Exploring Sustainability in Grade 5 & 6: Uncovering Philosophical Questions - Essay Sample

Paper Type: 
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1760 Words
Date:  2023-08-09


In the sustainability learning unit, the scientific understanding and science inquiry skill that will be focused on include defining sustainability and exploring what people want to sustain. The students will be able to question and predict sustainability issues in the world today. Therefore, it is imperative to keep these questions alive and open when teaching grade five and six pupils. The sustainability unit provides a novel background for asking enduring philosophical questions such as what is a good life and its essence and what role humans have in creating a better world, which helps the students in planning and conducting guided investigations. Thus, teaching and thinking about sustainability are future-oriented projects, yet its principles and practices significance must be understood and conveyed in the present.

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By the end of level six, the students will be able to describe how scientific knowledge is used in sustainability methods decision making. They will explore how scientific understanding of this concept, inventions, and discoveries influence the lives of future generations. Also, they will be able to record and process sustainability observations using informal measurements. And analysing and evaluating skills by comparing the observations and predictions with those of others. Besides, they will attain communication skills when representing and communicating observations and ideas about renewable and non-renewable sources.

Alternate Conceptions

At grade five and six students have alternative conceptions of the recycling and reuse. Despite not labelling themselves environmentalist they believe in improving the world. But have many alternate conceptions such as the environment is separate from humans, nature cannot survive without human management, and the more a person purchase the more they help the environment (Buck 2001). Therefore, there is a need to refute these misconceptions through teaching. For instance, students conceptions that buying and consuming more to get more recyclables and therefore help the environment more indicate that they do not make many connections to decreasing consumption or reusing (Buck 2001). The teacher will teach about reuse and recycling while emphasising that it is part of conservation strategies and should be everybody’s lifestyle. The teacher will focus on encouraging students to reduce their consumption level and reusing materials that are frequently discarded.

One Other Curriculum Area

Sustainability can be integrated into a history class to help understand human-environmental interactions in the past. The class can analyse methods in which community, oral, traditions, agriculture, and literature histories influence an individual's perceptions of the environment and other cultures.

One General Capability

Ethics: to navigate the sustainability topic the students will develop virtue, rightness, context, and consequence, which are ethically imperative. Environmental problems challenge people to extend ethical principles of sustainability and justice, sufficiency and compassion, participation, and solidarity to encompass the natural world wellbeing.

Section 2: A learning Sequence

Calculating Footprint

In this learning experience, students should approximate their carbon footprint by assessing the carbon they emit in the environment through their lifestyles. These tasks will involve two distinct methods, which are my carbon footprint and trip tally. First, in the individual carbon footprint, every student is provided with particular suggestions of small lifestyle changes they could make to reduce their carbon footprint. The class will record, collate, and compare the numerical data that their questions responses create. Also, the students will plot an individual, small group, or class data in a table or graph. And establish their average carbon footprint is for the whole class, setting objective to decrease it to a specific level by the end of the term. The teacher will have the students examine their lifestyle changes suggested to them in their outcomes and identify what changes they will embrace to assist reduce the class's overall carbon footprint.

Secondly, together with exploring the question about personal carbon footprint, the teacher will also request the students to record their travels for a few days or a week. The kind of data they capture for every trip includes mode of transport, the distance of the trip, number of passengers, and probable alternative modes of transport. They will then collate, evaluate, and compare individual, small groups, and the whole data of the class. After presenting their results in tables, columns, and picture graphs, the class will discuss what the findings mean in terms of the attitude towards and knowledge of sustainability.

The Life History of Stuff

In this sustainability class activity, students should choose a specific food item and explore the three stages of the items' life’s including production, sale, and disposal. Plotting this information will help the students and teachers with a way to identify, consider, and deliberate the sustainability problems surrounding the life of the items (Reeske & Ireton 2001). Thus, this type of scientific exploration will motivate and encourage the students to reflect on their consumption with a more worldwide and sustainable perspective.

Successful discussion of the foodstuffs life history by the students will indicate that they are understanding the concept of intergenerational sustainability. Also, students should improve their observation, analysis, and evaluation skills of the students. The method evaluates the connections between social, economic, and environmental problems that will challenge them to build a more sustainable world. In exploring the lifecycle of the manufactured product the students understand the role of companies in promoting consumption at the expense of decreasing resources and environmental degradation. Changes in the students' lifestyles in terms of purchases and consumption, reuse, and recycling will exhibit that the students have understood the imperative and the value of sustainability concepts in our daily living. They will have understood the need for environmental sustainability and the role humans play to ensure that climate changes are addressed.

