Chapter 4: It’s Easy Being Green!
Inquiry 3: Green Careers - When I Grow Up I Want to be Green
- Provocations – Videos, articles
- Question Generation – Inside Outside circles
- Knowledge Building – Exploring career choices
- Determining Understanding – I used to think, now I think
- Pursuing Learning – Writing an advertisement
- Consolidation – Student Created Questions
- Assessment – One Minute Paper
- Take Action
To hook student interest, introduce the provocation to initiate student thinking.
As an introduction to green career opportunities, begin by having students watch this video Forest Manager & Water Technician by TVO Kids which introduces them to two careers, a forest manager and water treatment technician.
- Renewable Energy Scientist: A Conversation with Tom Zambrano: This link can be shared with students either as a whole group perhaps projected on a screen or that they read individually. It is a written interview with a Renewable Energy Scientist.
- Ocean Scientists Studying Coral Reefs: A Conversation with Eric Hochberg
- Earth Scientist Studying Glaciers: A Conversation with Kimbely Casey
Students can also activate prior knowledge and engage in discussion around career choices by playing the game “When I Grow Up!” either by themselves or with a partner.
At this point in the inquiry, we want to harness students’ curiosity and build off of the provocations that have captured their interest by generating meaningful questions to continue to drive the learning process. This section will outline pathways for question generation depending on the provocation(s) that your class engaged with.
Using the Inside/Outside Circles routine will help students generate ideas and assist in furthering their inquiry as they focus on potential future careers that are of interest to them, emphasizing ones that are “green.”
For the first few rounds, have students share any job that currently they think interests them. They can share some of the qualities of the position that interests them (e.g., it’s hands on; indoors/outdoors; can work from home; works alone/with others; allows for creativity; etc.).
After a couple of passes, change the question to specifically discuss a career that is “green” that they would consider exploring further.
At this stage, students may be ready to engage in a group knowledge building activity. It will encourage students to open their minds to many alternative ways of thinking about the provocations and ideas that have been generated thus far in the inquiry process.
Working in pairs or triads, have students complete this template adapted from careercruising.com called Exploring Career Choices (or modify it for your use). An interesting link that could be explored prior to filling this chart discusses what it means to be nature smart and identifies 10 occupations that are suitable to those that are nature smart. This 2-page document can be found at: Nature Smart Guide.
In the Exploring Career Choices chart the first column identifies some examples of jobs that might appear obvious as to how they can be “green” by supporting the environment and helping reduce climate change effects, while others are not so apparent. Beside each, is an example of how the career is green or could be modified in order to make it so. There are several empty boxes at the bottom of this chart so that students can think of and record some other examples.
Review the dozen examples that are listed along with how that career directly is a green choice or how it can be adapted to be green. Then in their groups they should brainstorm several more jobs that come to their minds or that interest them and fill in the second column as to how it would need to be modified to be greener.
Additional information, questions and ideas are available at the Career Cruising website at careercruising.com should you wish to explore this further.
Use responses to inform and guide the learning process. They can provide insight into which concepts need clarity, what many students are already well informed about, and a general direction that many students want to pursue.
Have students work in small groups different from any other they have so far, and use the strategy “I Used to Think & Now I Think”.
Each student should take a turn sharing a job/career and what they initially thought of its role and then how they think it could be modified to make it “greener”. This will give students an opportunity to listen to others to gain even more information and ideas as well as succinctly share their thoughts orally.
At this stage, students may begin research to pursue some of their questions, or some of the following activities could be integrated into the process to ensure that students have an understanding of foundational climate science. The activities listed below will enrich the understanding of green jobs and careers.
Have students write an ad for a green career of their choice. The ad should include:
- a description of the role and its responsibilities,
- what qualities candidates require,
- the hours involved,
- the experience required,
- the salary, and
- several sentences as to why this is an appealing opportunity.
Prior to writing their own ad, students may wish to explore current opportunities that are posted online such as the environmental, sustainability and nature jobs found by using key words to search positions on sites such as Indeed Job Search Canada | Indeed.
This step is designed to encourage students to integrate and synthesize key ideas. When students make connections and see relationships within and across lessons, it helps them to solidify knowledge and deepen their understanding.
For this consolidation exercise, students will work in pairs. Each person will generate several thought-provoking consolidation questions for their partner. The questions should be based on the learning from this inquiry and could address their own personal gaps in understanding or aim to deepen understanding. Each partner will have an opportunity to write full responses to their questions, and then share their thinking with their partner.
Teachers will assess learning at different points throughout the inquiry using multiple methods. The following assessment provides an alternative evaluation method to standard quizzes and tests, that can be used after consolidation or at any point in the lesson to check for understanding.
The One-minute paper is a classroom assessment technique that uses a focused question generated by the teacher that can be answered within a minute or two. The activity asks students to reflect on their understanding of a lesson or concept and provides the teacher with rapid feedback on students’ perceptions on key learnings. Check here for more information on this strategy.
In one minute have students record their career choice and rationale based on their exploration and new learning.
Allowing time for students to take action is an essential part of the learning process on climate change, as it empowers students and eases their eco anxiety. You might introduce the idea of students taking action by sharing this “Climate Change Song”.
