Essential Questions: 1 by 2zn5u0

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 19

									  m. keffer                                           ecological design for high school                  767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




                   Ecological Design: A Course for High School

                                                          Mark Keffer
                                                Mount Mansfield Union High School
                                                     mark.keffer@gmail.com



Table of Contents

  UNIT: 01 ECOLOGY INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................2
  UNIT: 02 INTRODUCTION TO DESIGN ...............................................................................................................3
  UNIT: 03 INTRODUCTION TO ARCHITECTURAL CAD .................................................................................4
  UNIT: 04 COMBINING ECOLOGY AND DESIGN ..............................................................................................5
  UNIT: 05 MICROCOSMS..........................................................................................................................................6
  UNIT: 06 BIO- AND PHYTOREMEDIATION: TOXIC CLEANUP ....................................................................7
  UNIT: 07 EXAMPLE 1: AQUAPONICS ..................................................................................................................7
  UNIT: 08 EXAMPLE 2: CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS ......................................................................................8
  UNIT: 09 RENEWABLE ENERGY ..........................................................................................................................9
  UNIT: 10 THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: IMPACTS, MATERIALS, PRACTICES ....................................... 10
  UNIT: 11 EXAMPLE 3: STORMWATER ............................................................................................................. 11
  UNIT: 12 CRADLE TO CRADLE DESIGN AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) ................................ 12
  UNIT: 13 WASTE TRANSFORMATION AND MANAGEMENT ..................................................................... 12
  UNIT: 14 ECOD FOR SPACE TRAVEL AND OTHER HARSH ENVIRONMENTS...................................... 13
  UNIT: 15 GREEN YOUR CAMPUS (SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT) ............................................................... 14




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Unit: 01 Ecology Introduction1
Basic Concepts:
      1. Ecology provides a scientific method for studying the interactions of matter and energy on our
         planet.
      2. Ecological measurements of energy flow allow us to evaluate the sustainability of our actions.
      3. Many of our current industrial, agricultural, and development activities are not sustainable.
      4. Ecosystems have a certain capacity to absorb wastes. When that capacity is exceeded, wastes
         build up.
      5. Ecosystems in nature build toward increasing complexity through the process of succession.
      6. Food webs are more resilient, stable, and sustainable when they are more complex. Complexity is
         increased by greater number of organisms in the food web.
      7. Our ecosystems affect, and are affected by, our built environment. This occurs on local, regional,
         and global levels.
      8. World ecosystems provide essential services such as: gas production and exchange; nutrient
         recycling; soil production; carbon fixation; water recycling.
         http://www.uvm.edu/giee/?Page=research/publications.html&SM=research/research_menu.h
         tml
      9. When we damage ecosystems, we remove some of the services that those ecosystems provide.
      10. Cyclic processes vs. Linear processes.

                         linear processes suit a short-term view: we can analyze, account, adapt our piece
                          of the process.
                         natural processes tend to be cyclic

Essential Questions:
      1. How do we add up the energy we use? How has the WAY we tally that energy been
         narrowminded? What drivers have allowed us to have that narrowmided approach?
      2. What are the lifecycle costs of our consumer objects?
      3. How does the "embodied energy" view show us a different picture than the "cost" of an item?
      4. How does the "cyclic process" view show us a different picture than the "linear process" view?

Assessment:
      1.* Poster presentation: Food Webs of the _______.
                       Prepare a poster that shows the ecological interactions of one of the ecosystems
                          listed below. Show and clearly explain the role of:
                                    (1) the major organisms, including microorganisms;
                                    (2) the main sources and sinks of energy;
                                    (3) ways that human society affects, and is affected by, this ecosystem;
                                    (4) current endangering forces at work on this ecosystem; and
                                    (5) possible environmental ramifications of loss of this ecosystem.
                       Choose from the following ecosystems:
                                    deep ocean thermal vents;
                                    mangrove swamp;
                                    temperate rain forest;
                                    a square yard of field;
                                    northern hardwood forest;



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                                     local wetland;
                                     local pond.

  Activities:
        1.** Local And Global: use poster to show the global ramifications of local actions. E.g. burning
            trash; producing paper.
        2. Ecosystem Services Map: show several different ecosystems, and explain how they match with
            the 17 ecosystem services.
        3. "Your Square Yard." choose a square yard somewhere on the campus. Document the flora and
            fauna. Outline the sources of energy, raw materials, and activities within that square yard over
            several successive observations.
        4.* Poster presentation: Food Webs of the _______. Focus on the channeling of energy from source to
            sinks.(Insert: deep ocean thermal vents; mangrove swamp; temperate rain forest; a square yard of
            field; northern hardwood forest; local wetland; local pond). (building on the previous "your
            square yard" assignment)
        5.* Poster Presentation: Sustainable vs. Unsustainable Agriculture. Apply food web concepts of
            resilience and complexity to study of the example of the Land Institute Sunshine Farm.
            http://www.landinstitute.org/vnews/display.v/ART/2002/09/24/3dbeba6338ac3?in_archive=
            1

  Resources:
        1. book chapter -- ecology -- from AP biology text -- add name
        2. book sections from Fundamentals of Ecology, by E.P. Odum (1971)

Unit: 02 Introduction to Design2
  Basic Concepts:
        1. "Design" is the process of building something to solve a particular problem. The "building"
            process can be actual or theoretical.
        2.* The Design Process: The design process requires: clear problem identification; understanding of
            constraints; brainstorming; research; group interaction; consensus development; feedback
            solicitation; evaluation; iterative process.
        3. Iterative process means continually "going back to the drawing board" at increasing levels of
            detail as new research and feedback is added. (I.e. it is not a linear, single-pass process.)
        4. Consensus means that everyone "agrees enough" to go along with the chosen path. (it is not the
            same as complete agreement by all parties.)
        5. Solicitation of feedback requires presentation of ideas in persuasive fashion. Each project will
            have an interactive presentation/display to the school public.

