symbols”Project Wild
  • Identify wildlife used in national symbols
  • Hypothesize reasons wildlife are used in national symbols
prairie memoirs project wild
“Prairie Memoirs” Project Wild
  • Interpret different cultural viewpoints
  • Describe how wildlife and habitat affect cultures & societies
  • Evaluate cultural factors leading to endangerment of species
geography using migratory birds and butterflies
Geographyusing migratory birds and butterflies
  • Journey
  • Monarch
  • “Back from the Argentine” Leopold Education Project,
using phenology to teach geography and economics
Using Phenology to Teach Geography and Economics
  • GLOBE program: How spring moves up the country using temperature changes,
  • How Ohio farmers and horticulturists track growing degree days (GDD): Link to Ohio State University-Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
how well do you know the great lakes es eagls
“How Well Do You Know the Great Lakes?” ES-EAGLS
  • Develop a perception of the differences between the Great Lakes in:
    • Water volumes
    • Length of shoreline
    • Human population distribution
    • Amount of fish harvested
there is no point to this pollution healthy water healthy people
“There is No Point to This Pollution”Healthy Water, Healthy People
  • Students analyze data and interpret a topographic map, to solve a mystery about which possible sources might be causing the pollution of a lake.
life and death situation healthy water healthy people
Study the diversity and global locations of waterborne diseases and the role of epidemiology in disease control

Students search for others who have been “infected” with the same waterborne illness as they have.

“Life and Death Situation”Healthy Water, Healthy People
cookie mining
“Cookie Mining”
  • Introduction to economics of mining. Students buy property, purchase mining equipment, pay for mining operations, pay for mine land reclamation, and receive money for the “ore” (chocolate chips) mined.
energy trade offs university of northern iowa
“Energy Trade-offs” University of Northern Iowa
  • Global Connections theme
  • Focus on world trade with emphasis on energy resources
what is the most economical form of transportation es eagls
“What is the Most Economical Form of Transportation?” ES-EAGLS
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption theme
  • Compare various forms of transportation in terms of their cost and speed
resource depletion www womeninmining org
Elementary students learn how some natural resources are nonrenewable, and how conservation methods can extend our nonrenewable resources.“Resource Depletion”
weighing the options a look at tradeoffs project learning tree
“Weighing the Options: A Look at Tradeoffs”Project Learning Tree
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of protecting endangered species
  • Ethical considerations
the law before and after science and civics sustaining wildlife
“The Law: Before and After”Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Students analyze the social, political, and economic influences that led to enactment of the Endangered Species Act

presidential prerogatives science and civics sustaining wildlife
“Presidential Prerogatives”Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Students explore the role of the President in creating and implementing environmental policy to protect wildlife, comparing President Theodore Roosevelt to the current administration

testing the law tva v hill science and civics sustaining wildlife
“Testing the Law: TVA v. Hill” Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Students analyze the history of the Supreme Court snail darter case to explore the role of the judiciary.

water court project wet
“Water Court”Project WET
  • Students participate in a mock court to settle water quality and quantity disputes.
  • Demonstrates how disputes can be settled through mediation or litigation.
  • Evaluate arguments presented by opposing sides
  • (Middle and high school)
setting the standards healthy water healthy people
“Setting the Standards”Healthy Water, Healthy People
  • Students simulate the process used by the US Environmental Protection Agency to determine drinking water standards
  • Includes a risk assessment, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment, and risk characterization
  • (Middle and High School)
planning for people and wildlife project wild
“Planning for People and Wildlife” Project Wild
  • Describe issues in land-use planning for cities
  • Identify how negative effects on wildlife can be reduced
  • Describe actions that can be taken
beyond brockovich
Beyond Brockovich
  • Case studies of drinking water contamination show different standards of proof in science, criminal law, and civil law
  • What happens when science can’t give a definitive answer and the legal system must resolve a case about a cancer cluster
  • OSU Geology “Science in the Courtroom” Website on Woburn “A Civil Action” case
  • Request teaching resource list from Ohio EPA Office of Environmental Education
sea turtles international project wild aquatic
Sea Turtles InternationalProject Wild Aquatic
  • Different countries’ philosphies on wildlife ownership and habitat management
  • International agreements and organizations that manage species that cross international borders
when a whale is right project wild aquatic
When a Whale Is RightProject Wild Aquatic
  • Status of whales
  • International alliances that affect wildlife
  • How wildlife can affect relationships between and among nations
there ought to be a law
“There Ought To Be A Law!”
  • Ohio State Bar Association annual essay contest for grades 7-12
  • Essays might cover topics such as the need for a law to regulate the adverse impact of some technology on the environment, or the depletion of natural resources
Sample Lessons and Activities using the Environment in Social Studies:Citizen Rights and Responsibilities
what s their difference science and civics sustaining wildlife
“What’s Their Difference?”Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife
  • Students analyze differences in wildlife and environmental policy between and within the major political parties in the United States.
is there a feather in my cap science and civics sustaining wildlife
“Is There a Feather in My Cap?” Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Students investigate the origins, history, current policies, membership data, and sources of support for several environmental organizations.

