Activities for Module IV Apples, Beets, and Zinnias: Sustainable Horticulture
Activities for Section B: Real People, Real Farms: Case studies of sustainable horticulture
Activity 1: Evaluating Sustainability
Purpose: Have students apply a variety of measures of sustainability to real life examples of sustainable farms. Help students develop critical reading skills.
Advance preparation: Print out the case studies you want students to use. Make enough copies so each student gets one. You can have all the students look at the same case study, or you can have students look at several different case studies. (If you choose to have students look at different case studies, the small group presentations will have more meaning and students will be exposed to more examples. However you will have more material to manage and explain.) If you use a video instead of a written case study, you will need to obtain the video and projection equipment. Print out and copy the worksheet.
Estimated time: 50 minutes or more
- Ask the students to read through the case studies (or watch the video) and write down all the terms they do not understand. (10 minutes)
- Collect the pieces of paper with the terms on them and write the terms on a board or overhead for all students to see. Ask if any students can define or explain any of the terms. Invite them to share their explanations with the class. (5 to 10 minutes)
- If there are any undefined terms remaining and you want to save time, you can simply explain those terms to the class. Or if you have enough time, make the students research the terms themselves. Divide the class into small groups of 3 to 5 students and assign each group the task of defining or explaining one term. They can use the dictionary, a glossary or index in an appropriate textbook, and/or they can try to use the web. If there are more small groups than terms, you can ask the groups to use different sources and compare the information they get. (0 to 10 minutes)
- Divide the class into small groups if you have not already done so. Give each group a worksheet. Ask each group to answer the questions on the worksheet to the best of their ability, based on the information in the case study and their background knowledge. Explain that in some cases the case study will not give them enough information to answer all the questions. Also, the material you will be covering in the other sections of the module will help them figure out answers to some of the questions they may not fully understand at this point. They will be able to continue to fill in the worksheet over the next few days as you move through the module. (15 to 25 minutes)
- Invite each group to share information about the case studies. At this point, all the groups should have some answers to question 1, and careful readers or listeners will probably have picked up information that helps answer the other questions. Discuss the findings from the case study or studies as a class.