  Essential Questions:
        1. why bother using a "process" to design something?
        2. does consensus add to, or detract from, a decision-making process?
        3. if there is no brainstorming, what kinds of solutions tend to come up for problems?

  Assessment:
        1.* Rethinking Campus Design: As a group, brainstorm and then develop ideas for our school
            courtyard (or some other campus space). Identify needs, wants, and reasonable constraints.
            Sketch and present ideas for all-school viewing. Collect feedback with a survey, and then re-
            design based on feedback. Lay out a timeline for completing the work.


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  Activities:
        1. As a group, agree on a single design for a drawing table that can be built in our school shop. It
            should function as both a drawing table and as a display board; use a minimum of materials;
            have a minimum of moving parts; be constructable with our current skill set.
        2. Choose a waste product created by the school. Design some useful product from this waste. (E.g.
            empty plastic milk bottles.) Develop a flow chart describing the steps necessary to build this
            project. Build this product if possible.
        3.* Rethinking Campus Space: Brainstorm and then develop ideas for our school courtyard (or some
            other campus space). Identify needs, wants, constraints. Sketch and present ideas for all-school
            viewing. Collect feedback on ideas with a survey. Re-evaluate designs based on survey results.
        4. Summative project: design "the green school of the future," based on ecological and design
            concepts developed over the course.
        5. consensus-building exercises
        6. (projects throughout the course will use "design thinking." Activities for other units will follow
            patterns established in the above activities.)

Unit: 03 Introduction to Architectural CAD3
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Successful design requires persuasive presentation of ideas. Architectural CAD software is a tool
           for presentation of ideas.

  Essential Questions:
        1. CAD is a great tool but has a learning curve, and has limitations. How can we use it for our
           purposes, without becoming overwhelmed by it?

  Assessment:
        1.* Sun/Shading Study using Chief Architect CAD software. Use Chief to design a basic 2-storey
            house of about 1500 sq ft, showing walls, floors, windows, roof, and doors. Place your house in
            one of the following four locations, and perform a sun/shade study to show how the sun will
            enter the house throughout a typical day at solstices and equinoxes. Locations: Burlington VT;
            Edinburgh Scotland; Brisbane Australia; and San Jose, Costa Rica.

  Activities:
        1. Draw a basic house to match pre-defined dimensions.
        2. Show window placement to maximize winter sun and minimize summer sun for a given
            geographic location and house orientation.
        3.* Use architectural CAD software to perform a "sun study" of a given building and site. (Sun study
            shows the extent of shading throughout the day of a site at given latitude and given time of year).
        4. Design the framework of a house (walls, roof, floors, windows, doors, foundation) to maximize
            solar thermal heating and cooling for a given geographic location during a typical year.
        5. Use architectural CAD skills to depict structures throughout the course.

  Resources:
        1. computer lab and software: Chief Architect (MMUHS has site licence)

  Vocabulary:
        plan view, elevation view, axonometric view, perspective view


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Unit: 04 Combining Ecology and Design4
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Ecosystems provide a "toolbox" that we can reconfigure to serve our needs.
        2. Natural systems tend to make changes in very small steps, each using very low energy,
           multiplied many times. Man-made systems tend to make big changes, each with large energy
           use, applied only a few times. (compare muscle fiber with combustion engine; compare methods
           of getting a pile of wood up a staircase).
        3. "Self-design" means that elements in a system will increase or decrease without outside
           intervention, in order to improve the functioning of the system.
        4. Successful ecosystems can self-design.
        5. Greater complexity within an ecosystem increases its ability to self-design.
        6.
        7. Ecological design includes the ideas:

                          nature has "solved" many problems already
                          wastes from one process can often provide raw materials for another process
                          all created objects have an impact on the environment
                          energy channels more efficiently through complex networks
                          reducing embodied energy reduces overall cost

        8. We can increase the sustainability of our built systems by incorporating ecosystem concepts into
           our design.
        9. "Environmental Engineering" and "Ecological Engineering" are careers that focus on incorporation
           of ecosystem concerns into built designs.
        10. The "ecological" design and the "standard" design of a solution both have advantages and
           disadvantages.
        11. Throughout the course we will use "Ecological Design Principles:"
                        provide for basic needs
                        respond to the environment in which it exists
                        reduce energy consumption
                        use renewable energy sources
                        building process has minimal environmental impact
                        materials have minimum embodied energy
                        building materials are recyled and recyclable

  Essential Questions:
        1. What's the problem, and what are the different ways we can fix it?
        2. When we need a solution: what parts has nature already found for us?
        3. Can we solve this using smaller steps?

  Assessment:
        1.* "Standard" vs. "Ecological" Engineering Approaches: Compare two existing "solutions" to a
            problem in our environement. For each, evaluate: cost; ecological underpinnings; short-term
            environmental impact; long-term environmental impact. Prepare a side-by-side chart with fly-out
            illustrations.

