Resources for Grades 6-8 Activity – Global Goods

Students gain an appreciation for how many natural resources they depend on in their day-to-day lives. By tracing the resources that go into making one item, students learn how its manufacturing can have an impact on the environment.

For the complete activity and more like this, purchase the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide at Shop.PLT.org and/or attend a professional development training in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Your Product's Life Cycle (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Story Maps: Why and How You Can Teach With Them

    Story Maps are simple web apps that combine interactive maps, multimedia content, and user experiences to tell stories about the world. This introductory story maps workshop explains what story maps are, and why and how you can teach with them. Find and use existing Story Maps in your teaching and learn how to design and create your own story maps to teach content. Then, engage your students in creating their own story maps as part of their investigations.

  • NOAA’s Science on a Sphere – Mobile

    Download SOS Explorer® Mobile and explore Earth and space from anywhere! Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Show animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature to explain complex environmental processes.

  • Video: Mill Products

    Mill Products.” This 8:37-minute video describe some of the thousands of products made from forests that we use every day and that provide a financial incentive to manage forests. It shows a school’s heating system that is fueled by wood chips, as well as mill operations that make different forest products, paper, lumber, and veneer. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • Video: How to Make Veneer

    How to Make Veneer.” This 5:37-minute video shows how wood veneer is made from trees and talks about the uses of veneer. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • Packaging Preferences in the US

    57% of consumers are actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging, according to the 2020 study U.S. Packaging Preferences 2020 released by Two Sides North America, Inc. Through this study, students can explore consumer preferences, perceptions and attitudes toward packaging materials. On top of that, find out about environmental labels on products for recycling or composting, and labels that meet certain environmental standards, such as forest certification standards.

  • EnergyKids

    Developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, EnergyKids provides a wide range of articles and resources about energy. Students can explore energy sources, ways to use and save energy and the history of energy with games and activities that promote learning. Challenge your students with energy-related Suduko, puzzles, crossword puzzles, and word searches!

  • Challenge Your Eco-Footprint

    BillerudKorsnäs, a renewable packaging material organization that specializes in creating sustainable packaging solutions, created this interactive resource titled Challenge your eco-footprint. It helps people understand the differences between types of waste and recyclable materials and how long they remain in the environment. Displayed in the resource is a digital representation of how long it takes for waste items to decompose. Use this resource to help raise awareness of the importance of recycling and help your students assess environmental impact.

  • Natural Resource Mapping

    National Geographic’s Reading a Resource Map helps students in grades 2-4 investigate the origins of goods that people use. Use it to engage students on the topic of renewable and non-renewable resources and create a map identifying where they come from. Students will learn more about the types of goods and products that come from natural resources. They’ll also develop skills in reading and interpreting maps and apply that to learn more about the natural resources in their state.

  • Ag Across America

    Ag Across America is an online geography game for grades 3-5. With this game, students will learn more about how farms provide our food, fiber, and energy.  The game guides students through a series of video and trivia questions about farms across the U.S. When you answer correctly, players collect items to have on their own virtual farm. Find more games and resources for young learners at My American Farm, and professional development opportunities for educators through On the Farm STEM.

  • Generate: The Game of Energy Choices

    Generate: The Game of Energy Choices is a board game from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that teaches students about the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future; and what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality. Teachers can download a printable version of the game and accompanying materials.

  • Our Relationship with Energy

    Energy makes everything we do possible. In this TEDxMileHighWomen event, energy journalist Joran Wifs-Brock talks about Our Relationship with Energy, or as she explains, the broken relationship. Use this presentation with high school students to help them consider the ways we use energy in our own life and the communication breakdown between flipping a switch and the resources we use lighting our homes.

  • Into the Outdoors: Physical Science Fundamentals

    Into the Outdoors empowers students and inspires critical thinking with over 150 videos! This video on Physical Science called “Ice Caves of Lake Superior” offers students the chance to understand fundamentals of the field. The video brings students inside Northern Wisconsin’s Ice Caves along the shores of the Great Lakes. Students will learn more about when they were formed and how they have evolved over time due to erosion and temperature variations.  

  • A Guide to the Energy of the Earth

    As the demand for energy increases throughout the globe it is sourced through a variety of cycles connecting the sun to our food chain to electricity and beyond. Yet, if energy is neither created nor destroyed, where does it come from? TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. In this TED-Ed lesson, A Guide to the Energy of the Earth, educator Joshua M. Sneideman examines the many ways in which the energy all around us is captured and sourced. This 5-minute video is also supported with 10 assessment questions.

  • Guide to Responsible Green Camping

    Are you worried about children being more familiar with touch screens than with soil, plants, and bugs? It might be time to get the kiddos out camping. This online guide to responsible camping will get you prepared for a green camping trip, including how to pack, how to camp, responsible camping activities, and handy safety and eco tips.

  • STEM Teaching Tools

    The University of Washington’s Institute of Science and Math created Practice Briefs.  These free articles highlight ways of working on specific issues that come up during STEM teaching. These briefs helps K-12 educators and administrators stay informed on teaching STEM issues, including STEM issues relating to teaching NGSS and implementing meaningful STEM learning. Each brief is separated into digestible sections and includes recommended actions for educators.

  • FoodSpan: Teaching the Food System from Farm to Fork

    Resources from The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future introduces students to food-system topics and issues. Explore questions such as: What are the strengths and weaknesses of local food systems? How is our food supply dependent on ecosystems? Find slides, handouts, and other supplemental materials on their FoodSpan: Teaching the Food System from Farm to Fork website.

  • Product Life Cycle Assessment Worksheet

    TeachEngineering offers a basic life cycle assessment method that assigns fictional values for different steps in a product’s life cycle. Students can complete a product analysis using this worksheet and then compare product impacts, and brainstorm ways to reduce unwanted environmental effects.

  • International Carbon Footprint Challenge

    International Carbon Footprint Challenge unites high school students worldwide as they calculate their individual footprints using an online “footprint calculator” and post class data on a world map. Students then enter discussions about their footprints and how to work toward solutions to globally shared environmental issues.

  • Energy Lab

    This PBS NOVA series has launched the Energy Lab, where middle and high school students can design renewable energy systems for cities nationwide and compete with other students nationwide. Visit the Energy Lab website to design your own renewable energy system.

  • A Green Take on A Christmas Carol

    Earth Day Carol is a green retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In this version, Plastic Bottle Scrooge is visited by the ghosts Plastic Past, Plastic Present, and Plastic Future. You can download the free mobile app to convey the message of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” through animation, pop-up facts, and kid-friendly narration. Most appropriate for elementary and middle school students, this story can be a starting point for taking environmental action.

  • The Anthropocene—Human Impact on the Environment Poster

    An epoch is one of the smaller divisions of geologic time. Our current epoch, the Holocene, began about 11,600 years ago. There is evidence that we are entering a new epoch that could be named the Anthropocene because it is marked by extensive human impacts on the environment. This free, downloadable poster explores evidence that future geologists might use to define the Anthropocene. 

  • Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt

    Join National Public Radio’s Planet Money team as they follow the manufacturing of a T-Shirt around the world — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. This story is told in a 5-chapter story of video clips.