California Objective 43: Government and Law – Environment

Ann Kopel    email:   Portland Community College – Southeast Center

Level 3 ESOL – Integrated Skills (Class size: 28 students with about ½ new to the class and the rest continuing students)


Resource:  "New York's Breen New Year" handout 

Conserving our water


Competency Area: Government and Law – Environment

Civic Objective: Identify environmental problems and recognize appropriate steps for resolution.

Language and Literacy Objective:  #2. Identify and describe environmental problems.

Crossroads Café - Epidsode # 17  United We Stand


Background: For the 2007-8 school year, we decided to focus on the environment. During Fall term our class looked at energy use, particularly electricity, but also at other energy sources such as natural gas, oil, and gasoline. Winter term looked at the use of water in our community, and next term (Spring 2008) we will focus on food and where it comes from.


Activity: Introduce idea of conservation for new students

READING:  Read an article about saving energy by replacing the famous Times Square New Year’s Eve dropping ball that used to use electric light bulbs with one that uses light emitting diodes. “New York’s Green New Year”

This led to a cloze activity to focus on comprehension and spelling. Vocabulary introduced included:

diode, light-emitting, technology, multi-colored (provided an opportunity to introduce concept of prefixes which was explored in depth near the end of the term)


Activity: Introduce idea of Global Warming to new students

Watched Movie Trailer for “The 11th Hour”

Vocabulary introduced:


·        environment

·        greenhouse gases

·        CO2

·        Methane

·        blanket

·        gravity

·        warmer

·        North and South poles

·        human footprint



Speaking / Listening: Listened to the movie and discussed as a class. Then in small groups talked about these questions:

1. What unusual weather news have you heard about in the last few years?

2. What does 11th hour mean?

3. What is a refugee? What is an environmental refugee?

4. The movie says that “with existing technologies we can reduce the human footprint on planet earth by 90 per cent.” What can each person do to help?


Activity: Raise awareness of the problem of disposing of purchased water bottles

READING: Using Internet sources, I created an article called “Think Outside the Bottle” borrowed from the nonprofit by that name. (Article is attached.  File name: “The hidden life of bottled water.) Read and discussed.