  Activities:


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        1.* "Standard" vs. "Ecological" Engineering Approaches: Compare two existing "solutions" to a
            problem in our environement. For each, evaluate: cost; ecological underpinnings; short-term
            environmental impact; long-term environmental impact. Prepare a side-by-side chart with fly-out
            illustrations.
        2. Prepare poster display showing examples of the use of ecological concepts in the development of
            a solution. Describe: problem; ecological concept; solution.
        3.** Prepare poster display: Careers in Ecological Design (architecture, architectural CAD,
            environmental engineering, ecology, bioremediation)

  Resources:
        book: Biomimicry, by Jane Benyus

Unit: 05 Microcosms5
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Microcosms are self-contained systems that mimic environmental conditions in the "real" world.
        2. Microcosms can have "cells" that have different conditions. Cells communicate with each other by
           having water circulate from one to the other.
        3. Microcosm cells can mimic turf, forest floor, pond, seagrass, and many other individual ecological
           units.
        4. By linking several cells, greater complexity, stability, and resilience can be achieved than with any
           single cell alone.
        5. Recirculating microcosm systems mimic sources and sinks of essential nutrients and energy
           within the larger ecosystem.

  Essential Questions:
        1. what are the differences between "separate cells" and a general pool of organisms?
        2. how does nature direct flows of energy from one place, or from one group of organisms, to
           another?
        3. why does nature tend to move towards greater complexity?

  Assessment:
        1.* Recirculating Microcosms: Prepare a report comparing the water quality, flora and fauna, and
            general appearance of three different recirculating microcosms, over two months.

  Activities:
        1.* make a sealed microcosm using water and a spoonful of pond muck. observe and record over
            two months.
        2. As a class, set up at least one aquarium with some locally available fish. Monitor nitrogen levels
            in fishtank over time.
        3. As a class, build at least three similar recirculating microcosm systems. Compare water quality,
            flora and fauna, and general appearance over two months.

  Resources:
        1. William Andrews, Aquatic Ecology
        2. Walter Adey, Dynamic Aquaria

  Integrated Units:


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        1. 02 Introduction to Design
        This unit integrates with items in Unit 2: Introduction to Design. "The Design Process" developed in
            Unit 2 will be used to develop the project in this unit (see activities for this unit).

Unit: 06 Bio- and Phytoremediation: Toxic Cleanup6
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Bioremediation is the use of living organisms (usually bacteria) to convert wastes into harmless
           products.
        2. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to break down wastes. Includes bioconcentration,
           sequestration, phytotransformation.
        3. Sewage treatment plants and septic tanks make use of bioremediation to break down wastes.
        4. Aquaponics is an application of phytoremediation.
        5. Brownfields are areas of land contaminated with some form of toxin; phyto- and bioremediation
           are strategies for mitigating these toxins.
        6. One strategy within phytoremdiation is sequestration: where plants concentrate toxins within
           their tissues, for later removal.
        7. Another strategy within phyto- and bioremediation is transformation: where organisms convert
           toxic molecules into less-toxic byproducts.
        8. Mycoremediation is the use of fungi to biotransform waste molecules. Fungi contain unique
           enzymes (not present in plants or bacteria) that can transform recalcitrant toxins.

  Essential Questions:
        1. why do some toxins break down "naturally" while others persist for many years?
        2. why do some molecules break down when we put them in the soil or in the water? where do they
           actually go?
        3. why can plants or microbes break down molecules that we (as animals) can't?

  Assessment:
        1.* lab report: bioremediation with oil-eating bacteria.

  Activities:
        1. comparison experiment: dose fishtanks with nitrites. compare nitrite reduction over time in each
            tank. Tank A has complex aquatic ecosystem. Tank B is cleaned and sterilized regularly.
        2. lab: bioremediation with oil-eating bacteria. Culture bacteria and test their ability to digest motor
            oil. Compare amount of motor oil remaining in two different tanks: one with "normal" bacteria;
            other with "oil-eating" bacteria. http://sciencekit.com/product.asp?pn=IG0019373
        3. poster project: follow one toxin through a phytoremediation path, showing where that toxin can
            be sequestered, and transformed into less-toxic byproducts.
        4. "The Consequences of White." Poster presentation on the environmental consequences of
            bleaching: paper pulp, diapers, cleansers, etc. (bleaching --> chlorine --> dioxin)
        5. "The Consequences of Color." Poster presentation on the environmental consequences of color,
            dyeing, pigments, and associated wastes. Note "nonpigmented" colored examples (butterfly
            wings)
        6. "The life and death of a gas station." Poster presentation showing the concept of "succession" as
            applied to a piece of land eventually containing a gas station. Contrast remediated and
            unremediated post-life scenarios.

Unit: 07 Example 1: Aquaponics7

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  Basic Concepts:
        1. Aquaponics combines concepts and methods of aquaculture and hydroponics.
        2. Aquaponics uses ecological food webs to recycle fish wastes into plant fertilizers; in turn, plants
           remove fish wastes from the cycle
        3. Aquaponics recycles nutrients and energy to provide useful end products with greatly reduced
           wastes.
        4. Aquaponic systems turn fish wastes into plant fertilizers. In turn, plants clean the water and
           provide useful products.
        5. Aquaponic systems transform energy more efficiently when they include complex food webs.

  Essential Questions:
        1. a recreational aquarium needs to be cleaned out. A natural pond does not. Why?
        2. what happens to the waste products of fish in a natural environment (such as a pond).
        3. where do fertilizers come from (such as those one would buy at a garden store)?

