Book Review: Make the Future! Hands-On Sustainability Lessons Series by Nansi Kunze

Make the Future! Hands-On Sustainability Lessons Series, Nansi Kunze, Hawker Brownlow Education, 2017-2018

 

From the Publisher: Can primary students really change the world? Yes, they can – and this book shows them how!

Make the Future! Hands-On Sustainability Lessons for Years 1 & 2 is a cross-curriculum STEM resource that gives real meaning to the idea of sustainability. It contains eight different activities for each year level, designed to supplement Australian Curriculum instruction by addressing the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority, as well as reproducible worksheets and teacher’s notes.

Make the Future! features

  • STEM-rich activities that support the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, Science, Technologies, Humanities and Social Sciences, English, Health and Physical Education and The Arts learning areas, as well as the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority
  • data from the most up-to-date and credible sources, including the National Sustainability Council, Planet Ark, National Geographic and the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria
  • hands-on, practical activities based on traditional skills – students can make their own upcycled accessories, cook planet-friendly (and allergen-free) food, create storage solutions from waste materials and much more
  • whole-class, small-group and individual work with options for a range of skill levels
  • opportunities for multi-year-level collaboration, self-directed learning and community engagement
  • content that actively develops key life skills, such as nutritional knowledge and goal-setting.

Make the Future! brings sustainability to life in the classroom, while empowering your students to make a tangible difference to their future – and to have fun at the same time!

I feel like, when you become a parent, the idea of protecting and conserving our planet for future generations becomes something more than just a concept. I now have a living, breathing future generation living in my home and in my heart. The need for her to have a healthy planet to live on is real.

And I am constantly heartened, inspired and grateful for the efforts her school to instil conservation values in my daughter and her classmates. Ideas around sustainability and nurturing our environment are being discussed in the classroom, and my daughter is bringing these ideas – in the form of practical strategies – into our home.

I am proud of her. I am proud of her school. I am also aware that they need support in this essential mission. My work in the school library has shown me clearly that more resources are sorely needed.

This is why I was so thrilled to see that talented author Nansi Kunze was bringing out a range of classroom resources focussing on fun eco-friendly activities for primary school students. With a background in science and quirky, humorous fiction writing for young people, I knew that Nansi would bring something unique to these books. I was not wrong.

Through these books, Nansi aims to inspire young people to learn more about how the environment impacts on their lives, and to make informed decisions about how they can positively influence the future of our planet. Through her warm, personable, funny and clever way of conveying information, Nansi brilliantly communicates her message without sounding preachy, didactic or – worst of all – boring. The activities she details in this book range from the practical to the artistic. All personality types will find an area to connect with, as she manages to include activities suited to students with a variety of interests – from science to baking to hands-on DIY pursuits. She also caters to teachers focussed on integrating fun activities into the curriculum, and deftly places a strong focus on cross-curriculum learning. Many of the activities have both educational and real-world applications, and critical thinking and information literacy play crucial roles.

Visually, the books are both modern and extremely colourful and fun. Students of all year levels will find the aesthetics engaging and “cool” (my daughter, on first glance, immediately declared that the books “look awesome”).

And anything that makes caring for our environment look “cool” and “awesome” is a winner in my book.

I heartily recommend these resources to librarians, teachers and parents, and all who see – when they look into the eyes of a small person – how the most important gift we can give them is a safe and happy world to live in.

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