This activity provides a way for students to evaluate their own carbon footprints and to explore many ways of reducing it, including an estimation of the up-front costs and cost savings for various solutions.
Students will use the interactive calculator to enter data about their household, travel habits, energy sources, food choices, and shopping habits, then select a number of provided solutions.
The recommendations at the end of the carbon check tool are interesting and can lead to good discussions about the impacts of different changes and the costs associated with those changes.
Students can see how their footprint in each category compares to the average person in their area.
A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.
The “Resource Google Folder” link directs you to a Google Drive folder of resource documents that can be modified but the worksheet is also available in a PDF that can be printed.
The ecological footprint calculator is fairly specific and may require students to speak with family members to gather the necessary information to complete the carbon check. An alternative would be to use the average numbers provided for categories that a student is unsure about.
Here is an additional resource that provides sustainability projects for students about food waste and consumption. This resource helps achieve SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
This carbon check resource is very comprehensive and gives insights to students to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions they produce in the course of their daily activities. The carbon check resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Economics
D2.Eco.1.6-8 Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
Dimension 2: Geography
D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.