HOPE Inspirational School
The Story of Stuff
A project by Amanda Youngblood based on the web-film by Annie
A NOTE ABOUT PROJECT BASED LEARNING | THE PROCESS & LESSON
INTEGRATION THROUGH WORKSHOPPING
There are many different frames of thought regarding Project Based Learning (PBL). In these
projects there are suggested informational lessons included; however, students may not need
the teacher to give them the information. As students proceed through the project, they will
realize that there is information that they need. By requesting a workshop where the teacher
can teach the needed information, students gain access to knowledge that they want and need
and the teacher doesn’t lose time teaching topics that students already know. Because
students have asked for the workshop and have the option to attend or not attend, many
disciplinary issues are eliminated. Students who do not choose to attend the workshop may
choose to continue working on other aspects of their project.
A snapshot of this in action is shown if, for example, students are working on a research essay
and a student doesn’t understand or know how to include parenthetical documentation, he or
she would request a workshop on that topic. Other students who need help with parenthetical
documentation would also attend the workshop. Students who already have the knowledge
they need in this area would not have to sit through an informational session where they would
be bored and possibly disruptive.
If teachers see students struggling with a particular aspect, or unable to find answers to a
relevant and necessary issue, they may suggest a workshop. However, the lessons suggested in
the Process portion of this document are not requirements and may be removed, rearranged,
or kept. Much of it depends on teacher comfort with leaving the learning process to students.
Some may feel that initially information should be given so the process of searching and
acquisition may be learned. Others may believe that allowing students to struggle in their
attempts to accomplish the goals of the project requires them to learn valuable work-place and
Relevant articles to read on this topic include:
"Learning Through Projects - Embedded Media." New Tech-Powering the Future of Learning.
ASCD.org, n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2009. <http://www.newtechfoundation.org/video2.html>.
Lewandowski, Dan . "Wall-to-wall project-based learning: A conversation with biology teacher
Kelley Yonce." LEARN NC. UNC School of Education, n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2009.
The Story of Stuff
Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies, Health
The Story of Stuff
Project is based on the
20-minute web-film by How can we lessen our impact on our world in order to improve our environment?
Annie Leonard that
explores the often
and social Students will study the effect the making and trashing of “stuff” on the environment, as well as
consequences of researching possible solutions in order to create a PSA promoting their solution to the current
America’s love affair issue in hopes of lessening our contributions to global warming and environmental sludge.
with its stuff.
As listed here, 6 weeks. However, more time could (and probably should) be allotted to
students for computer research and working on storyboards and PSA’s. This additional time
could add 1-2 weeks depending on the level of student comfort with technology.
PROBLEM AND ENTRY SCENARIO
1.1 DRIVING QUESTION
How can we lessen our impact on our world in order to improve our environment?
1.2 SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS
What impact does the creation and dumping of our “stuff” have on the
Why is our environment so important?
How do toxins negatively affect the earth?
What are the health effects of our “stuff”?
What are possible solutions to help lessen our impact?
How can we convince others to agree with our solution?
1.3 ENTRY EVENT OR INTRODUCTION STRATEGY
Hold up an iPod, a laptop, a cell phone, and other digital devices asking students which
ones they own or would like to own. Ask how much they’d be willing to pay for one and
what they generally do with their old “trashable” devices. Introduce the video clip from
The Story of Stuff website
Have students watch The Story of Stuff video cli p (use viewing guide to record important
information. When it’s done, review the key information and ask for students’ thoughts on
how they contribute to the problem. Ask what they think they can do to help. Record
information on a KWL Chart or in a list.
Introduce the project.
OBJECTS & ASSESSMENT
2.1 OBJECTIVES & HOW THEY ARE ASSESSED
Students will be able to…
Identify factors leading to global Chart showing cause and effect
Evaluate methods currently being Essay
used to combat global warming
and suggest alternatives.
Explain the cycle of “stuff” and Cycle graph with oral discussion of roles
their role in it. and possible solutions. Carbon footprint
Present to and persuade an PSA Presentation
audience to reduce their emissions
using their chosen method.
