The Way We Live


...and how our choices impact our environment



Secret Lives of "Stuff"

(formerly Helping Students Protect the Environment and Live Well)

WINTER/SPRING 2017 WORKSHOP - eLearning Opportunity!  100% online!

January 9 – May 4, 2017--Scroll to the bottom of this page for enrollment instructions and update on course availability.

To read a summary of teacher feedback from a recent course, click here.

Location:  100% Online through UNI Continuing & Distance Education

Audience: Targeted specifically to K-8th grades in nearly all subject areas. Also great for 9-12 Language Arts, Social Studies and Environmental Science. Adaptation needed for high level math and science. If you teach high level math or science, or a subject area not mentioned above, contact instructor at before enrolling.

Credit: One hour of graduate OR undergraduate credit

Fee: $100 tuition & technology fee, but you will receive a stipend of $100 when you successfully complete the course, thanks to grant support.*

*Stipends and reduced tuition/technology fees are provided through the generous support of the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program. To receive the stipend, your students will need to complete a community engagement project. Your students' can write letters to the editor, post posters in the hallway for community members' viewing or a number of other options. 

"Helping Students Protect the Environment and Live Well" participants in face-to-face workshop

Workshop description:  Explore with your K-12 students the “stuff” Americans use daily. These products have life cycles. They are extracted, transported, produced, used and disposed of around the globe--including in Iowa. Study how this "stuff" is a primary source of environmental problems. Upper level students then can find solutions to the question: How do we reconcile our desire to consume with our desire for a healthy planet?  The course includes exploration of individual and collective actions.

Course content is real and relevant. Materials introduced are interdisciplinary and classroom-ready and are designed so your students learn essential skills and concepts from the Iowa Core as well as NGSS Science and Engineering Practices.

Click here for learning objectives. 

Requirements: The first five of six modules will be completed from January 9 to February 22.  In each module, the assignment will help you build your mini-unit.  By mid-February, you will have designed a mini-unit using at least two new-to-you resources. You will integrate this mini-unit into your existing curriculum, and may teach the unit anytime from mid-February through April 28. You will stay connected to your peers in the course via eLearning technologies, exchanging information, discussing what worked, and what didn’t.

Class is completed by May 4.

Instructor: Susan Salterberg 

Instructor philosophy: I aim to model effective teaching strategies and introduce concepts and materials with passion, enthusiasm and honesty, challenging you to think critically. I also am committed to providing you with practical, engaging resources to help you pique your students’ curiosity, and to help them learn essential skills.

Contact Susan Salterberg to learn more (, 319-337-4816).

To enroll: As of January 6, the class is full but we are taking names on a Wait List. Please proceed with enrolling and your name will be added to the Wait List. Thanks for your interest!  
Click here to access the enrollment form. IMPORTANT: Use the information below to assist you in completing the indicated sections of the Enrollment Form. Other sections on the form should be self-explanatory. 

7.    Class Nbr -- Undergraduate enter 15523; Graduate enter 15524                      

8.    Indicate Undergraduate or Graduate credit

10.  List your previous degree information if taking the course for Graduate credit

16.  Click “I AGREE” to submit your Enrollment Form.  You will receive an automated reply saying it has been submitted.



Offered by: Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) and Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Northern Iowa through the Office of Distance and Continuing Education

Supported by: REAP Conservation Education Program and Iowa solid waste agencies and landfills.