11-13 yrs old
Climate & Environment
Students explore a sustainably built home.
April 7, 2021
A Story About Sustainability
Sustainability City Minecraft World
World to support lesson activities. Direct download.
Complete Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students will explore a home that has been built using sustainable materials and includes certain items to help with efficiency. Students will make connections with other areas of the city where materials come from.
Teacher Preparation & Notes:
Possible NGSS standard(s):
- MS-ESS3-3: Apply principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
The teacher will need to prepare “kits” with various materials for the closing project. The materials will need to offer, at minimum, items that could be used for solid surfaces (walls, floor, roof) and insulation. Each kit will also need a thermometer and items to put the project together (glue, tape, scissors, etc.)
The following vocabulary will be used in this lesson and the teacher may want to introduce these to the students beforehand.
The teacher will share a video that tells a story about sustainability (see link). After viewing the video, students will discuss what they think the word sustainable means. After allowing them to discuss this word in small groups, the teacher will write down student answers. Then s/he will ask what the word efficiency means.
The teacher will tell students that sustainable means causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore can continue for a long time. Once s/he has given the definition, she will ask students to compare it to what they thought it meant. She will repeat this with the word efficiency (the good use of energy so little to none is wasted).
With students in small groups, the teacher will ask them to make a list of materials in their home that might be considered sustainable/sustainably sourced and/or efficient. After groups are done with their lists, they will return to the whole group and share out.
The teacher will explain to students that today they will be exploring a sustainable, efficient home in Minecraft, and then they will attempt to build one of their own with a small group of students.
Minecraft World Exploration:
Students should take notes on what they learn as they complete this exploration.
Students will begin their exploration to the right of the garage where someone will tell them about how the house contains sustainably sourced materials (bottom ash, lumber, glass) (PE1). Then, they will head to the front of the house and find out why having an energy-efficient home is important.
As they enter the side door, students will head to an NPC and learn about the home’s insulation. Students should take note of the blue droplets representing air and what happens to them when they hit the insulation. How does insulation help keep a home energy-efficient? (PE2)
Next, they will speak to the ventilation NPC and understand how ventilation ducts in a home can help with keeping an energy-efficient home (PE2).
Also, upstairs there will be an NPC that talks about window film and smart blinds (PE2). At this point, students might be interested in searching for other “smart” features one can find in modern homes.
After speaking to the NPCs upstairs, students will head downstairs and outside. They will climb up the scaffolding on the front, left side of the home and learn about how solar panels support both sustainability and efficiency in a home (PE1, PE2).
The last stop will be the basement to meet the furnace NPC. He will explain how the home gets energy from the local power plant as well as how the other features in the home reduce the need for the furnace to run. Students should connect this with the concept of efficiency (PE2).
Students will then board the bus to return to town.
Note: See Full Lesson plan for all activities.
Students will be able to…
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