2.2 ASSESSMENT TOOLS
X Rubrics X Observations
X Journals Tests or Quizzes
X Reflections X Other: __PSA,
2.3 PROGRESSING ASSESSMENT & METHODS
Carbon footprint activity,
Stuff cycle graph,
Presentation to panel,
TOOLS & RESOURCES
3.1 MEDIA CENTER
□ Books – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, books on the environment
□ Computers & Databases (specify): computers w/ Internet access, science databases
□ Other: ______________________________________________________________
3.2 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS
Microsoft Word (Google Docs may substitute)
Microsoft Movie Maker (or other movie-making software) – Photostory would work,
Microsoft Publisher and/or PowerPoint (Google Docs or online publishing programs
Photo editing software (online or desktop)
3.3 INTERNET SITES
The Story of Stuff (http://www.storyofstuff.com/) – readings and video can be
downloaded from this site
Carbon Footprint Calculator
(http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/ ) or
Various, depending on student research
OTHER TECHNOLOGY & RESOURCES
Computers or laptops
Video cameras, regular cameras
Printer paper, colored pencils or other coloring materials
3.4 SUBJECT EXPERTS
Science Museum employee or scientist
Poet or writer
Film or animation producer
PROJECT MANAGEMENT NOTES
Four students per group with various abilities. Try to make sure each group has one student
who is a good leader and another that is relatively artistic (it would also be nice if one student
per group is comfortable with technology).
4.2 CLASSROOM SETUP
Students will need tables or other flat surfaces for working. Floor space to read together and
to work on larger projects would also be nice. If using desks, move to form groups.
Use projector to show Story of Stuff movie & other documentaries about the environment.
Student ability to work on computers may dictate the timeline and lesson spacing. Students
will low comfort levels with technology may need lessons on using Microsoft products or
Google docs. Teachers should also go over the use and care of video equipment. Editing
should be modeled unless students have previous experience. Ideally a student will have
experience in some of these areas and he or she can teach the other students.
PROCESS & LESSONS
Week One |
Introduce the project with the iPod activity, show the “Story of Stuff” movie, go over vocabulary
and allow students time to begin research on the environment. Read various articles and teach
concepts regarding CO2 and the environment. Investigate global warming and have student
compute their carbon footprint. Finally, discuss how ecosystems interact and are affected by
human energy consumption. Work on company logos and plan PSAs. Subject Matter Expert:
Week Two |
Read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (perhaps introduce with a clip from the movie) and use it
as a springboard for poetry writing and introducing figurative language. Continue research and
planning for PSAs. Subject Matter Expert: poet or other author
Week Three |
Introduce marketing strategies, including persuasive techniques, and look at different logos (use
this as a time to discuss the importance of design and art in persuasion and marketing). Review
the greenhouse effect and human impact, as well as coming up with some ideas about
conservation. Show PSA examples and begin storyboarding. Subject Matter Expert: animation or
Week Four |
Students will spend most of the week working on storyboards and research essays.
Week Five |
Continue work on PSAs and storyboards to refine ideas.
Week Six |
Discuss how to do effective presentations. Practice presentations. Present to The Board
(teachers, administrators, scientists, etc.). Complete self-reflections and debriefing.
ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION
Audio of poems and stories to listen to or follow along with.
Summarize or simplify difficult texts to adjust for reading level and ability
Use reading guides
Provide copies of notes with important points highlighted
Spanish subtitles for videos if available, or summary in Spanish.
Work with partner
Modified assignment or texts
Cloze worksheets for viewing guides and readings
6.3 GIFTED & TALENTED
Allow student to add a component to the project – speech to congress regarding
PSA, Magazine for distribution, etc.
Research multiple solutions and evaluate which is best
What was the most interesting thing you learned? How can you apply it later in your
What was the most helpful thing you learned? Why?
What went well with the project for you and your group?
What didn’t go so well with your project and your group?
What is one thing you’d change if we were to do this again? Why?
How can this project be improved?
Were there things that you needed to know that didn’t get taught or addressed?
7.2 RUBRICS & OTHER TOOLS
Project Assessment Rubric
Group Assessment Rubric
Class discussion – what went well, what didn’t, what should be changed
MAJOR STANDARDS ADDRESSED
8.1 LANGUAGE ARTS
LA.910.1.6.2 The student will listen to, read, and discuss familiar and conceptually
LA.910.1.6.3 The student will use context clues to determine meanings of unfamiliar
LA.910.1.7.3 The student will determine the main idea or essential message in grade-level
or higher texts through inferring, paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying
LA.910.1.7.4 The student will identify cause-and-effect relationships in text;
LA.910.2.1.3 The student will explain how meaning is enhanced through various features
of poetry, including sound (e.g., rhythm, repetition, alliteration, consonance,
assonance), structure (e.g., meter, rhyme scheme), and graphic elements
(e.g., line length, punctuation, word position);
LA.910.2.1.7 The student will analyze, interpret, and evaluate an author's use of
descriptive language (e.g., tone, irony, mood, imagery, pun, alliteration,
onomatopoeia, allusion), figurative language (e.g., symbolism, metaphor,
personification, hyperbole), common idioms, and mythological and literary
allusions, and explain how they impact meaning in a variety of texts;
LA.910.2.2.2 The student will use information from the text to answer questions or to
state the main idea or provide relevant details;
LA.910.3.1.1 The student will prewrite by generating ideas from multiple sources (e.g.,
brainstorming, notes, journals, discussion, research materials or other
reliable sources) based upon teacher-directed topics and personal interests;
LA.910.3.5.2 The student will include such techniques as principle of design (e.g., margins,
tabs, spacing, columns) and graphics (e.g., drawings, charts, graphs); and
LA.910.3.5.3 The student will publish by sharing with others, or submitting for
LA.910.4.2.3 The student will write informational/expository essays that speculate on the
causes and effects of a situation, establish the connection between the
postulated causes or effects, offer evidence supporting the validity of the
proposed causes or effects, and include introductory, body, and concluding
LA.910.4.3.2 The student will include persuasive techniques.