If they need some ideas of simple and immediate measures they can implement you can share this document from Direct Energy. While it is written for parents, students can get the idea of something that would be attainable for themselves – or to share with their families! Ideas to Think Green
Ideas for Taking Action:
- Model green behaviour – use a reusable water bottle, actively recycle, compost, bring your bags to the grocer, bring your mug to the coffee shop, repair things that need mending, buy second-hand when applicable, pack a litterless lunch, use cloth napkins, use toxic-free cleaners (or make your own), walk or bike instead of driving when possible – these are just some basic ideas. Check out Ideas to Think Green for more suggestions.
- Collect rainwater for the garden
- Compost your kitchen waste
- Try more plant-based foods
- Conduct a clothing drive
- Collect food donations for the local food bank
- Enrol in the EcoSchools program and complete as many initiatives as the class decides. “The core of the EcoSchools program is the EcoSchools Certification Application (ECA), a bilingual, online application platform that enables schools across the country to create and implement a customized environmental action plan that meets the needs of their community. At the end of each year, school plans are submitted and assessed by EcoSchools staff, and schools are awarded a certification level ranging from Bronze to Platinum.”
- Develop a plan to conserve energy at home and/or at school and communicate this to this to the rest of the student body. Take part in one of Green Learning’s Challenges like the “Energy Revealed Challenge” here.
- Enter one of the Little Inventors Climate Champions invention challenges offered by the Child Rights International Network. At Little Inventors Events you can find current, past and upcoming events such as Climate Champion Inventions and Protect Our Oceans Mission. It’s worth exploring prior contests so students can see what other students across the globe have designed.
- The Little Inventors site (https://www.littleinventors.org/) also provides a variety of mini challenges under the heading “Challenges” with many related to the environment and climate change. Students can upload their creation to the site and hope it gets published and/or complete to share with the class or upload to a class’ shared Google document. Here are some relevant mini challenges:
Action Project Examples
Welcome to Project 2050: Climate-friendly habits to change the world! This national movement, powered by Earth Rangers in partnership with EcoSchools Canada, is about connecting youth with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle climate change.
The program will provide an easy and fun way for youth and their families to contribute to the fight against climate change by adopting small but impactful climate-friendly habits.
To participate select and complete at least three of the following actions to contribute to Project 2050:
- Active and Sustainable School Travel
- Divert Textile Waste
- Heating and Cooling
- Meatless Mondays
- Reduce Your Food Waste
- Sort Your Waste
- Switch Off Lights and Devices
- Tree Planting and Maintenance at School
- Vermicomposting and School-based Composting
- Waste-Free Lunch
GOOS stands for Good On One Side. GOOS paper is paper that has been used on one side, but is still blank and usable on the other side. Using GOOS paper means ensuring both sides of a piece of paper are used before it is recycled.
A GOOS paper bin collects and stores your GOOS paper in a convenient and accessible place to help ensure it can be used easily. Get creative and decorate your GOOS bins with a “goose” theme or other eye-catching styles.
Join students, teachers, workplaces, and families across the country on the first Thursday in April to celebrate National GOOS Paper Day.
On this day of action, get creative as you learn about responsible paper use and promote effective ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle paper.
LSF’s Youth Forums engage students in sustainability issues, equip them with skills and knowledge, and empower them to take action!
- Students attend workshops on various sustainability or climate change topics
- Access to funding to support your action project!
Dr. Roberta Bondar is unique, not just for being the world’s first neurologist in space, the first Canadian woman in space, or for her pioneering space medicine research. Academically one of the most distinguished astronauts to have flown in space, Dr. Bondar is also the only astronaut to use fine art photography to explore and reveal Earth’s natural environment from the surface.
The Bondar Challenge is an opportunity for students to learn about the art of photography and to discover new perspectives on nature through a camera lens. The challenge is designed for students aged 6-18. Student entries will be judged in one of three age categories: 6-10; 11-14; or 15-18.
Activists and organizers across the country are working to transition their communities away from fossil fuels. We created our community-based green energy project grants to provide critical funding for these local efforts.
All bullfrogpowered customers help fund these small-scale, community-led projects, including solar panels on schools and in Indigenous communities, education and training programs, and a cleantech accelerator.
Some examples of education-related initiatives, including Canadian Rockies Public School solar project can be found at the link above.
Young Reporters for the Environment (For Grade 6 only):
YRE Canada is a national environmental education program that gives youth the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism.
Participants (ages 11-14 and 15-18) investigate and report on environmental issues, and propose solutions, by using video, photography or writing.
Each year there is a contest available to students with an April deadline. This Canadian National Competition is open to entrants in two categories: ages 11-14, and ages 15-18. Article, photo, or video submissions must meet a few criteria. Pieces should:
- Investigate solutions to a local environmental issue/problem based on this year’s themes of pollution, loss of biodiversity, or climate change that have to be linked to a chosen Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
- Report on the chosen issue through writing, photos, or video.
Students may submit more than one piece and can work individually or in groups of up to three people. Please note, winners in each category and age group will be publicly displayed and promoted on EcoSchools Canada’s social media and website.