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Think Differently Day 8:

The Three Little Pigs (Language Arts)
Oceanic Absorption (Science)
Think Differently (Math)
Who's Got your Power? (Social Studies)
Writing & Analyzing Surveys
Links on this page: Student Sheet

National Education Standards Met:

Math discipline


Goal: Students complete a simple activity to encourage them to think about creative ways to take personal actions to reduce GHG emissions.

Objectives: Students will:

  • Think differently to solve a problem
  • Create a personal action plan to reduce GHG emissions
  • Evaluate their plan using a decision grid
  • Sign a pledge committing to taking personal action

Materials (per lab group of 3 students):

  • 3 sharpened pencils
  • 3 - 50 cm pieces of 16 gauge wire
  • 12 - 1/4 in nuts
  • 12 - small washers
  • computer with PowerPoint
  • Copies of student sheet

Time: 45 minutes

Standards Met: C5, S7, M1, M3, M4, M7


  • Explain to students that they will have the chance to 'think differently' in this activity. It is important to "think outside the box" when they are trying to find the solution to complex problems.
  • As they do this activity, ask students to think about ways that they, as individuals, can take personal actions to reduce GHG emissions. They might need to 'think differently' to find ideas.
  • Pass out one pencil, 4 nuts, 4 washers, and a piece of wire to each student.
  • Tell the students that their task is to balance the pencil so only the tip is touching the table. The pencil must stand independently with nothing supporting or holding it. No other piece of equipment may touch the table.
  • Give students time to figure out the puzzle. See the diagram at the end of the lesson plan for the solution.
  • Discuss the outcome with students. What worked? Where did they begin in solving the problem? How did they think outside the box?
  • Explain to students that many solutions to the world's most challenging problems came out of someone thinking differently.
  • Tie this concept to the idea that they will need to think differently to reduce their personal GHG emissions.
  • Discuss personal action ideas students may have thought of during the pencil activity. How can they do things differently?  Some examples may include:  walk to school, ride my bike to the corner store, turn off the lights when I leave a room, etc.
  • Ask students to determine the one action that they can feasibly do to make a difference at a personal level.
  • Pass out Think Differently Student Sheet.
  • Explain that students will need to write their personal action idea on the pledge on their Think Differently Student Sheet.
  • Then, students should complete the decision grid on their action idea. The grid is on the student sheet.
  • Explain that when students are finished with the student sheet, they will share their pledge and post it in the room somewhere.

Think Differently-Student Sheet


Think Differently-Student Sheet

Name:  ___________________________________________________________

Complete the decision grid below based on your personal action idea. Turn in with your pledge.

Rating Scale:
3 - Meets all criteria
2 - Meets many criteria
1 - Meets some criteria
0 - Meets few, if any criteria



















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