LA.910.5.2.5 The student will research and organize information that integrates
appropriate media into presentations for oral communication (e.g., digital
presentations, charts, photos, primary sources, webcasts).
LA.910.6.2.3 The student will write an informational report that integrates information
and makes distinctions between the relative value and significance of
specific data, facts, and ideas; and
LA.910.6.4.1 The student will use appropriate available technologies to enhance
communication and achieve a purpose (e.g., video, digital technology); and
LA.910.6.4.2 The student will routinely use digital tools for publication, communication
MA.912.A.10.1 Use a variety of problem-solving strategies, such as drawing a diagram,
making a chart, guessing- and-checking, solving a simpler problem, writing
an equation, working backwards, and creating a table.
MA.912.A.10.2 Decide whether a solution is reasonable in the context of the original
MA.912.A.2.1 Create a graph to represent a real-world situation.
MA.912.A.2.2 Interpret a graph representing a real-world situation.
SC.912.E.6.6 Analyze past, present, and potential future consequences to the
environment resulting from various energy production technologies.
SC.912.E.7.7 Identify, analyze, and relate the internal (Earth system) and external
(astronomical) conditions that contribute to global climate change.
SC.912.L.17.10 Diagram and explain the biogeochemical cycles of an ecosystem, including
water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle.
SC.912.L.17.11 Evaluate the costs and benefits of renewable and nonrenewable resources,
such as water, energy, fossil fuels, wildlife, and forests.
SC.912.L.17.12 Discuss the political, social, and environmental consequences of
sustainable use of land.
SC.912.L.17.13 Discuss the need for adequate monitoring of environmental parameters
when making policy decisions.
SC.912.L.17.16 Discuss the large-scale environmental impacts resulting from human
activity, including waste spills, oil spills, runoff, greenhouse gases, ozone
depletion, and surface and groundwater pollution.
SC.912.L.17.17 Assess the effectiveness of innovative methods of protecting the
SC.912.L.17.19 Describe how different natural resources are produced and how their rates
of use and renewal limit availability.
SC.912.L.17.20 Predict the impact of individuals on environmental systems and examine
how human lifestyles affect sustainability.
SC.912.N.1.4 Identify sources of information and assess their reliability according to the
strict standards of scientific investigation.
SC.912.N.1.6 Describe how scientific inferences are drawn from scientific observations
and provide examples from the content being studied.
SC.912.N.1.7 Recognize the role of creativity in constructing scientific questions,
methods and explanations.
SC.912.N.4.2 Weigh the merits of alternative strategies for solving a specific societal
problem by comparing a number of different costs and benefits, such as
human, economic, and environmental.
8.4 SOCIAL STUDIES
SS.912.E.1.1 Identify the factors of production and why they are necessary for the
production of goods and services.
SS.912.E.1.2 Analyze production possibilities curves to explain choice, scarcity, and
SS.912.E.1.3 Compare how the various economic systems (traditional, market, command,
mixed) answer the questions: (1) What to produce?; (2) How to produce?;
and (3) For whom to produce?
SS.912.E.1.4 Define supply, demand, quantity supplied, and quantity
demanded; graphically illustrate situations that would cause changes in each,
and demonstrate how the equilibrium price of a product is determined by the
interaction of supply and demand in the market place.
No state standards written
8.6 FINE ARTS
VA.A.1.4 The student understands and applies media, techniques, and processes.
VA.B.1.4 The student creates and communicates a range of subject matter, symbols, and
ideas using knowledge of structures and functions of visual arts.
8.7 PE & HEALTH
HE.912.B.3.4 Generate alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
HE.912.B.4.1 Evaluate personal health practices and overall health status to include all
dimensions of health.
HE.912.C.1.3 Evaluate how environment and personal health are interrelated.