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Ecuador: People and their Impact on the Environment Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad, Summer 2005 “Sustainability and Development in Action: Ecuador as a Case Study” Catherine Hall Social Studies Teacher Crane Middle School Yuma, Arizona November 30, 2005 Summary:

This unit of study is designed to align with the 8th Grade Arizona Social Studies Standards, but could easily be adapted to fit other grade levels as well as similar standards from other states. The purpose of this unit is to have students consider how Ecuadorians have altered their environment and for what reasons. They will study the impact of these changes, as well as how people think about their environment and how those opinions change over time. Once students have looked at Ecuador as a case study, they are challenged to think critically about their own community. From their own observations, they will identify issues affecting their society and reflect on what should be done to minimize the clash between people and the environment.

In Lesson 1, students reflect on environmental changes they have noticed in their hometown. Then they will view a Power Point presentation that gives examples of environmental change across Ecuador. Students conclude by comparing and contrasting changes experienced in each country. Lesson 2 considers why people have altered their environment. Students participate in a “graffiti wall” where in groups they rotate around the room posting their ideas about why people alter the environment. Each “wall,” or piece of butcher paper, has a prompt such as “energy” or “transportation” that the students specifically address. In Lesson 3, students read about real examples in Ecuador and in their hometown of the impact environmental change has on society. They follow this reading by writing a letter to the editor to express their opinion and propose a solution to the conflict. Finally in Lesson 4, students are given the opportunity to do research on an environmental issue in either Ecuador or their hometown or state. They compile their information and write a newspaper article informing the public about the situation. Teachers can choose to extend this lesson by having students draw political cartoons or by creating a public service announcement for TV or radio, for example.

Essential Questions:

  • 1.

    How have humans changed their environment?

  • 2.

    Why have humans changed their environment?

  • 3.

    What impact do these changes have on the way people and society as a whole live

and work? 4. How have human views on how to use or change the environment evolved?

Background Notes: Information in this Unit Plan, unless otherwise noted, came from the many lectures and experiences had in Ecuador this past summer.

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