#ToteChallenge: Students investigate the problems caused by plastic shopping bags, then propose solutions they can take to address the problems. They brainstorm uses for plastic bags and design a reusable shopping tote out of an old T-shirt using engineering, problem-solving, creativity, and communication. They take action for the common good by using and sharing their homemade totes and by educating the community about problems and solutions to the plastic bag crisis.
In this lesson, students learn that we all have ideas and talents to make the world a better place. This is an opportunity to demonstrate and feel the impact of kindness, inclusion, and listening on a caring community. Students learn from a community helper about the needs they observe in the community. They make and donate a "calming kit" so the tool may help youth calm themselves. Use this at the beginning of the year to set a tone and learn skills of effective language that are good for all.
In civil society, different people come together to form community. While differences may cause conflict, for the sake of the common good, we practice empathy and respect for others. Students respond to scenarios of differences in opinion. They learn to communicate respectfully with someone of a different opinion and to seek common ground or compromise. The lesson concludes with a service project in which the students create posters to teach these methods to the school or community.
Students learn about the roles of bees in a colony and discuss how that relates to people in community. Bees have an important role in nature as pollinators, but their population numbers have been declining in recent years. Students write a letter or create a flyer to teach others how to help bees by planting native species.
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