Parents and Educators: find resources for at-home and distance learning


How can our school be green?
30 minutes

Kindergarten / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12
Environmental Education

Green school (n): a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, school staff member, student, or community volunteer, you want your school to provide a healthy, welcoming place to learn. The important effort of running greener schools needs action from everyone in the school community, and sometimes the scale of the task can make it hard to know where the start. Follow these 12 simple priority actions from the Center for Green Schools to help make your school healthy, efficient, comfortable and environmentally responsible.

This lesson provides resources and suggestions of actions to make your school a green school. Included Action Checklists:

1: Find your superstars
2: Ready, set – wait, which bin do I put this in?
3: What’s a watt?
4: Go behind the scenes
5: Put the kids in charge
6: Hey, what’s this thing do?
7: You are what you eat…and recycle, throw away and compost…
8: Let the Sun Shine In
9: You know it’s dust, but what IS it?
10: No really, what is that smell?
11: Lights out!
12: Carpooling – jump in, the water’s fine!

Checklists include:
- First steps to getting started
- Resources to support your actions
- Related lessons in Learning Lab to dive deeper into topics

180 minutes

6 / 7 / 8
Reading or Language Arts

Students use their school and/or community as the context for learning about the Commons. They explore what defines a Commons, categorize spaces and things as examples, and walk their community to discover its visible and hidden Commons. Finally, students select one Commons to focus on, and create a “State of the Commons” report as a way of increasing school and/or community awareness about the Commons.

100 minutes

5 / 6 / 7 / 8

In this lesson, students explore the ways in which humans use hydropower to fuel society. First, they learn how we harness hydropower to generate electricity, and then they build a hydropaddle to simulate a turbine. Next, they examine the pros and cons of hydropower by choosing an issue, conducting an investigative analysis to discover a story of real-life impact, and sharing that story with the class. Students also reflect upon why facts alone are often not enough to communicate the importance of sustainability issues; asking questions and doing research can often lead to surprising changes in perspective and new understandings.

150 minutes

6 / 7 / 8

In this lesson, students learn about alternatives to fossil-fuel energy resources. They take on a challenge from the community’s “mayor” to serve on an Energy Task Force and research whether the most common alternative energy resources are appropriate for their community. Working in groups, they research five alternative energy sources and present their findings to the mayor. Then the groups evaluate the experience and the implications that each of these technologies has for both their local community and the larger global community.

50 minutes

7 / 8
Civics and Government

In this lesson, students consider the various ways we illuminate our world. They conduct a scientific experiment to determine how much thermal energy various types of lightbulbs emit and consider the pros and cons of each light source. When they see that some types of bulbs are far more energy efficient than others, they consider the environmental implications of those more efficient options—hazardous waste. As students review the cost, energy use, lifespan, and disposal requirements of different kinds of bulbs, they learn that making thoughtful, considered choices about the products we use is an important aspect of sustainable intelligence.

90 minutes

6 / 7 / 8
Mathematics, Science

In this lesson, students learn that framing our energy habits and choices in terms of a “carbon footprint” can help us understand our individual impact on the global environment. They conduct a personal eco-audit to investigate how their own energy usage results in carbon being released into the atmosphere. After tracking their habits for one 24-hour period, students calculate their personal carbon footprint and then compare the results to averages for other countries and communities. As students frame their choices in a global context and come to understand the importance of making sustainable choices for a healthier future, they also look for ways to support each other and create exciting and innovative changes for the future.

30 minutes

6 / 7 / 8

By now students have collected a drawing or photograph of the meter(s) they will be tracking. Getting an initial reading correct sets students up for being able to collect accurate and meaningful data. But, few of us are trained meter readers. Therefore, this mission provides students an interactive, and non-intimidating, way to learn make a first accurate reading of their unique meter. Students will be successful thanks to lots of examples, by working together with their peers, and even the ability to get their reading verified by an expert.

45 minutes

6 / 7 / 8

This activity is designed to hook students by making this water and energy investigation personal, and centered on comparing predicted vs. actual consumption. By students beginning listing their daily water/energy uses and how much is consumed every day, this lesson begins student’s exploration into their personal water/energy consumption and how it can be measured and recorded.

Students then reflect on their own home and predict how their water and energy consumption compares to the “average” usage. After a discussion on their predictions, students utilize leading online water and energy calculators to find out their home’s estimated use. This sets students up to compare their estimated use with their own measurements of their home’s real consumption.