Middle School | Daily Do
Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.
Middle school students, as scientists, investigate the impact of our diet choices on the environment to answer the driving question: How does eating beef affect climate change? Students analyze data to explore the motivations underlying deforestation in the Amazon, including some of the tensions between indigenous populations and other interest holders about land use. Students then get to model these ideas explaining how beef consumption in the United States and other countries is connected to deforestation in the Amazon and how this exacerbates climate change. Lastly, students use the evidence they have collected to create a campaign that spreads awareness, aims to change human behavior, and proposes a solution at different scales to mitigate the impacts on ecosystems.
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This lesson plan was created in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Press and the Johns Hopkins Office of Research, and Dr. Jessica Fanzo, based on her 2021 Wavelengths book, Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet?