How big is the wilderness land protected by President Trump?

Grade level: 4th – 6th grades

Skills: Division (large numbers)

sRelated environmental issues: Biodiversity

President Trump passed the wilderness preservation law on March 11, 2019. With the legislation, 1.3 million acres of federal land in California, Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico will be protected from logging, oil drilling, mining, and road-building.

  1. Death Valley, California

    Death Valley, California  (Photo credit: ROBYN BECK)

  1. Former President Obama passed the law to protect 2 million acres of wilderness across the West in March 2009. With the both laws, how many acres of land is protected from logging, oil drilling, mining, and road-building?
  2. The size of Rhode Island is 750,000 acres. How many times is the area protected by the two presidents larger than the state of Rhode Island?

Sources: East Bay Times, March 15, 2019. 

Note) The actual size of Rhode Island is 775,680 acres.

 

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Answer keys

  1. 3.3 million acres (1.3 + 2 = 3.3)
  2. 4.4 times (3,300,000 / 750,000 = 4.4)

 

How much has the weight of plastic bottles changed?

Grade level: 3rd – 5th grades

Skills: Division 

Related environmental issues: Reduce /  Reuse / Recycle

The average weight of  plastic beverage bottles has changed over time. In 1980, five empty 2-liter PET bottles weighed 340 grams.  Now, nine 3-liter PET bottles weigh 378 grams.

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  1. Which weighs more, a plastic bottle in 1980 or now? And how much?
  2. Why do you think has the weight of plastic bottles changed? Explain.

Sources: PET Resin Association, Little-Known Facts about PET Plastic

 

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Answer keys

  1. 1980 bottle: 340 ÷ 5 = 68 (g)   Now: 378 ÷ 9 = 42 (g)    68 – 42 = 22 (g)     A plastic bottle now is 22 g lighter than that in 1980.
  2. Answers may vary: Hint 1) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce the use of plastic and raw materials  2) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce overall weight of the item and reduce energy consumed and CO2 emitted in the process of manufacturing and transporting the item. 3) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce plastic (and raw materials) use, so does the amount of plastic that has to be recycled.