The Way We Live


...and how our choices impact our environment



Secret Lives of "Stuff"

(formerly Helping Students Protect the Environment and Live Well)

SUMMER/FALL 2017 WORKSHOP - eLearning Opportunity!  100% online!

June 12 – November 15, 2017--Scroll to the bottom of this page for enrollment instructions. Enrollment closed. Watch here for details for upcoming workshops.

To read a summary of teacher feedback from a recent course, click here. Check out how past workshop participants have taken action in their classrooms! Teachers Emily Stensland and Liz Foelske involved 6th-8th graders in cross-curricular activities for a unit that explored decisions about material possessionsClick to watch their video:


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.
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 standards for mathematics, literacy, science, and 21st Century Skills. Great ties to the new science standards, especially "Human Impacts on Earth Systems" and "Natural Resources." 
Click here for learning objectives. 
Requirements: The first five of six modules will be completed from June 12-July 26.  (You may work ahead in the course.)  In each module, the assignment will help you build your mini-unit.  By late July, 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 August 1 through November 15. 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 November 15.
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 discover and be problem-solvers. 
Contact Susan Salterberg to learn more (, 319-337-4816).
To enroll:  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. 
1.    Tuition/Fee -- $100; Class location: 100% online; Dates: June 12-November 15
7.    Class Nbr -- Undergraduate enter 31265; Graduate enter 31266; Title -- Enter Secret Lives of "Stuff"; Units of Credit -- Enter 1; Instructor -- Enter Salterberg              
8.    Indicate Undergraduate or Graduate credit
10.  List your previous degree information if taking the course for Graduate credit
18.  Click “I AGREE” to submit your Enrollment Form.  You will receive an automated reply saying it has been submitted. A limited number of spaces are available. Enrollments will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.


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 ProgramUNI EPSCOR and Iowa solid waste agencies and landfills.