  Assessment:
        1.* Lab Report on Aquaponics: describe the process and results of the aquaponic setup, in which fish
            wastes are detoxified by plants, and simultaneously act as plant fertilizer.

  Activities:
        1. Construct a basic aquaponic system using four linked aquaria, including separate "cells" for: fish,
           aquatic plants, silt, and porous trickling.

  Integrated Units:
        1. 02 Introduction to Design
        This unit integrates with items in Unit 2: Introduction to Design. "The Design Process" developed in
            Unit 2 will be used to develop the project in this unit (see activities for this unit).

Unit: 08 Example 2: Constructed Wetlands8
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Wetlands have functions in the following: filtration of water; habitat production; hydrological
           control; water storage; nutrient trapping; nutrient decomposition and recycling.
        2. Constructed wetlands are built for treatment of wastes and runoff.
        3. Constructed wetlands have many of the functions of natural wetlands.
        4. Constructed wetlands can provide a natural treatment method for wastewaters from runoff, dairy
           production, and other industries.

  Essential Questions:
        1. why do wetlands have so many different species?
        2. why are wetlands important?
        3. what abiotic conditions encourage greater complexity in a natural environment?

  Assessment:
        1.* Design a scale model of a constructed wetland to show how wastewater is treated. Model should
            show flow of water. Use the Design Process from Unit 2.




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  Activities:
        1.* Design a scale model of a constructed wetland. Model should show flow of water. Use the
            Design Process from Unit 2.
        2. Field trip to UVM's constructed wetland at the Spear St Dairy Farm.

  Integrated Units:
        1. 03 Introduction to Architectural CAD
        Architectural CAD drawing skills will be put to use throughout the course. Several upcoming design
            projects will require some amount of CAD illustration.
        2. 02 Introduction to Design
        This unit integrates with items in Unit 2: Introduction to Design. "The Design Process" developed in
            Unit 2 will be used to develop the project in this unit (see activities for this unit).

Unit: 09 Renewable Energy9
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Renewable energy is inherently more sustainable than fossil energy.
        2. Fossil energy (e.g. oil, gas, coal) has direct and environmental costs for its use, extraction,
           refinement, and delivery.
        3. Renewable energy forms include hydro, methane production from manure, biomass (e.g.
           corncobs, wood, switchgrass), microhydro, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal water, passive solar,
           wind, geothermal.
        4. Renewable energy for the home usually requires a generation mechanism (e.g. PV panel); a
           storage mechanism (e.g. batteries, grid intertie, thermal mass storage); and control mechanisms
           (e.g. charge controllers, temperature-actuated valves, etc.)
        5. Conservation should always be the first step in energy planning. Conservation can often make
           more of a difference than many other methods combined.
        6. A small number of measurements and calculation can give a general idea if wind, PV,
           microhydro, and/or solar thermal mechanisms will be appropriate.
        7. Grid intertie allows energy production without the need for storage batteries.
        8. dams, nuclear generators, and fossil fuel refineries are very large-scale power producers that can
           serve scale of cities and regions. Small-scale producers such as microhydro and photovoltaics can
           more appropriately serve scale of houses or neighborhoods.

  Essential Questions:
        1. how is energy use linked with sustainability?
        2. how can we harness the free energy that flows to us each day?
        3. how does the scale of energy consumption and production tend to control its forms of use?

  Assessment:
        1.* Wind/Solar Resource Analysis: measure and evaluate existing wind and solar resources for a
            specific location. Calculate investment costs, energy potential, and repayment time. Evaluate if
            repayment time justifies the effort.

  Activities:
        1.* Wind/Solar Resource Analysis: measure and evaluate existing wind and solar resources for a
            specific location. Calculate investment costs, energy potential, and repayment time. Evaluate if
            repayment time justifies the effort.



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        2. Poster/model presentation on renewable energy methods.
        3. Design a solar thermal hot-water heater that can be used at MMUHS.
        4. Build a scale model of a methane digester. (see Avatar Alternative Energy and Guy Roberts)
           http://www.avatarenergy.com/

Unit: 10 The Built Environment: Impacts, Materials, Practices10
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Embodied energy is the energy necessary to build, process, transport, and decomission (or
            dispose)any object or structure.
        2. Embodied energy is a useful way to evaluate the sustainability of building materials.
        3. Significant energy is used to construct and maintain the buildings we use.
        4. Infrastructure refers to the pipes, wires, roads, telephone poles, etc that connect and support our
            buildings.
        5. Infrastructure has impacts on energy usage and the environment, equal to or exceeding the
            buildings it supports.
        6. Building materials (e.g. lumber, concrete, asphalt) have direct, environmental, and embodied
            energy costs.
        7. "green building" processes attempt to address and reduce energy and environmental impact of
            buildings and infrastructure (e.g. LEED certification).
        8. LEED certification is one kind of checklist to increase sustainability of building practices.
        9. "Sprawl" as a development pattern has significant envrionmental and social impact.

  Essential Questions:
        1.    Why does the dollar cost of a building material NOT capture all the pertinent costs?
        2.    Why are "green" building processes more sustainable?
        3.    How does sprawl affect the way we live, and our environment?
        4.    Is what we SEE of the built environment the whole story?
        5.    How does our built environment shape how we lead our lives?

  Assessment:
        1.* Calculate embodied energy for several common building materials (e.g. dimensional lumber,
            cement, roof shingles, steel girder, asphalt). Compare several interchangeable building materials
            and calculate overall embodied energy for a "standard" and an "alternate" structure.

