In Watch Your Step, students calculate their own ecological footprint as a measure of the impact of their lifestyle on Earth’s resources. The answers are provided in global hectares and acres and the number of Earths needed to support that lifestyle, developing awareness of the carrying capacity of the Earth. Students then measure the ecological footprint of students from other countries and answer questions about the impact of humans on Earth. In the discussion questions, the students discuss the impact of the American lifestyle on the environment and economy and sustainability issues in their community.
Resources for the lesson include teacher lesson plans, a worksheet for students, an answer key, and links to the on-line Personal Footprint Quiz. The quiz can be found at www.footprintnetwork.org. Click on the Tools & Resources link and select “Footprint Calculator.” Students will need to gather some information from the home, such as the monthly cost of electricity and heating/cooling before taking the quiz.
The lesson may take 1-2 class periods to complete.