Mathematics of Sustainability is the theme of Mathematics Awareness Month for 2013. This is a good opportunity to show students how mathematics can be applied to real world situations.
To view the theme poster, go to Mathematics Awareness Month - April 2013. According to this site hosted by several American Mathematical Associations, "In creating the Mathematics of Sustainability poster, we aimed to paint a picture of the balancing act of sustainability and suggest that sustainability is a complex system made up of many interconnected pieces. Click on an image in our interactive poster to see how that image connects with math, sustainability and the other images." The images include cities, oil, glaciers, fishing, trees, and agriculture.
The following model lessons can provide students with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to addressing the challenges of sustainability in their schools, home, and community. (Taken from Sustainability Counts! National Initiative)
Math Challenge (elementary level)--from NEED's Energy Math Challenge unit. Examining a chart of monthly electricity usage.
Lighting activity with background information (intermediate/secondary level)--from NEED's Efficiency and Conservation Units. Compare the costs and benefits of different types of light bulbs. Use the web to find the latest prices for LED bulbs. Their cost keeps dropping.
Nameplates activity (secondary/college level)–from NEED’s Learning and Conserving unit. Determining power rating from the nameplate on the device and then estimating energy usage.