  Activities:
        1. Use database functions within Chief Architect software to compare costs of a house using
           "standard" design, and one using "green materials."
        2. Calculate the cost of your lifestyle using online calculator.
           http://www.acfonline.org.au/custom_greenhome/calculator.asp?section_id=86
        3. Compare the impacts of a "sprawl" neighborhood and a "village green"-style neighborhood, in
           terms of walkability, amount of pavement required, requirement of transportation, and amount
           of land per capita used.
        4. Poster presentation: What is the impact of a Shopping Mall?
        5. Design a pizza/bread oven for the school using cob (clay brick). If possible, build it. (Otherwise,
           pave the way for a future class to build it).
        6. Calculate embodied energy for several common building materials (e.g. dimensional lumber,
           cement, roof shingles, steel girder, asphalt).




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        7. Make "Environmental Impact Labels" (similar to labels for nutrient content of foods) for each
            building material.
        8. Use online calculator to compare costs of using salvaged/reused building materials, compared
            with new materials. http://www.wastematch.org/calculator/calculator.htm
        9. Investigate the Willow School in NJ (built entirely from salvaged and/or sustainable products)

Unit: 11 Example 3: Stormwater11
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Stormwater is the term for runoff whenever there is rain or precipitation.
            http://www.uvm.edu/~ran/ran/toolbox/stormwater/index.php
        2. Pavement and other impervious surfaces prevent precipitation from percolating down to the
            groundwater. Instead, it runs off into gutters and eventually to the lake.
        3. More paving and roofing means more runoff and less groundwater recharge.
        4. Percolation cleans the water and recharges aquifers. Runoff collects dirt, sediment, oil, fertilizers,
            pesticides, etc., and carries them to the lake.
        5. Stormwater links urban development to ecological concepts.
        6. Increasingly, governments are requiring developers to account for the stormwater created by
            their developments.
        7. There are sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to reduce, manage, and remediate
            stormwater runoff.
        8. Rain gardens and green roofs are simple and effective ways to reduce the impact of stormwater.
        9. Sustainable solutions such as rain gardens and green roofs often have spinoff benefits.

  Essential Questions:
        1.    Where does precipitation go once it hits the ground?
        2.    How does development affect the water cycle in an area?
        3.    How does the speed of water's flow affect the streambed in which it flows?
        4.    why is flash flooding more likely in Texas than in Vermont?

  Assessment:
        1.* Development and Stormwater: Build a scale model using transparent lexan sheets showing how
            the water cycle is altered by impermeable surfaces, such as paving and roofing. Model should be
            functional, and show what happens when water is showered on it. Model should be at scale of
            neighborhood, and should compare "developed" and "undeveloped" areas.

  Activities:
        1. Use the Design Process (from Unit 2) to design a rain garden for your campus.
        2. Visit a construction site to see how stormwater will be managed once the construction is finished.
        3.* Development and Stormwater: Build a scale model using transparent lexan sheets showing how
            the water cycle is altered by impermeable surfaces, such as paving and roofing.

  Integrated Units:
        1. 03 Introduction to Architectural CAD
        Architectural CAD drawing skills will be put to use throughout the course. Several upcoming design
            projects will require some amount of CAD illustration.
        2. 02 Introduction to Design
        This unit integrates with items in Unit 2: Introduction to Design. "The Design Process" developed in
            Unit 2 will be used to develop the project in this unit (see activities for this unit).


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Unit: 12 Cradle to Cradle Design and Life Cycle Assessment
(LCA)12
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Manufactured objects have a life cycle. That life cycle can be "linear" or "circular."
        2. The "linear life cycle:" extraction and transport of raw materials, energy input, fabrication,
           packaging, marketing, normal use, disposal (decomissioning).
        3. A "circular life cycle" is more sustainable than a linear life cycle.
        4. Each stage of an object's life cycle has associated costs. Summed up, these form an object's
           lifecycle costs.
        5. There are LCAs -- Life Cycle Assessments -- that allow comparisons of objects on their lifecycle
           costs.
        6. The Ecological Footprint used in Environmental Earth Science is a good example of a specific kind
           of LCA. http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/index.html
        7. "cradle-to-grave" involves accounting for an object's costs all the way from raw material
           extraction, to disposal and decomission costs.
        8. "cradle-to-cradle" accounts for cradle-to-grave, as well as the reuse/recycling/remodeling of the
           object for a new life.
        9. "Good" design means every stage of the process, from cradle to cradle, strives to reduce embodied
           energy and toxic byproducts. "Bad" design means little effort is made at anystage to reduce
           embodied energy and/or toxic byproducts.

  Essential Questions:
        1. why, and how, does nature recycle everything?
        2. what happens to cars when they are "dead"?
        3. why is the ecological footprint a good measurement method for the 21st century?

  Assessment:
        1.* Trees and Cars: poster presentation to show the lifecycle process, energy, and costs of a "cradle-
            to-cradle" object (a tree) and a "standard process" object (a car).

  Activities:
        1. Poster presentation comparing a "good" and "bad" example of design. "Good" means every stage
            of the process, from cradle to cradle, strives to reduce embodied energy and toxic byproducts.
            "Bad" means little effort is made at any stage to reduce embodied energy and/or toxic
            byproducts.
        2.* Trees and Cars: poster presentation to show the lifecycle process, energy, and costs of a "cradle-
            to-cradle" object (a tree) and a "standard process" object (a car).

