Sustainability Stories

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1 Sustainability Stories Program Type: Classroom program Audience Type: Grades 6 12 Description: Students write and share stories about how they are making more sustainable choices. Topics: Sustainability, storytelling, writing, environment, transportation, choices, community Process Skills Focus: Observing, collaboration, categorizing LEARNING OBJECTIVES Students will practice their storytelling and listening skills. Participants will feel they are making a difference in their communities. TIME REQUIRED Advance Preparation Set Up Activity Clean Up 15 minutes 10 minutes 60+ minutes 10 minutes SITE REQUIREMENTS Flat surfaces for writing on Sustainability Stories 1 OMSI

2 PROGRAM FORMAT Segment Format Time Introduction Large group discussion 15 min Brainstorming ideas Individual Activity 15 min Writing stories Partner Activity 30 min Sharing stories Instructor-led Activity 10 min SUPPLIES Supplies Pens or pencils Story sheets (see below; available in English & Spanish) Blank paper Computer with internet access and a computer projector Amount 1 per student 1 per student 1 per sheet 1 ADVANCE PREPARATION Gather pens/pencils and blank paper Make copies of the story sheet (one page, printed on the front and back) If completing the optional extension: Make sure that the digital recording devices are charged Download the Audacity free recording software onto computers that the students can use to edit their stories SET UP SET UP Navigate to the Voices section of OMSI s Local Voices, Clever Choices website ( and project the screen if a computer projector is available. Sustainability Stories 2 OMSI

3 INTRODUCTION 15 minutes Suggested script is shaded. Important points or questions are in bold. Possible answers are shown in italics. Let students speculate before offering answers to any questions. The answers given are provided primarily for the instructor s benefit. Listen to one of the following sustainability stories on the Voices section of the Local Voices, Clever Choices website: Dorothy, Frugal Fashionista Dorothy moved to Portland from Jamaica when she was 22. When life in the US got difficult, she drew on her faith and ingenuity to start a new business making fabulous children s clothing using whatever resources she could find. Deysi and Ivonne, Two-Wheel Duo By learning about bicycle maintenance and safety education through the Community Cycling Center's programs, Deysi and her daughter Ivonne discovered their personal potential. Deysi received hands-on bike maintenance training while a member of Andando en Bicicletas en Cully, a bike committee in the Cully neighborhood. Ivonne gained confidence through Community Cycling Center's Bike Club program. Mark, Roadside Revolutionary This is Mark. He and his neighbors transformed a typical intersection into Share-It Square a collective space that now brings their whole community together. What sustainable choice did the storyteller make? [Answers for Dorothy, Frugal Fashionista] She decided to sew children s clothing to save money. Dorothy also used recycled materials to reduce waste. What are some of the sustainable choices you ve made? Riding your bicycle instead of asking your parents to drive you, cooking food at home instead of eating at a restaurant, borrowing books from a library, donating clothes to a thrift store. What is sustainability? We can divide this concept into three parts, or pillars. Draw this Venn diagram on the board for the students to see: Sustainability Stories 3 OMSI

4 Sustainability is composed of the environment (air, water, animals), society (education, health, safety), and the economy (money, jobs, businesses). What are some examples of each pillar? Environment: Parks, gardens, reducing pollution Social: Community groups, schools, after-school sports Economic: Jobs, houses, going to restaurants What environmental impacts did the storyteller s choice have? How about social and economic impacts? Dorothy saved cloth from going to waste by re-using it (environmental). She contributed to a stronger community by providing handmade, quality clothing for people (social). Dorothy sold her clothes to make money (economic). Repeat this same analysis using another video from the Local Voices, Clever Choices website. INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY 15 minutes Hand out a story sheet to each student and pens/pencils. Instruct the students that they ll be filling out the front page of the story sheet. Think about sustainable choices you ve made and write down two ideas for a story relating to sustainability. Lead a class discussion in which students share one of their ideas. Brainstorm how the stories can be developed to have a meaningful beginning, middle, and end. Sustainability Stories 4 OMSI

