Our Community's Economic System (K-2): Learners explore the elements of their community’s economic system by touring the neighborhood and identifying important goods and services. Learners then explore how human capital and “natural capital” (i.e., the environment) work together to provide these needs. Student handouts contain vocabulary and graphics to aid comprehension.
Community Tour: This activity is designed to help students explore the elements that make up their community. Using a sustainability perspective, the activity has students explore both human and non-human elements of the community.
The Life Cycle of Two Plastics (grades 6+): Learners investigate the concepts of biodegradation and chemical structures by comparing the life cycle of biotic and abiotic plastics. The lesson includes an experiment, guided reading selections, graphic organizers and formative assessments.
Biomagnifcation and Plastics (grades 9+): A simulation paired with reading selections help learners explore the concept of biomagnifcation with a focus on "body burden" and the chemistry of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The lesson also examines the international treaty the Stockholm Convention as a response to POPs, and supports learners to write a policy paper on the issues.
Feeding Yourself for a Year: Geometry Focus
Students in grades 6+ create a model of a fictional farm that includes the different land use types needed to provide all of their food, and absorb the associated wastes, for an entire year. The lesson is designed to help students understand the role of croplands, forests, waterways, and other land use types in supporting their needs, while also developing geometry skills as they use shapes, terms, and calculations.
Comprehensive Unit Evaluation Rubric
This instructional design resource is an editable document which provides multiple tools to evaluate a course or unit for any age range. The multi-page document includes detailed criteria to evaluate learning outcomes, content and pedagogy, assessment, and other aspects of instructional design. Recommended for use in professional development programs or teacher education courses.
Common Core Math Assessments
What do worker's rights, ratios, and proportions have in common? They are all themes in our new suite of Common Core math assessments. In this collection of assessments, students demonstrate their mathematical knowledge of Ratios and Proportional Relationships, Measurement and Data, Numbers and Operations, and Expressions and Equations through many sustainability contexts. Assessments include a detailed answer key with teaching tips, step by step calculations and leveled assessment suggestions for differentiated learning. (Excerpt available)
Price versus Cost
This lesson helps learners examine the social and environmental impacts of producing goods, and use this information to compare and contrast the difference between an item’s price and the full costs (including external impacts). Learners apply these concepts to reflect on factors that influence their consumer choices. (Excerpt available)
Interested in learning more about our Curriculum and Resource Center (CRC)? Take our video tour. The five-minute tour brings you inside the CRC's key features: ready-made units, a searchable database, professional development tools, and external resources.
The Common Core ELA Standards are designed to support "21st century" instruction--learning that is rigorous, relevant and real-world. But you can't prepare students for the 21st century with 20th century curriculum. Supporting achievement in this new era requires reframing curriculum in all disciplines in ways that demand deep analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving. This workshop introduces content and instructional design strategies to meet this challenge. Learn more about what tools and resources teachers and curriculum specialists will gain from participating in this hands-on, practical session. The workshop may be customized to last from 1-3 days. Contact us for more information or to schedule a program.
We're pleased to announce the publication of "Ecological Economics Education," a book chapter authored by Executive Director, Susan Santone. The chapter appears on the just-released Schooling for Sustainable Development in Canada and the United States. Santone's chapter introduces the fundamental principles of ecological economics by comparing it with those of "conventional" economics. Topics include macroeconomic frameworks, externalities, markets, and the motivations of economic "actors." In our latest newsletter, learn more about the publication and the work of ecological economist, Tom Green, and his research about what introductory economics textbooks teach us about sustainability.
Creative Change will be presenting at the ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence, June 29th in Washington, DC. The highly interactive session will inspire participants with a big-picture vision of educating for sustainability and will introduce practical curriculum transformation tools for aligning sustainability to standards. Executive Director Susan Santone will be presenting with Martha Kaufeldt, an expert on brain-compatible teaching. Learn more about Martha's consulting firm, Begin with the Brain.
We are pleased to announce a growing partnership with Art Mill, part of a nonprofit organization in Central Europe working to bring environmental issues into tangible art forms that inspire, ignite, and engage the public through creativity and social change. We are developing curriculum on plastics and ocean pollution that will be incorporated into Art Mill's international work with hazardous chemicals and waste as part of the UN Safe Planet Campaign. The campaign will reach schools in Nigeria beginning in February 2013.
We are very pleased to be working with our neighbors at Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) to develop an interdisciplinary ninth grade program focused on sustainability. The program, now underway, is structured as a series of in-depth investigations on key sustainability topics including the Ecological Footprint, food systems, and sustainable communities. Creative Change's ready-made course modules are serving as the basis of the program. To support the use of our materials, Creative Change is also providing professional development, planning assistance, and evaluation assistance. Learn more in our latest newsletter.
Creative Change and the River Rouge School District partnered on a project-based learning initiative focused on food systems and community health in the 2011-2012 school-year. In the one-year initiative, Creative Change supported teachers in grades K-8 to plan, implement, and evaluate a project-based unit designed to 1) boost student achievement on power standards and 2) improve teacher practice in the areas of project-based learning and other approaches. The evaluation for this project was developed and administered in partnership with the district. Scores on pre- and post tests on targeted power standards increased by up to 47%. Read full evaluation report. Please share widely.
We are pleased to announce our partnership with The Oberlin City School District (OCSD) to develop a comprehensive K-12 Educational for Sustainability curriculum at the OCSD. The integration of sustainability will go beyond environmental education to serve as a mechanism for meeting core standards, as well as supporting equity and deepening connections between the school and the community. The initiative is part of The Oberlin Project, a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of the community. Professional development of OCSD teachers began in August 2012 and continues through the fall and winter, with new sustainability curriculum anticipated in classrooms by spring of 2013. A more comprehensive rollout throughout the district will follow.
Wondering how you can teach and assess the new Common Core math standards through sustainability? We've just added a new collection of math assessments in our Curriculum and Resource Center. Last school year, we partnered with the River Rouge School District on a project-based learning initiative focused on food systems and community health. We found that students learning about food systems and community health resulted in 40% gains in English and math standards. Learn more in our most recent newsletter or sign up for a guest pass to our Curriculum and Resource Center for samples of our materials.
We are proud of our leadership role in helping develop Central Gardens Middle School, a new schooling opportunity for youth in our local community of Ypsilanti. As this school's curriculum partner, we will offer students curriculum that is academically challenging, community-based, interdisciplinary, and linked to meaningful civic involvement. All neighbors are encouraged to participate in the planning stages and provide feedback to make sure the school is the best possible fit for our community.
Creative Change has been awarded a national grant to integrate sustainability into university-based teacher education programs. The 20-month project will support a cohort of teacher education professors in multiple states to integrate sustainability content and methods into a range of courses. Participants will create and pilot a sustainability-focused course “makeover” that embeds EfS and Creative Change’s Curriculum and Resource Center materials into assignments and course activities. The project is funded by a grant from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.
This program is no longer accepting applications. Join our mailing list to stay informed about future webinars and other related events.
Evaluating Positions on Land Use (grades 9+): This critical thinking lesson helps learners evaluate and assess diverse positions on land use. Students evaluate statements from multiple sources and evaluate the positions based on evidence, underlying values, and potential bias. The activity is excellent for introducing students to the tensions between private property rights and the public good.
A Great Place to Sprout (grades 5+): Learners explore different soil types through several hands on activities. Learners also perform an inquiry-based science lab where they examine how different soil types affect the growth of green bean seedlings.