  Resources:
        book: Cradle to Cradle, by McDonough & Braungart

Unit: 13 Waste Transformation and Management13
  Basic Concepts:
        1. "In nature, there are no wastes -- only misplaced resources."
        2. "wastes" as we know them have embodied energy and hidden costs.



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  m. keffer                             ecological design for high school   767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




        3. Environmental effects of landfills include: use of land; possible degradation of water table;
           "OOSOOM" phenomena (Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind)
        4. Lifestyles of overconsumption of consumer goods contributes greatly to buildup of wastes.
        5. Byproducts from one industry or activity can often become raw materials for some other industry
           or activity.
        6. Biodiesel production is an example of re-channeling of raw materials previously considered to be
           wastes (used cooking oil --> diesel fuel)
        7. waste transformation follows similar conceptual pathway as phyto- and bioremediation.
           Remediation is a part of the larger concept of waste transformation.

  Essential Questions:
        1.    What happens to wastes once we're done with them?
        2.    Why is nature so different from humans when it comes to "wastes"?
        3.    Why does our lifestyle create so much waste?
        4.    What other uses are there for our "wastes"?

  Assessment:
        1.* Waste Transformation Poster Project: compare a "sustainable" and an "unsustainable" situation,
            and describe how wastes management is done in that situation. Examples:
                         methane generation from manure;
                           product recycling from Interface carpets;
                         steel production from the 1900s.
                         Focus on the cycle type: open-linear path; or closed-cycle loop.

  Activities:
        1. research Interface Carpets and other innovative industries, with regard to their re-channeling and
            use of waste stream for raw materials. http://www.interfacesustainability.com/
        2. The Journey of Trash: poster project documenting the movement of "wastes" from the consumer.
            Comparison of sustainable vs. nonsustainable waste handling.
        3. Field trip to Foster Brothers farm (Middlebury) for methane generation/compost integration.
        4. Wastes in the food industry
        5.* Waste Transformation Poster Project: compare a "sustainable" and an "unsustainable" situation,
            and describe how wastes management is done in that situation. Examples: methane generation
            from manure; product recycling from Interface carpets; steel production from the 1900s.

Unit: 14 EcoD for Space Travel and other harsh environments
  Basic Concepts:
        1. Space travel will require sustainable systems for the production of food, water, and oxygen, and
           for the transformation of waste products (such as carbon dioxide, solid and liquid wastes).
        2. Currently methods of oxygen supply for space travel are very expensive.
        3. Refugee camps desperately need sustainable methods to supply water, food, shelter, heat, and
           waste management.
        4. Colonies living on the open ocean provide unique challenges for designing sustainable methods
           to supply water, food, shelter, heat, and waste management.

  Essential Questions:
        1. what are the basic needs of all organisms? how can these needs be met in space?



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  m. keffer                            ecological design for high school   767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




        2. what aspects of nature can be harnessed to provide basic needs, even in extremely harsh
           environments like open desert or open ocean?

  Assessment:
        1.* Harsh Environment Structures

  Activities:
        1. Use ecological design principles to design refugee shelters that provide shelter, food, water, heat,
           and waste management. Shelters should be sustainable, low-impact, low energy use, easily-
           moved, easily set up,and use only local resources, and only technologies that would be available
           at a high school.
        2. Use ecological design principles to design a colony for five families to live on the open ocean.
           Shelter should provide storm protection, shelter, food, water, heat, and waste management.
           Shelters should be sustainable, low-impact, powered by renewable energy, etc.

Unit: 15 Green Your Campus (Summative Assessment)14
  Basic Concepts:
        1.* the processes, methods, and skills covered throughout the course will guide you to producing an
            overall plan for some aspect of "greening" or improving your school building, campus, or
            surrounding area.

  Essential Questions:
        1. How could "this space" be improved?
        2. what would "this space" look like if sustainability of our built environment was the most
           important aspect of design?

  Assessment:
        1.* Choose some aspect of your school, campus, or surrounding area that could use improvement.
            Use concepts, skills, and tools of the course to design a solution that is low-impact, energy-
            sensible; attractive, and also helps users understand the importance of the endeavor. This should
            incorporate the following areas: sensitivity to surroundings; embodied energy; renewable energy;
            environmental improvement; CAD sketches; eliciting of feedback from public.

  Activities:
        1.* Choose some aspect of your school, campus, or surrounding area that could use improvement.
            Use concepts, skills, and tools of the course to design a solution that is low-impact, energy-
            sensible; attractive, and also helps users understand the importance of the endeavor.



  Vermont Standards and Grade Expectations
        (text here is directly quoted from the Vermont Standards. These are the standards that are relevant
            to each unit and/or activity required)

  1
    Grade Expectations:
  S9-12:35 Students demonstrate their understanding of Food Webs in an Ecosystem by…




                                                     Page 14 of 19
m. keffer                               ecological design for high school      767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




Designing (and implementing) an investigation that demonstrates the chemical relationship between carbon
compounds of the organisms in a food web (e.g., dyed yeast— Paramecium–roundworm).
Science Concept:


a. Within ecosystems, the processes of photosynthesis and cell respiration recycle matter (i.e., carbon compounds)
found within organisms and the abiotic environment.
S9-12:36 Students demonstrate their understanding of Equilibrium in an Ecosystem by…
Designing an investigation to compare a natural system with one altered by human activities (e.g., acid rain,
eutrophication through agricultural runoff, fertilizer, pollution, solid waste, clear cutting, toxic emissions or
conservation and habitat reclamation).
Science Concept:

a. Human beings are part of the earth’s ecosystems; human activities can deliberately or inadvertently, alter the
equilibrium in an ecosystem.
2
  Fields of Knowledge:
7.19aaa Create a design solution: Build on specifications, with an understanding of the constraints (e.g., cost,
weight, environment), and tolerances that affect performance; Include mathematical and/or mechanical models of
their design; Include steps and sequences for efficiently building a prototype or product that conforms to the
specifications; Test the prototype; Use the results to modify the design; and
7.19bbb Evaluate and adjust a design process, responding to the unique characteristics of a specific problem.

