Note from the Editor: Organizing the “Save the Planet” contest had its share of challenges and rewards. Learning Bee supported the contest from the conception. Learning Bee did a wonderful task of disseminating the concept of the contest topic; How to build Sustainable communities. Here is a baseline document that Learning Bee shared with Medhavis, used for various grade levels regarding the broad subject on “sustainable communities”. For the younger grades, Learning Bee had to tone down the information a lot and get to very specifics in order to have them come up with concrete ideas. However, they all got the discussion on how this initiative can impact ways of living as a whole. Contest was a wonderful way to educate young minds and start them thinking on important topics such as smart living to save the Mother Earth! Each grade level teachers gave their own “spin” to the subject that’s tailored to the group of audience in each classroom.
Sustainable living: a type of lifestyle that helps to reduce society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, particularly non-renewable resources.
A community that practices sustainable living does these things:
- Conservation of natural resources
- Using every possible part of the natural resources
- Practice conserving for the future
- Shares it surplus with communities that need it.
- Does not pollute!!
- Adapts to the changing environment
- Involves the community
Sustainability: For humans to live sustainably, the Earth’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished. However, there is now clear scientific evidence that humanity is living un-sustainably, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to return human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits.
Renewable resources: This is a resource that is replenished faster than we use them, which means that it’s harder to run or these things. Some examples are solar power, wind power and geothermal energy.
Different types of renewable energy sources:
- Solar energy:
- Solar” is the Latin word for “sun” – and it’s a powerful source of energy. In fact, the sunlight that shines on the Earth in just one hour could meet world energy demand for an entire year. We can use solar power in two different ways: as a heat source, and as an energy source. In 1954, scientists at Bell Telephone discovered that silicon (an element found in sand) created an electric charge when it was exposed to lots of sunlight. Just a few years later, silicon chips were used to help power space satellites (http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/RenewableEnergy/022400)
- Wind power
- Using the wind to create electricity has been around for a long time – you’ve probably seen windmills on farms. When the wind turns the blades of a windmill, it spins a turbine inside a small generator to produce electricity, just like a big coal power plant. A windmill on a farm can make only a small amount of electricity – enough to power a few farm machines. To make enough electricity to serve lots of people, power companies build “wind farms” with dozens of huge wind turbines. Wind farms are built in flat, open areas where the wind blows at least 14 miles per hour. Comes from rotating turbines, rotating turbines look like large fans. As the fans turn they collect wind energy that helps generate electricity. (http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/RenewableEnergy/022397)
- Geothermal Energy
- Geo” means “from the earth,” and “thermal” means “heat,” so this type of energy is found under the earth. The hot lava from a volcano and the hot steam from a geyser both come from underground heat – and we can use that same type of heat in our homes. Here’s how it works: about four feet underground, the temperature of the earth stays the same all year long – about 55 degrees. The system pumps a liquid through the pipes to absorb the heat and brings it back indoors. A device called a “heat exchanger” takes the heat from the liquid and uses it to heat the air inside the home. We can also use geothermal energy to make electricity. A geothermal power plant works by tapping into steam or hot water reservoirs underground; the heat is used to drive an electrical generator. (http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/RenewableEnergy/022401)
- Biomass Energy
- Biomass means “natural material.” When biomass energy is burned, it releases heat – just like the wood logs in your campfire. Biomass energy uses natural materials like trees and plants to make electricity. It can also mean waste products like trash.
- Biomass is the second-most common form of renewable energy we use in the United States, providing enough electricity to power more than two million homes. (http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/RenewableEnergy/022398)
Non-renewable resources: are natural resources that are produced by the Earth that cannot be re-made, re-grown or regenerated as fast we use them! Some examples of non-renewable resources are oil (which we use in our cars), coal (helps generate electricity), and natural gas (electricity). Non-renewable resources cannot be replaced or can only be replaced over thousands or millions of years.
- Students will be divided into two groups, each group is responsible for forming their own community (as realistically as they can with the information provided).
- Each group will be assigned a “mayor” (preferably an older student) of their community and the mayor will assign tasks, such as note-taker and blue-print designer, etc… Students are asked to utilize the above listed renewable sources to put their new communities together. Teacher will provide information and students will be alotted some computer time to research.Together each group will do some research on the type of community they’d like to form based on the above renewable resources.
- Students should include a write up about their town and HOW they appplied their knowledge about sustainability and the environment to form their town.
- Part two of this project really depends on the teacher, if the teacher thinks it’s feasible than students will be able to construct a little model of their community.
- Learning Bee gave students a huge leeway for this project. The only real were that their ideas had to be somewhat realistic and that they had to form an environmentally friendly community.
More posts by this author:
- Sustainable Community (Junior ID-17)
- People are the Key to a Greener Planet (Junior ID1)
- How to Save the Planet (Junior ID-3)
- I am doing my part to save the earth (Junior ID-7)
- Global Warming (Junior ID-18)