Movements in Indiana towards sustainability have been remarkable over the past decade. Indiana adopted municipal-recycling goal of 50-percent in 2014 (The State of Indiana). The number of  public electric vehicle charging stations expanded to 162 (The State of Indiana). More than 100 communities have been working to reduce their combined sewer overflows to tackle water pollution in the Hoosier state (NPR). The wind energy industry has grown from virtually nonexistent in 2007 to the 13th in the nation as of April 2020. Furthermore, a solar power plant built at the Indianapolis International Airport in 2014 was the largest airport solar farm in the world.

However, its growth has been hindered partially due to lack of education.  In particular, such trends in advanced energy businesses, which employed 90,600 in Indiana in 2019, are prominent. According to Advanced Energy Job in Indiana prepared by the Indiana Advanced Energy Economy, about one-fourth of advanced energy firms have had hard time finding new employees due to lack of education.

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Think Environment in Math was created and designed to enhance both academic achievement and understanding of environmental challenges of elementary students (grade 1-5) in Southwest Indiana.

While traditional educational materials on either environmental issues or existing core subject areas have provided information on their focuses, Think Environment in Math is a marriage of those independently existing subject areas and integrates environmental subjects into one of the most important core subjects–mathematics. Using the latest data from credible sources, including, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the State of Indiana, Think Environment in Math provides our young people great opportunities to enhance their skills to analyze and evaluate fact-based data and stimulate their independent thinking.

It also centers on local environmental problems and local environmental protection efforts in Southwest Indiana and makes up for disadvantages of using traditional educational materials that generalize local environmental problems.

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Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the future looks extremely unpredictable. I strongly hope that Think Environment in Math helps our young people make informed decisions. take responsible action, and gain essential skills to thrive in the new age of uncertainty.

July 2020

Author of Think Environmental Math

Hideka Yamaguchi, Ph.D.

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PPT Presentation

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