AV2 Books harnesses the Internet to maximize learning in Build Green, one of five books in the Being Green educational series. Build Green is written at a fifth-grade reading level, and will hold the interest of fourth through sixth graders. The hardback book is merely the introduction to green building basics and associated science concepts. Each section in the book, while only boasting two pages discussing topics such as reducing water in buildings, green standards in building green, and even careers in green building, is like a door into a small library of information about the subject matter. The book’s introduction directs students to the AV2 website, where children not only study the book page by page online, but can also choose to have the text read out loud, watch videos that expound on concepts, complete follow-up assignments after studying each section, take a quiz, look up key words, and find links to additional resources.
This book and its online counterpart will appeal to a variety of learners, from home-schooled children to those learning in a traditional classroom. While the book appears thin and unassuming, the information inside is substantial, and the online format keeps kids engaged. One of the best aspects of the book is the follow-up activities associated with each section, which require learners to apply the concepts in the book to their own daily life. For example, the activity corresponding with the Energy Efficient section asks the student to do a mini energy audit of her own home, and to think critically about why energy use may vary from month to month. The activity ends by having the student think of ways to reduce energy use over time. Another major plus to this learning system is the way it lends itself to self-directed learning while still being an excellent tool for use in a classroom setting directed by a teacher.
While this type of online learning model requires access to the Internet and excludes families with little or no internet access, most American children will likely benefit from using this and other books in this series, which include Eat Green, Green Ideas, Green Power, Reduce Waste, and Travel Green. This book and others like it are a must-have in any learning program that seeks to give children an integrated education focused on critical thinking and applying lessons to real-world situations.