Human Impact on the Environment (Biodiversity in the Rainforest Supplemental Unit)

By identifying the role of biodiversity in our culinary world and rainforests, students will spotlight the effects that humans have on our planet in order to find ways to limit the human footprint through the food we eat and become a better world citizen.

Course Outcome
How can we, as world-citizens, create a cleaner and healthier world that limits the human “footprint” while providing opportunities for sustainable living across our community and globe?

This is an extension/supplemental PBL to EL Curriculum Module 2 Grade 5: Biodiversity in the Rainforest


Standard 1: 5.SSP.04 Construct and communicate arguments supported by evidence to: ● Demonstrate and defend an understanding of ideas ● Compare and contrast viewpoints ● Illustrate cause and effect ● Predict likely outcomes ● Devise new outcomes or solutions  

Standard 2: 5.SL.PKI.4 Report on a topic or text, or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas.

Standard 3: 5.ETS1.1 Research, test, re-test, and communicate a design to solve a problem.

Supporting standards in the unit (assessed with tasks and assessments):

Science: LS3.1, LS1.1, LS3.2, LS 4.1

Engineering:  ETS1.1, ETS 1.3

Math: 5.NF.A.2, 5.NBT.B.5, 5.NF.B.4, 5.NF.B.6, 5.NF.B.5, 5.NFB.6

ELA:RI.5.1, RI.5.5(Compare/Contrast NF Structure), W.5.2, W.5.9(research), SL.5.1(Science Talks)

Multiple Intelligence Connections:

Interpersonal: Students will develop a stronger sense of empathy and compassion for the world’s citizens through research and discussions. Students will discuss with their peers the need to increase biodiversity in kitchens around our community, nation, and world.

Intrapersonal: Students will make connections that our actions affect not only ourselves, but the world around us. Students will begin to take ownership and initiate to develop more sustainable living habits, while encouraging more biodiversity within their own homes.

Naturalistic: Students will practice their hands-on skills focused on alternative farming & cooking methods. Students will be able to communicate and show the power of plants and the importance of such holistic methods on the human body.

Verbal: Students will be able to verbalize how specific actions around the world lead to long-lasting damages. They can verbally explain to others possible steps to reduce waste, decrease deforestation, and promote a sustainable lifestyle. 

Logical: Students will show logic while developing strategies to limit the human footprint in a way that promotes longevity and buy-in. Students can use data/graphs to record personal results and community support.

Day 1: Part 1: Students took a pre-Assessment about their personal strengths and confidence in the kitchen or garden. They will take the same assessment again in 4 months to see any new growth in all areas.

Part 2: I can use my eyes to see hidden “stories”. I can define a portrait. I can practice different multiple intelligences while in the culinary lab.

This lesson was adapted and modeled from Chattanooga's ArtsBuild art integration professional development series called "Portraits as Biographies". This allowed me to integrated art within my culinary lessons. There are also hand gestures that accompany each characteristic which helps engage the students further. Due to the sake of time, no note catcher was used (but could easily be developed for further investigation!)

Day 2: I can explain the importance of washing hands in the culinary lab.

In order to build awareness of kitchen safety, I partnered with the school nurse to do a whole-day lesson on handwashing for grades K, 3, and 5. We used a two-part system: a science experiment and a Glow Germ simulation.

YouTube: "If you Could See Germs"
Note: Do NOT use cheap, dollar store bread as it is loaded with preservatives that prevent mold growth. Use fresh, bakery bread for better and faster results.
This is the part of the lesson with GlowGerm. Be prepared to allow students to see under the black light more than once to ensure that all of the product had been properly washed off.

Day 3: I can prepare a meal with ingredients that are “ugly” in order to lower the ‘scary’ problem of human food waste on our planet. (Halloween was around the corner, so this aligned perfectly!)

NewsELA article
School grown greens were added into the soup to promote the 'farm to table' process
Everyone loved it... even the school staff! 

Day 4: In honor of STEM week: I can use the sun to cook food!

Purchased on Amazon

Day 5: I can explore the many ways a community can use leafy greens like spinach or bok choy to increase biodiversity in the kitchen. (harvested from our rooftop garden)

Yes, I had 5 recipes going at the same time! 

Bonus lesson due to holiday schedule change

I can reduce human food waste by finding new and diverse ways to use holiday leftovers.

Youtube: repurpose holiday leftovers

Week 7 & 8: I can explain the impact I can make on the planet by eating less meat.

I turned them into crunchy tacos since they wouldn't stay rolled... still delicious!

Day 9 & 10: Building awareness of localized problems: Food insecurity -- Using the Chattanooga Food Bank to provide information about the importance of community knowledge of food insecurity, top needs for families, and the ways to make canned food delicious!

Course Overview

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