Powerpoint of Energy Production and Consumption

The teacher will carry out a PowerPoint representation to help grade five and six students comprehend the reasons why the production of goods and services requires energy. The visual representation tool will include an explanation of energy and the energy cycle, an individual cut and paste activity, and a hands-on science investigation about energy. The resource will explain the renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. The teacher will employ the tool to enhance learning for learners, especially those who require visual materials. Besides, if well used it can be a motivational tool for engaging students with the sustainability material being presented.

PowerPoint presentation usually stimulates the long-term memory of students. Therefore, improved performance during the end of term examination will show that the students have understood the concept of sustainability, its importance, and the role human beings plays in protecting the environment and ensuring and maintaining sustainable livelihoods. Further, during discussions, the ability of the students to reflect on a lesson and correct any alterations ensures that the interaction between the teacher and the students in the classroom is improved. Therefore, this rise in the level of interactions indicates science understanding and improvement in inquiry skills.

Part 2: Rationale


The learning sequence described above is imperative since students will be able to understand the scientific processes behind climate change and the earth's resources exhaustion. Incorporating practical activities will help the students identify, recognise, understand, and devise ways of addressing the problem, which important in achieving the required science teaching and learning outcomes (Burmeister 2012). Students must reduce the level of greenhouse gases to ensure the climate is healthy and safe for people and other living things. To avoid natural disasters or high temperatures, these gases must be kept at their normal levels hence the need to reduce them as much as possible even at an individual level.

Strengths of Teaching and Learning Approaches

Using mathematics and science to calculate and determine each student’s carbon footprints by responding about their everyday lifestyles choices and then planning to make changes in their lifestyle to reduce them help the students learn, understand, and inquire more about their individual effects on global climate and how they assist the environment. Therefore, this kind of approach aligns with the Next Generation Science standards (Burmeister 2012). Therefore, primary school students will learn how to define footprint, outline various methods to decrease their carbon footprints, and describe why it is imperative to have a small carbon footprint as possible. For instance, the students are encouraged to cut down their consumption, reuse those products, and only recycle when the product cannot be reused. Besides, teaching them that using the school bus to arrive at school is one way of reducing their carbon footprints.

One of the challenges of teaching primary school students is keeping them engaged in the task and interested. By each student picking and learning the life history of a certain product helps the teacher to overcome this challenge as the learners acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in science processes and concepts. Students develop skills important for critical thinking and scientific inquiry. Also, they will thrive in hands-on experience since they are often visual learners and kinaesthetic (Burmeister 2012). It is easier to comprehend the life history of stuff and the impacts it has on the environment when the students can observe it unfold before their eyes. Further, by involving the students in the inquiry, it permits them to discover the detrimental life history of products on their own in the real world, instead of learning about it in the textbook.

Using a PowerPoint of energy production and consumption to meet the energy requirements of human activities as a teaching resource will help the students visualise the extent these activities damage the environment. By the teacher presenting how the residues of living matter over millions of years have been transitioned under the soil and the sea in the form of natural gas, coal, and oil. And how human activities are exhausting these resources will ensure that the students’ visual impact and learners' focus is improved. The text on the PowerPoint slides are short and to the point to keep the students from feeling overwhelmed.

Limitations of Using this Resource

This resource may face some hindrances since the carbon footprints and the product life history may be demanding for the students at this level. Furthermore, the PowerPoint representation provides various disadvantages to the teacher and the learners. The students may focus on the design while ignoring content and cohesion. Also, it can oversimplify the sustainability topic by reducing it to a set of bullet points that are weak to exhibit the complexity of the issue.


Assessment for Learning

The teacher has chosen to integrate assessment and teaching; this is because the power of such an assessment comes from identifying and recognising how much learning is happening in the common science tasks of the school day. And how much insight to the...

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Exploring Sustainability in Grade 5 & 6: Uncovering Philosophical Questions - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 09). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/exploring-sustainability-in-grade-5-6-uncovering-philosophical-questions-essay-sample

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