legal eagles science and civics sustaining wildlife
“Legal Eagles”Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Students investigate local laws and zoning regulations that may apply to their service project in the community.

citizen rights and responsibilities
Citizen Rights and Responsibilities
  • “Environmental Heroes and Heroines” instructional unit in earth values and ethics from EE Association of Illinois
  • Contrasts seven different environmental ethics, including Leopold’s Land Ethic, Deep Ecology, Eco-Feminism, Animal Welfare, and Wise Use
  • Investigate views of people like Audubon, Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Chief Seattle, Lois Gibbs, Diane Fossey
water bill of rights project wet
“Water Bill of Rights”Project WET
  • Students create a document to guarantee the right to clean and sustainable water resources
  • (Middle and High School)
smoky gold leopold education project
“Smoky Gold” Leopold Education Project
  • Students read about a hunting experience Leopold had with his dog, compare and contrast tamarack with coniferous and deciduous trees, and debate the issue of hunting
  • Compare Leopold’s Land Ethic to other environmental ethics
water s going on project wild aquatic
“Water’s Going On?”Project Wild Aquatic
  • Record and interpret daily water consumption
  • Recommend how to conserve water
control of purple loosestrife earth systems education ohio sea grant
“Control of Purple Loosestrife”Earth Systems Education – Ohio Sea Grant
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions theme
  • Introduce students to invasive species and their impacts
  • Use PrOACT model of decision making to evaluate purple loosestrife control methods
Sample Lessons and Activities using the Environment in Social Studies:Social Studies Skills and Methods
a snapshot in time healthy water healthy people
“A Snapshot in Time”Healthy Water, Healthy People
  • Students use topographic maps to explore the concept of watershed
  • Students evaluate water quality data sets collected at one place versus a series collected over time
  • Students graph watershed data, and analyze trends in water quality
watered down history project wild aquatic
Watered-Down HistoryProject Wild Aquatic
  • Investigate the history of a chosen waterway through research methods, a taped personal interview, and public records
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships between events affecting the waterway
meeting ohio academic content standards in technology education along with social studies
Meeting Ohio Academic Content Standards in Technology Education along with Social Studies
a tangled web conducting internet research healthy water healthy people
“A Tangled Web: Conducting Internet Research”Healthy Water, Healthy People
  • Students practice using the Internet and evaluating Web sites in order to gather local information about water quality.
net gain net effect project wild aquatic
“Net Gain, Net Effect” Project Wild Aquatic
  • Students conduct a simulation to explore the evolution of fishing and the effects of changing technology on fish populations
for more information and ideas
For More Information and Ideas educate/owep/wetmain.html

for more information and ideas1
For More Information and Ideas
  • Healthy Water, Healthy People Water Quality Educators Guide
  • Order at a discount from Ohio EPA Office of Environmental Education
for more information and ideas2
Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide

Aquatic Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide odnr/wildlife/events/ prjwild.html

For More Information and Ideas


for more information and ideas science and civics sustaining wildlife
For More Information and IdeasScience and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife

Jen DennisonWildlife Education CoordinatorODNR Division of Wildlife2045 Morse Rd.Columbus, OH 43229

for more information and ideas3
For More Information and Ideas
  • and
for more information and ideas5
For More Information and Ideas
  • Earth Systems Education Activities for Great Lakes Schools (Ohio Sea Grant)
  • The Ohio State University Earth Systems Education (
  • University of Northern Iowa Energy Education Curriculum Project (
for more information and ideas6
For More Information and Ideas
  • Environmental Education Council of Ohio
  • Office of Environmental Education