Holliston Teacher Expands "Green" Learning Through Classroom and School-wide Initiatives

11 July 2011


Marie Cuevas, a 6th grade geography teacher from Holliston, Massachusetts, is incorporating lessons on the environment into her classroom. Inspired by the Primary Source course A Greener World: Understanding Connections Between People and the Environment, and using resources presented at the program, Marie is teaching her students about consumption and its effects on the global environment.

"A Greener World not only exposed me to great creditable primary and secondary sources to work with—it also gave me the background knowledge required to understand how and when to use them," says Marie. "I knew that I wanted to integrate more environmental issues into the 6th grade geography curriculum before attending Primary Source's three-day course. The program then gave me the evidence to support going forth, along with the confidence to actually achieve it!"

She began the lesson with a reading of the prologue from Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things. Students learned about how energy-intensive and complicated it is to produce the things we consume on a daily basis, then examined their own patterns of consumption. The class analyzed images from Material World depicting the discrepancies in material possessions owned by families in developing versus developed nations.

Students particularly connected with visual illustrations of shocking consumption statistics through Chris Jordan's compelling photo-art. "I think most students were surprised," Marie comments. "They did not realize how much they didn't know about consumption and the history or future of all the 'stuff' they consume."

The students broke up into groups and created a consumption bulletin board in order to educate their peers in other 6th grade classes. "They came up with some powerful information and images in order to get their message across," says Marie.

In addition to teaching about consumption and global environmental issues, Marie and her colleague Brook Doire created and proposed a school-wide green initiative as part of their graduate project for A Greener World. The administration recently accepted their proposal, and Primary Source is looking forward to following their progress as they work to implement this initiative throughout the next school year.







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