Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Carter, Robert L.

Degree Name

B.S.Ed. (Bachelor of Science in Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Literacy and Elementary Education


This fifth grade unit integrates the study of the human respiratory system and air pollution. The unit begins by exposing students to pollution in their community and ends with a service-learning project that involves accessing community leaders to plant trees. The first service-learning project is started at the beginning of the unit which extends upon the first activity and continues throughout the whole unit. For this project, students brainstorm a list of highly polluted areas in the community that will be adopted and cleaned up. They visit the site weekly and join a cleanup operation while encouraging other citizens to join. Students will use the skills they acquired in the introductory lesson to keep the area clean. Weekly journals where students write about progress and record personal perceptions will be kept. This project will benefit the self-esteem of the involved students. When students begin to realize the impact they are making in their community, they will feel a sense of worth. This realization may take place when they see before and after pictures or through the pleasant remarks from others. Either way, at the end of the project, students cannot help but feel like they did something meaningful for the community. In addition, the community will gain much from this service-learning project considering that a well needed area will be cleaned up and taken care of. Citizens are encouraged to help the students by meeting them at the site. A routine is being started that hopefully, students will continue. This will lead to other areas of the community being taken care of. The hoped expectation is that students will be less apt to pollute their community because they have experienced the effort it takes to clean it up. The final service-learning project involves students seeking out citizen's help in various ways. Students will use the community to gain information on the rules of community planting and possible material donations. Later, students will gain ask the community for help implementing their project by a meeting at the set location to help plant trees and bushes. Students have more preparation to do but the outcome highly benefits both the community and the students. Because of the preparation involved, students are building real-life skills that will later help them. Furthermore, they are accessing resources in the community they may later need. Forming relationships early on will lead to other connections and other opportunities. The end result of this proj ect will beautify the community while providing satisfaction to the students. Future generations will be able to enjoy the trees and reap the benefits trees have to offer. Other than two service-learning projects, students will engage in many thoughtful activities that increase their knowledge about the respiratory system and air pollution. Lessons call for students to apply learning to their own life and use the community as a resource, two very important components in education. For example, participating in an emissions test will help students further investigate local air quality standards. Students will also benefit the community by sharing valuable information. For example, after learning about the negative effects of smoking, student create posters that depict these consequences and provide information as to where to get help in the community. In conclusion, by implementing this unit, students will not only become more knowledgeable about how the respiratory system works and how air pollution affects it, but how to improve the quality of each and implement some of the learned strategies into the community. These student actions should promote the value of self worth and civic duty. Students will have the opportunity to look back and realize all the good they are doing for the community and themselves and hopefully, want to continue with this newly found citizenship. Therefore, this unit is not only benefiting students of the classroom but the community as well.


Includes bibliographical references.


16 unnumbered pages




Northern Illinois University

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