How Big is Your Carbon Footprint?

Lesson:

Activity Description: 

The ecological footprint concept is a way to roughly measure the impact of a person’s daily and long-term choices on the environment. People have become so accustomed to their diet, cars, homes, and energy usage that they don’t realize that the Earth will not be able to provide the needed resources indefinitely. When students go online to calculate how many Earths it would take if everyone on the planet lives the way that they do, they will be astonished. For many students, it is the beginning of increased awareness about the delicate balance of the planet. 

Objective: 

Students will:

Increase their awareness of the impact of their choices on the Earth. This awareness is to result in a goal to reduce their personal impact (footprint).

Learn the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of a set of data.     

Materials: 
  • Access to the Internet. If a class set of computers is available, it will take each student about 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire. If only a handful of computers are available, then the calculation for the number of acres needed to support each student’s lifestyle will take a little longer.
  • Graph paper or poster paper
  • Calculators
Time: 
2 class periods (50 minutes each) or 1 block period
Author: 
David Casey, Analy High School
Source: 
Alliance to Save Energy, www.ase.org