5 PARTNER ACTIVITY 30 minutes Arrange students in pairs. Share your two story ideas with your partner. Decide with your partner which of your two sustainability ideas would make a better story. Fill out the back page of your story sheet. Create artwork on your story sheet that shows a scene from your story drawing, a collage, etc. WRAP-UP 10 minutes Lead a discussion about what stories the students chose to write about. Ask a few students to volunteer to share their stories. Optional homework assignment: students can write a short essay of their stories and create accompanying digital artwork that can be loaded onto the Local Voices, Clever Choices website. CLEAN UP Pick up and put away writing and artwork materials. OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS Poetry: Students can create a poem from their story. Artwork: Students can create artwork such as a drawing, collage, or photo slide show to accompany their stories. Audio slideshow: Students can record themselves telling their stories using a phone or tablet. Use the Audacity software to edit the recording and upload the stories to OMSI s Local Voices, Clever Choices website ( Sustainability Stories 5 OMSI

6 Supplies Amount Audacity (free online recording 1 copy software) Digital recording devices (phones, 1 per 2 3 tablets, etc.) students Computer with internet access 1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION Clever Together (Juntos somos ingeniosos) is a permanent bilingual exhibit at OMSI in the Earth Science hall that focuses on the small but important choices we make every day and which impact our environment, community, and economy. Local Voices, Clever Choices website: the online companion to Clever Together features stories of people who are already making inspiring choices in their everyday lives to contribute to a more sustainable Portland: NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS Practices 1. Asking questions and defining problems 2. Planning and carrying out investigations 3. Constructing explanations and designing solutions 4. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Crosscutting Concepts 1. Cause and effect Sustainability Stories 6 OMSI

7 What is your sustainability story? Sustainability Stories are about choices that we make to improve our communities and the positive effects these choices have on our lives. What stories do you have about trying something new and discovering unexpected social, economic, or environmental benefits? Name(s) What are your ideas for a sustainability story? 1) 2) Which story idea is the most interesting? Why? Which story idea has a clear beginning, middle, and end? What happens in each part of the story? Which story results in more environmental, social, and economic benefits? What are they? Sustainability Stories 7 OMSI

8 Share your Sustainability Story! Use the questions below to discover more interesting details of your story. Then, use this information to write your sustainability story. If you want, you can even add it to the Local Voices, Clever Choices website at What city and neighborhood do you live in? Title for your story (6 words or less) What sustainable choice did you make? What inspired you? What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome it? What are the benefits? Are there any that you didn t expect? How is your life different now than before you made this change? Draw or attach a picture of you in action (*If you re under 13, you ll need permission and help from an adult to share your story.) Sustainability Stories 8 OMSI

9 Cuál es tu historia sustentable? Las historias sustentables relatan las decisiones que tomamos para mejorar nuestras comunidades y los impactos positivos que esas decisiones tienen en nuestras vidas. Qué historias puedes compartir que comuniquen algo nuevo que intentaste y donde descubriste beneficios sociales, económicos o medioambientales? Nombre(s) Qué ideas tienes para crear historias sustentables? 1) 2) Cuál es la idea más interesante? Por qué? Qué historia tiene un comienzo, desarrollo y final más claro? Qué sucede en cada parte de la historia? Qué historia tiene más resultados positivos en los aspectos medioambientales, sociales y económicos? Cuáles son estos resultados? Sustainability Stories 9 OMSI

10 Comparte tu historia sustentable! Utiliza las preguntas que están a continuación para descubrir detalles interesantes acerca de tu historia. Luego usa esta información para escribir tu historia sustentable. Si quieres, puedes agregarla a la página de internet de Nuestras voces, nuestras decisiones: (*) Nombre(s) En qué ciudad y vecindario vives? Título de tu historia (6 palabras o menos) Qué decisión sustentable tomaste? Qué te inspiró? Cuál ha sido el mayor reto? Alguno que no te esperabas? Qué diferencia existe en tu vida después de haber tomado esta decisión y haber hecho este cambio? Dibuja una imagen de tuya en acción (*Si eres menor de 13 años, necesitarás el permiso y la ayuda de un adulto para compartir tu historia). Sustainability Stories 10 OMSI

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