The Classrooms Take Charge program provides high school and middle school teachers with the skills and materials they need to teach students about the large-scale issue of climate change and gives them concrete, measureable ways to make a difference through in-class learning, online learning, and service-learning.

  • In-class learning: We designed Classrooms Take Charge to be used with Transformations in Matter and Energy (CarbonTIME) teaching units. These units are designed for middle and high school science classes and focus on processes that transform matter and energy in organisms, ecosystems, and global systems: combustion, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, digestion, and biosynthesis. All of the lessons are tied to Next Generation Science Standards. CarbonTIME includes six units, and Classrooms Take Charge is especially compatible with the last unit--Human Energy Systems.

  • Online learning: The Communities Take Charge website allows schools to track student, classrooms, and overall carbon savings, and it integrates educational materials that are tied to Carbon TIME learning objectives. This video provides a quick overview of how to get started using the website. We suggest that teachers develop a two-part assignment for students:
    • In the first part of the assignment, students visit the Communities Take Charge website and choose three to five energy-saving actions to try for a month. The website is modeled after an online shopping website: students fill their shopping cart with the actions they’d like to try and check out. Students will then receive a series of emails encouraging them to complete their actions in four weeks.
    • In the second part of the assignment, students report on how successful they were at completing their actions. Each student will automatically receive a customized survey at the end of four weeks. The survey will ask how successful the student was at completing each of his or her actions, and the website automatically calculates carbon savings based on what the student reports.

  • Service learning: Classrooms Take Charge can also be used as a service-learning project that gives students experience designing a project that encourages other students and/or community members to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Students can use the Take Charge website to track how many people register for actions and how much carbon dioxide is saved by their service learning project.

Subject Area

Grade Level

Project Summary

Author

Lesson Plan

Environmental Science

9 - 11

Students will take part in an outreach effort about Classrooms Take Charge at an Earth Day celebration. Students will determine how best to communicate information about Take Charge with the public (ex. flyers, speeches, business cards) and be responsible for running a booth at the celebration.

Jesse Stonewood at Armadillo Technical Institute in Phoenix, OR

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Earth Science

10

The focus of our project was helping Earth, on days other than Earth Day. The students did parts of the Carbon Time Unit then made posters urging Klamath Falls residents to visit the Take Charge website.

Mark Ferrara at EagleRidge High in Klamath Falls, OR

pdf

Biology

7-12

Students will work individually or collaboratively with a group to create a scientific argument for reducing carbon emissions. They will make their arguments public by creating an announcement to their community. The announcement will encourage the community to participate in Communities Take Charge.

Jen Fox at Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle, WA

pdf

Environmental Science

10-12

Students created a powerpoint and/or other media formats (e.g., video, interactive lesson plan, etc.) to present what they learned in environmental science classes to other classes in the school. Each group was responsible for researching 2-3 energy or carbon saving actions and then presenting about those actions to another class. This research included ways to get involved in the energy/ carbon saving action in our community as well as present data on how these actions can help facilitate action on a global scale. Presentations ended with presenters helping students in push-in classes get signed up for the Take Charge website.

Lilli Worona at Madras High School in Madras, OR

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Earth Science, Ecology, and Natural Resources

7-12

This project poses grade-level advisory classes in a school-wide competition to track and reduce carbon emissions through the Communities Take Charge website. One individual class of Earth & Space students learning about climate change will become the teachers in a lesson that leads students through the website and builds awareness about carbon footprints.

Katie Lyons at Marshall High School in Bend, OR

pdf

Physical Science or Earth Science

7-11

Students choose one of their actions from the Communities Take Charge website and create a 30 - 60 second public service announcement urging others to take that action as well. Public service announcements can be played as part of your schoolwide video announcements or can be shared with other classes.

Kelsy Dunlap at McKay High School in Salem, OR

pdf

General Science (Integrated Science)

9, 10


Through classroom activities about the atmosphere and energy, students will raise their own awareness about how daily actions contribute to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Paula Roberts at Ontario High School in Ontario, OR

pdf

Biology, Ecology

10

Our students organized, promoted, and hosted a Sustainability Fair during school hours. Students presented projects that encouraged others to take action to reduce carbon emissions. Before the Fair, each student committed to actions that reduced their carbon footprint on the Take Charge website. At the Fair, students displayed their actions as well as art projects and research about living in a more sustainable way. The Fair was open to everyone, and hundreds of students and people attended as well as local businesses and professionals involved in sustainability. The event was a big success and popular with the students.

Margaux Isamanat, Tracy Landboe and Cynthia Jatul Roosevelt High School in Seattle, WA

pdf

Chemistry

11-12

Students explore the usage of electricity at their high school and in their homes. Students research various ways to reduce their energy consumption and use their findings to calculate potential monetary savings. Findings are presented to community groups to increase awareness of energy and cost saving potential of small lifestyle changes.

Jonathan Hornung at Siuslaw High School in Florence, OR

pdf

Biology, Ecology

9-12

Our first goal was to inform the public about greenhouse gas emissions. Our second goal was to encourage people to reduce emissions by registering for actions on the Taking Charge website. We wanted to make a difference by reducing greenhouse gas emissions around Seattle.

Karen France at South Lake High School in Seattle, WA

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Biology

10

The primary goal was to promote carbon awareness and Classrooms Take Charge to the general public on Earth Day in a public setting.

John Stegmaier at Timberline High School in Boise, ID

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