History of Loss

Mathematics, Science

Sculpture Title:

History of Loss


Learning Lens:

Environmental Sustainability


Curriculum Access:

Math and Science



How do our day to day items or nostalgic artifacts block us from thinking critically or evaluating how our lifestyles impact the environment?


Guiding Question:

How can we see our environment more clearly?


Strategies & Approaches:

Mindfulness practice, scientific observation, reflection, Socratic Questioning.


Background for Student:

Shetty’s piece draws attention to the environmental damage caused by the internal combustion engine by placing each vehicle into a coffin-like box on display as a museum relic or artifact.


Informal Assessment:

Ensure students have a basic understanding of the following concepts: Ecological footprint, environmental sustainability, and socio-emotional attachments.



Ecological Footprint calculator (attached).


Curricular Challenge:

15-20 mins, Open/Reflect: Welcoming Multiple Interpretations

  1. Students are encouraged to disengage from their recent experience and their busy surroundings to practice mindfulness.
  2. Direct students to ‘mindfully’ (quietly/individually) explore the piece and develop their own interpretation. More information on mindfulness for the classroom can be found here.
  3. Direct each student to share their interpretation of the piece without judgement.
  4. Connect students’ individual interpretations to the background information provided above.

45 mins, Challenge: Ecological Footprint Worksheet

  1. Have students complete Ecological footprint worksheet (attached) for two time periods: pre-school aged and teenagers.
  2. Have students calculate the impact of their Ecological footprint.
  3. Have students imagine their Ecological footprint 20 years from now. For example: you are a worldwide business owner with a family of four.
  4. Have the students choose three attachments that they have: food, transportation and housing. Have them reflect on these daily practices in relation to the environment and think of environmentally sound changes that they can make. For example, the student has gone from eating meat to being a vegetarian. A transportation method no longer relies on fossil fuel. Housing now switches to minimal square footage and solar energies. Students can re-calculate their Ecological footprint once hypothetical changes have been made.

Debrief: Ensure students realize that their daily life choices impact the environment. Challenge the students to separate themselves from their habitual practices, ones that may be detrimental to the environment. Via reflection on the days activities, have students re-evaluate their daily lifestyle.



United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

UNESCO Consumer Education Module  September 20, 2010.


How large is your footprint?

Find out by answering the quiz below. Circle the number (either 1, 2 or 3) next to the answer that best fits your family’s lifestyle.



How much meat do you eat?

vegetarian (no meat) 1 meat 1 to 4 days a week 2 meat almost every day 3

How much food is wasted in your household?

most is eaten 1 occasional wastage as rotten or uneaten food 2 uneaten food thrown away most days 3

Where does your food come from?

grown at home or bought from local markets – no plastic packaging 1 grown in your country and bought from supermarkets packaged in plastic 2 mostly imported food from supermarket packaged in plastic 3



How far does your family travel each week?

less than 100km per week 1 100 to 300km per week 2 over 300km per week 3

Where do you go for holidays each year?

not far from home 1 within your region 2 another country 3

How do you travel to school each day?

on foot or by bicycle 1 public transport 2 by car 3

Does your family have a car?

no 1 one small car (1600cc or less) 2 large car or more than one car 3



How big is your house?

small (1-3 rooms) 1 medium (4-7 rooms) 2 large (over 7 rooms) 3

What power source does your house have?

some or all solar/wind power 1 only electricity 2 wood/coal/paraffin 3

How much electricity does your household use? Check your electricity bill.

up to $10 per month 1 $10 to $30 per month 2 over $30 per month 3

How much water does your household use? Check your water meter/water bill.

700 litres or less per day 1 700 to 1200 litres per day 2 over 1200 litres per day 3

How many of these waterwise activities does your family do? Share baths; recycle used water on garden; garden with indigenous plants; have a dual-flush toilet; have no swimming pool.

all 5 of these 1 3 – 4 of these 2 0 – 2 of these 3

Do you recycle paper; tin cans; plastic; glass and make compost?

all 5 of these 1 3 – 4 of these 2 0 – 2 of these 3



How many brothers and sisters do you have?

None 1 one 2 two or more 3

Now add up all your circled points to find the Grand Total =

How did you score? Check your total score below to find out how your family’s lifestyle affects our planet.

Less than 16

You tread softly on our Earth and have a small footprint compared to others. Wish there were more of you around!

17 to 30

You have a medium footprint and your presence on Earth is damaging. The natural environment cannot support very many people like you.

Over 30

Lighten up! If everyone had footprints like this, we would need several more Earths to have enough resources to meet all these demands!

Source: Adapted from EnviroKids, 22(2), March/April 2001, Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.