For your midterm exam (due noon, 3-7-2016), please respond to five of the questions below. Each response should be about 500 words long. The exam should be written independently, but you are free to discuss possible responses with your peers.

  • Given the issues the Hoosic Falls community will be facing in coming months and years with their crisis, propose a program of 6 60-minute sessions for students at any grade level. At the outset, characterize the issues, then propose specific educational interventions that would prepare students to deal with these issues.

  • Describe the arguments made in the articles by Orr, Lakoff, and Ridley/Low about ways environmental sustainability should be framed (and justified)? Explain which arguments you find compelling, and why, then describe one activity for k-12 students would effectively frame environmental sustainability in a way suggested by one of these authors.

  • Watch (Michigan State University's) Principles of Place-Based Education(20 minutes) list three key points then explain how place-based education is said to differ from environmental education, and how it realizes John Dewey's arguments about what education should accomplish.

  • Watch Dropout Nation (75 minutes) then describe why kids drop out, and how the teachers portrayed in the film try to help. Note that a school featured in the film (Sharpstown) is in Houston... a different part of of the city than the part hemmed in by chemical plants (see the work of TEJAS), but rough in a different way. Also describe four interventions that you can imagine, at least two involving environmental education.

  • Watch (Bill Moyer's) Kids and Chemicals (50 minutes), list five points in the film that sparked your attention, then use the film to complete this long view chart on sustainability education.

  • Describe the design and purpose behind the design of the The Druk White Lotus School (Ladakh, India) (25 minute film) then describe what the built features and daily life within a "culturally inflected" green school building in the United States would be like (drawing inspiration from the Druk White Lotus School).

  • Watch the film Toxic Sludge is Good for You (45 minutes), read through the study guide for the film, and explore resources on “greenwashing,” all available here. Address these questions:
  1. What is the argument of Toxic Sludge is Good for You, and what examples are given to support it?
  2. Describe how commercial public relations has likely shaped the thinking of k-12 students we are working with.
  3. What is “greenwashing,” and what examples do you find particularly provocative?
  4. How could we teach middle school students about greenwashing, and propaganda more generally? Suggest a specific exercise.
  5. Consider how we should – and maybe should not – use public relations strategies in planning for a community Earth Day event at RPI. Suggest specific ways that we could follow the suggestions listed below (from Wilcox, Dennis L, et al. Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, 4th ed. (New York: HarperCollins), 1995, p. 300, referenced in the study guide for Toxic Sludge is Good for You). Also discuss public relation strategies that are not appropriate for use by educators, researchers and/or civic activists.

  • Explain how Annie Leonard argues that we "aren't broke," (8 minutes) and should have plenty of money for public education in the United States, then list four ways you would increase funding for public education in the United States (if you were in charge of everything).

  • Describe the approach to math education applauded in this article, then explain how your own math education compare

  • Describe and evaluate the teaching experiment portrayed in Frontline: A Class Divided (45 minute video about race-awareness educator Jane Elliot).

  • Critically review four of the following "games for change". First describe how the game works, and what assumptions it builds in, then describe how it could (or could not) contribute to sustainability education (noting the audience it would best address). Don't re-review games you analyzed for a curriculum review.
  1. SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!
  2. Enercities
  3. Stop Disasters! (UNISDR)
  4. 10 more environmental games
  5. National Library of Medicine archive of environmental health games (air pollution games look really good):