I want my grade 5 science students to solve the world’s greatest problem.

How might we invent a product using renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon foot print?


Research and Introduction

Important environmental science topics will be learned through research and discussions in our grade 5 classroom. Ideally students will learn the answers  the following essential questions throughout the research phase of the LAUNCH sequence. The learning goal is to be able to answer all of the essential questions.The project goal is to use their learning to invent a product which will reduce our dependence on burning fossil fuels.

10 Essential Questions

  1. What are fossil fuels?
  2. What is climate change?
  3. What are renewable energy sources?
  4. How does the green house effect work?
  5. What type of gases make up our atmosphere?
  6. How does burning fossil fuel effect our environment?
  7. What is a carbon foot print and how do I calculate it?
  8. Does the production of meat as food effect the atmosphere?
  9. How does having too much carbon dioxide effect our atmosphere?
  10. How does using renewable energy sources effect the environment?


Recognizing “The Problem”

Our dependence on fossil fuels and overindulgence in meat consumption is causing climate change.

How might we ….

How might we invent a product using renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon foot print.


Students will complete a crazy eight activity to come up with a product which will help to reduce green house gas emissions. 8 minutes and 8 squares, 1 minute per square.

After 8 minutes students will be asked to select their best idea and create a story board to show how they may create this product.


Students will place their idea on the wall and provide feedback on other ideas. Students will be asked to post their critique on top of each storyboard.


Everyone will build a model of their product.

Sharing with the world

Students will share their idea with the class in any form they would like. Some may want to create a commercial for their invention. Students will have the opportunity to share their product with the school in a showcase display for their products.

My hope

At the conclusion of this project students will have created change. Their knowledge of our effect on the environment will impact the decisions that they make when managing their own energy consumption.

5 thoughts on “Too much CO2

  1. Hi Bob,
    What a fantastic project idea! How far along are you with the project? Have the students started yet or is this a plan for the future? Are you familiar with PBL? You have included many of the components and may be interested in checking out https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl/gold-standard-project-design We at HSC have been hosting a national conference each year and will be doing so again this August! Let me know if you would like more information, or perhaps you know already!! Looking forward to seeing everyone again tomorrow!

  2. P.S. Bob, My husband Mark Mitchell teaches Geography at HSC and would love to connect with you tomorrow if possible. We were chatting about your action plan and he does something similar. Be sure to seek me out tomorrow and I can introduce you.

  3. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for sharing – it sounds like a really interesting project (and I think I might see a little FDS inspiration in there too 🙂

    Wondering — do you have any updates on how this went with the students? Any new insights since your last post? Have they embraced the challenge? I found that when my students were tasked with big meaty questions like this, they responded in one of two ways: they either loved the ability to build and share their own original ideas, or they felt frustrated because of the lack of a “right” answer. Those were grade 11/12 students, so I’d love to hear if there are similarities or differences with younger students.

    I’m also wondering what your assessment approach is for the project? This is something we get asked about a lot when helping teachers build projects like this. I’d love to learn more!

    Looking forward to hearing all this and more tomorrow.


  4. @bhayes, this is a noble question and ultimately the challenge for this generation of future young leaders.

    I am excited to hear about how they did. Looking to next year, is it possible to build in an action plan, where students take action and have to demonstrate that they have tried to make a difference. I found this challenging at the grade 12 level but it certainly would add another layer to their projects.

    See you at the F2F (today!)


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