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:8 Students demonstrate their ability to APPLY RESULTS by…
Using technology to communicate results effectively and appropriately to others (e.g., power point, web site,
posters, etc.).
AND
Predicting/recommending how scientific conclusions can be applied to civic, economic or social issues.
AND
Proposing and evaluating new questions, predictions, procedures and technology for further investigations.
3
  Vital Results:
1.22 Students employ a variety of techniques to use simulations and to develop models.
4
  Fields of Knowledge:
7.18dd Propose a technological solution in which both the positive and negative consequences of technology are
considered.

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:8 Students demonstrate their ability to APPLY RESULTS by…
Using technology to communicate results effectively and appropriately to others (e.g., power point, web site,
posters, etc.).
AND
Predicting/recommending how scientific conclusions can be applied to civic, economic or social issues.
AND
Proposing and evaluating new questions, predictions, procedures and technology for further investigations.
5
  Grade Expectations:
S9-12:36 Students demonstrate their understanding of Equilibrium in an Ecosystem by…
Designing an investigation to compare a natural system with one altered by human activities (e.g., acid rain,
eutrophication through agricultural runoff, fertilizer, pollution, solid waste, clear cutting, toxic emissions or
conservation and habitat reclamation).
Science Concept:




                                                      Page 15 of 19
m. keffer                               ecological design for high school      767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




a. Human beings are part of the earth’s ecosystems; human activities can deliberately or inadvertently, alter the
equilibrium in an ecosystem.
6
  Grade Expectations:
S9-12:35 Students demonstrate their understanding of Food Webs in an Ecosystem by…
Designing (and implementing) an investigation that demonstrates the chemical relationship between carbon
compounds of the organisms in a food web (e.g., dyed yeast— Paramecium–roundworm).
Science Concept:


a. Within ecosystems, the processes of photosynthesis and cell respiration recycle matter (i.e., carbon compounds)
found within organisms and the abiotic environment.
7
  Grade Expectations:
S9-12:37 Students demonstrate their understanding of Recycling in an Ecosystem by…
Developing and explaining a model that shows the recycling of inorganic compounds within a natural ecosystem
(e.g., Compare worm compost with commercial fertilizer.).
Science Concept:


a. Matter (inorganic compounds) used by living things on the molecular level is cycled from old life to new life
through major chemical cycles of the earth (e.g., N, H2O, C–O, P).
8
  Fields of Knowledge:
7.19aaa Create a design solution: Build on specifications, with an understanding of the constraints (e.g., cost,
weight, environment), and tolerances that affect performance; Include mathematical and/or mechanical models of
their design; Include steps and sequences for efficiently building a prototype or product that conforms to the
specifications; Test the prototype; Use the results to modify the design; and

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:37 Students demonstrate their understanding of Recycling in an Ecosystem by…
Developing and explaining a model that shows the recycling of inorganic compounds within a natural ecosystem
(e.g., Compare worm compost with commercial fertilizer.).
Science Concept:


a. Matter (inorganic compounds) used by living things on the molecular level is cycled from old life to new life
through major chemical cycles of the earth (e.g., N, H2O, C–O, P).
9
  Grade Expectations:
S9-12:49 Students demonstrate their understanding of Processes and Change within Natural Resources by…
Comparing the availability of natural resources and the impact of different management plans (e.g., management of
forests depends upon use, lumber production, sugarbush, deer habitat, mining, recreation) within the management
area (forest, farmland, rivers, streams).
AND
Choosing a Vermont ecosystem and tracing its succession before and after a damaging event, showing how the
ecosystem has been restored through the maintenance of atmosphere quality, generation of soils, control of the water
cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients (e.g., flooding, former mining sites, glacial impact, deforestation,
recovery of rivers from sewage/chemical dumping, burning of fossil fuels).
AND
Explaining a natural chemical cycle that has been disrupted by human activity and predict what the long term effect
will be on organisms (e.g., acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, pollution of water by phosphates,
mercury, PCBs, etc.).
AND
Tracing the processes that are necessary to produce a common, everyday object from the original raw materials to its
final destination after human use, considering alternate routes–including extraction of raw material, production and



                                                      Page 16 of 19
m. keffer                               ecological design for high school      767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




transportation, energy use and waste disposal throughout, packaging and recycling and/or disposal (e.g., aluminum
can, steel).
Science Concepts:


a. Human activities can enhance potential for accelerating rates of natural change.
b. Natural ecosystems provide many basic processes that affect humans–maintenance of atmospheric quality,
generation of soils, control of the water cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients, etc.
c. Materials and habits from human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles on earth, and human alteration
of these cycles can be detrimental to all organisms.
d. Natural ecosystems provide the raw materials for the development of many products for human use (e.g. steel,
glass, fertilizers).
10
   Fields of Knowledge:
7.16ccc Compare and evaluate products made of either natural or synthetic materials, or a combination of the two.

