Professional Development Topics and DescriptionsFacing the Future provides inservice workshops, consulting, and webinars for teachers at the state, district, school, and department level.
Workshops run from 1 hour to multi-day sessions and can be tailored to meet specific needs and interests. All Facing the Future's workshops are hands-on, interactive explorations of global issues and sustainability. Participants walk away with activity-based curriculum, ideas, and strategies they can put to immediate use in their classrooms.
Below is a list of sample workshop and webinar topics and descriptions. Email us for more information or pricing.
Sustainability and Global Issues Topics
- Bridging the Achievement Gap through Global Education
- Building Bridges over Troubled Water: Cross-curricular Resources and Action Opportunities for Teaching about Water
- Connecting Your Classroom to the World through Service Learning
- Fueling the Future: Energy Needs, Sources and Choices
- Global Sustainability: An Integrated Context for Learning
- Hands-on Lessons on Global Equity and Quality of Life
- Ideas and Resources for Implementing Effective Social Studies CBAs
- Seeing the Big Picture: Media Literacy and Global Issues
- Teaching about Governance, Policy-Making, and Global Issues
- Using Systems Thinking to Educate Effective Global Citizens
- What's Ailing Us? Exploring Global Health Connections
Curriculum Based Topics
- Climate Change: Connections and Solutions
- Engaging English Language Learners and Striving Readers with Global Issues Using 21st Century Skills
- Engaging Students in Conservation: Protecting the Endangered Snow Leopard
- Fun Global Sustainability Lessons for Elementary School
- Global Issues, Sustainable Solutions
- Sustainability by the Numbers: Using Foundational Algebra and Geometry to Address Real World Issues
- Understanding Sustainability: 2-Week Unit for Middle School Science
- Understanding Sustainability: 2-Week Unit for High School Social Studies
- The Meatrix Series
These humorous animated shorts provide an entertaining way to give students an overview of the problems associated with factory farms. And be sure to check out the entire Meatrix site, which includes an animated, 360 degree interactive industrial dairy farm scene. The films are also available to you on DVD at no cost. Contact us for a copy.
- Examining Media through The Meatrix
This short lesson was developed from The Meatrix by Susan Isaacs, a teacher in Alberta, Canada at the School of Hope. It encourages students to examine the media that surrounds them in order to analyze messages and meanings.
- Lesson Plans for Factory Farming [PowerPoint]
A PowerPoint presentation about factory farming from teaching students at Acadia University in Nova Scotia . The authors used information from both The Meatrix and Sustainable Table for their presentation. (Joclyn Burke and Justin Dill, 2005)
In 2005, Sustainable Table invited teachers from grades 5-8 to submit a Unit based on the topics covered in The Meatrix. The curriculum could cover all subjects mentioned in the film or could focus on one or two issues in detail. Two winners were selected to receive cash awards: $1,000 for first place, and $500 for second place.
FIRST PLACEMore Ideas: Activities and Short Lessons
Melissa Bannister's Lesson Plan [PDF]
Melissa Bannister of Downey Elementary in Harrisburg, PA, developed a lesson plan around The Meatrix which incorporates Language, Science, Social Studies, Math, Technology and Art. The plan covers three weeks worth of 50 minute class periods, and allows students to research, debate and present the topic of factory farming in order to strengthen their questioning, essay writing and public speaking skills. Using library and internet research skills, students are able to investigate the topic after being introduced to it through The Meatrix, and come to their own conclusions. Key elements involve learning how to separate fact from opinion, and learning how to use statistics to construct an argument.
Not only do students learn about the issues, but they can apply them to their own lives, through scientific and intellectual analysis of their own food system and eating habits. The conclusion of the unit allows students to use multiple approaches, both scientific and social, to understand what they eat and why.
SECOND PLACEIn VaReane Heese's lesson plan, students imagine they have just been recruited by a company to research one of the issues relating to sustainable agriculture. The final result is the creation of a brochure and a commercial that is written, videotaped and produced by the students and that informs an audience about their chosen issue. Students are given the opportunity to sharpen their research, writing and communication skills while learning about media and new technologies.
VaReane Heese's Lesson Plan [PDF]
This project is intended to build self-confidence through critical thinking, as students are given contact information for various experts in the field of sustainability and agriculture and asked to interview them. This empowers students to be proactive about information gathering and the research process.
VaReane Heese's future sustainable agriculture experts show off their Meatrix gear.
- Invite a local farmer to speak in your classroom.
- Take a class trip to a nearby family farm, or visit a local animal confinement for a close view of how the operation looks - and smells. If possible, do both in one day and have the children write a paper on their impression of each place.
- View a factory farm or food-related video and follow with a discussion.
- Be a Food Detective
Helps students understand what goes into an ordinary meal. Students consider where their food comes from and how many miles it travels to their table. Grades 9 - 12. (Agriculture in the Classroom, part of the USDA)
- A Teen Activist's Guide to Factory Farms
Help students understand problems associated with factory farms and what can be done to stop them.
- Teach economics and social studies by examining how factory farms affect rural communities and how local food systems benefit communities and their environment. Check out our issues pages for more information.
- Teach science and ecology by learning about pollution from factory farms and the environmental benefits of sustainable farming. More details on our issues pages.
- The Learning Garden
Online educational programs and courses for gardeners and educators. Includes From Seed to Seed: Plant Science for K-8 Educators ($60)
- The Pig Picture
This 18-minute video traces the development of commercial pig rearing in America - from the small-scale family farms of yesterday, to the corporate owned pig factories of today. Does not contain scenes of animal slaughter and is suitable for group or school showings. This video is available to watch online or is available for purchase through the Humane Farming Association website for $10 per copy. (1995)
- Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
The University of Wisconsin Madison has created teacher curricula for sustainable agriculture. The 152 page guide includes six teacher reference guide sections outlining the scope of sustainable agriculture, an instructional unit summarizing key concepts, and 21 learning activities. Cost is only $15.
- Creating a Sustainability Curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Proposal to create a sustainable living major at UMASS, written by a group of students, faculty, and members of the community. Describes the rationale for creating a sustainability curriculum, along with examples of career paths it could lead to and a model of what the major would require.
- EcoHealth is the brainchild of Dr. Jonathan Patz, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Aimed at grades 5-8, the site includes classroom activities and lesson plans on the subject of the environment and our health.
- Farms as Factories: Issues in Animal Welfare, Environmental Protection and Public Health
High school students and their teachers examine the differences between factory farming and sustainable farming of animals and explore various issues through discussion. (Humane Society of the United States)
- From Global Hunger to Sustainable Food Systems: Challenges and Choices
What does it take for the people of the world to feed themselves? This 4-week curriculum for middle schools (grades 6-8) enables students to discover the root causes of hunger, examine the myth that industrialized agriculture is needed to feed the world, and gives them the knowledge and the skills to envision and begin creating and participating in a sustainable food system. Includes activities such as calculating individual food footprints to show students the impact of their diets on the environment. They have many programs available for various grade levels. (Programs are for a fee, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education)
- Seafood Watch Educational Materials
Material from the Monterey Bay Aquarium created for educators to learn more about the problems facing our oceans.
- Sustainable Dining
Designed for lower high school (7 - 10th grade) economics, home economics, and general education classes, students will learn about sustainably produced groceries as a valuable and environmentally friendly option for grocery shopping. (Earth Day Network and Redefining Progress)