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:49 Students demonstrate their understanding of Processes and Change within Natural Resources by…
Comparing the availability of natural resources and the impact of different management plans (e.g., management of
forests depends upon use, lumber production, sugarbush, deer habitat, mining, recreation) within the management
area (forest, farmland, rivers, streams).
AND
Choosing a Vermont ecosystem and tracing its succession before and after a damaging event, showing how the
ecosystem has been restored through the maintenance of atmosphere quality, generation of soils, control of the water
cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients (e.g., flooding, former mining sites, glacial impact, deforestation,
recovery of rivers from sewage/chemical dumping, burning of fossil fuels).
AND
Explaining a natural chemical cycle that has been disrupted by human activity and predict what the long term effect
will be on organisms (e.g., acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, pollution of water by phosphates,
mercury, PCBs, etc.).
AND
Tracing the processes that are necessary to produce a common, everyday object from the original raw materials to its
final destination after human use, considering alternate routes–including extraction of raw material, production and
transportation, energy use and waste disposal throughout, packaging and recycling and/or disposal (e.g., aluminum
can, steel).
Science Concepts:


a. Human activities can enhance potential for accelerating rates of natural change.
b. Natural ecosystems provide many basic processes that affect humans–maintenance of atmospheric quality,
generation of soils, control of the water cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients, etc.
c. Materials and habits from human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles on earth, and human alteration
of these cycles can be detrimental to all organisms.
d. Natural ecosystems provide the raw materials for the development of many products for human use (e.g. steel,
glass, fertilizers).
11
    Fields of Knowledge:
7.13ccc Describe, model, and explain the principles of the interdependence of all systems that support life (e.g., flow
of energy, ecosystems, life cycles, cooperation and competition, human population impacts on the world ecological
system), and apply them to local, regional, and global systems; and

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:36 Students demonstrate their understanding of Equilibrium in an Ecosystem by…




                                                      Page 17 of 19
m. keffer                               ecological design for high school      767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




Designing an investigation to compare a natural system with one altered by human activities (e.g., acid rain,
eutrophication through agricultural runoff, fertilizer, pollution, solid waste, clear cutting, toxic emissions or
conservation and habitat reclamation).
Science Concept:


a. Human beings are part of the earth’s ecosystems; human activities can deliberately or inadvertently, alter the
equilibrium in an ecosystem.
12
    Grade Expectations:
S9-12:49 Students demonstrate their understanding of Processes and Change within Natural Resources by…
Comparing the availability of natural resources and the impact of different management plans (e.g., management of
forests depends upon use, lumber production, sugarbush, deer habitat, mining, recreation) within the management
area (forest, farmland, rivers, streams).
AND
Choosing a Vermont ecosystem and tracing its succession before and after a damaging event, showing how the
ecosystem has been restored through the maintenance of atmosphere quality, generation of soils, control of the water
cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients (e.g., flooding, former mining sites, glacial impact, deforestation,
recovery of rivers from sewage/chemical dumping, burning of fossil fuels).
AND
Explaining a natural chemical cycle that has been disrupted by human activity and predict what the long term effect
will be on organisms (e.g., acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, pollution of water by phosphates,
mercury, PCBs, etc.).
AND
Tracing the processes that are necessary to produce a common, everyday object from the original raw materials to its
final destination after human use, considering alternate routes–including extraction of raw material, production and
transportation, energy use and waste disposal throughout, packaging and recycling and/or disposal (e.g., aluminum
can, steel).
Science Concepts:


a. Human activities can enhance potential for accelerating rates of natural change.
b. Natural ecosystems provide many basic processes that affect humans–maintenance of atmospheric quality,
generation of soils, control of the water cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients, etc.
c. Materials and habits from human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles on earth, and human alteration
of these cycles can be detrimental to all organisms.
d. Natural ecosystems provide the raw materials for the development of many products for human use (e.g. steel,
glass, fertilizers).
13
    Grade Expectations:
S9-12:37 Students demonstrate their understanding of Recycling in an Ecosystem by…
Developing and explaining a model that shows the recycling of inorganic compounds within a natural ecosystem
(e.g., Compare worm compost with commercial fertilizer.).
Science Concept:


a. Matter (inorganic compounds) used by living things on the molecular level is cycled from old life to new life
through major chemical cycles of the earth (e.g., N, H2O, C–O, P).
14
    Fields of Knowledge:
7.19aaa Create a design solution: Build on specifications, with an understanding of the constraints (e.g., cost,
weight, environment), and tolerances that affect performance; Include mathematical and/or mechanical models of
their design; Include steps and sequences for efficiently building a prototype or product that conforms to the
specifications; Test the prototype; Use the results to modify the design; and

Vital Results:



                                                      Page 18 of 19
m. keffer                              ecological design for high school    767c1dec-3f34-48fa-8201-82c064ed36af.doc




4.6aa Apply knowledge of local environment through active participation in local environmental projects (e.g., work
with local planning board to analyze existing agricultural land use from a variety of perspectives);

Grade Expectations:
S9-12:8 Students demonstrate their ability to APPLY RESULTS by…
Using technology to communicate results effectively and appropriately to others (e.g., power point, web site,
posters, etc.).
AND
Predicting/recommending how scientific conclusions can be applied to civic, economic or social issues.
AND
Proposing and evaluating new questions, predictions, procedures and technology for further investigations.




                                                     Page 19 of 19

								
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