Summer is in sight—and this year, educators have two reasons to be excited: well-deserved time off and the 2021 Green Schools Conference, taking place online June 28–29.
To help you prepare to make the most of the conference, we’ve compiled lessons from Learning Lab that address a few of the priority topics identified at the recent Green Schools Summit for Educators. Each lesson uses hands-on activities to engage students in the sustainability-themed topics and can be modified for virtual learning.
These lessons can be implemented during Earth Month in April or when the weather is nice in May and June, and they’ll even help you get ready to discuss these topics with your peers in late June.
Health and well-being in schools
- Grades K–2: 9 Minute Nutrition Ninja, created by Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners. Choose any food-focused lesson to enter a discussion on that food's nutrition, food group and use in recipes. Students expand their palate for whole foods by tasting the food together.
- Grades 6–8: Climate Impact, created by The Energy Coalition. Students discover what public health issues are present in their communities and discuss potential solutions. The lesson ends with students designing a public health survey to be implemented and analyzed.
- Grades 9–12: The Cloud Factory, authored by Roots of Success. Learn about Marisol Becerra, a young woman from Chicago’s “Little Village” who fought to shut down a nearby power plant that caused her sister’s asthma. Linked to topics of equity and climate change, this lesson is a great way to talk about air quality and climate justice.
Creating equitable and eco-friendly public spaces
- Grades 3–4: Many Types of Public Spaces, created by EcoRise. Go on a virtual tour of indoor and outdoor public spaces with your students to build awareness on community resources and the purpose they serve in the lives of individuals and communities.
- Grades 7–8: Eco-Activity: Reflecting on Public Spaces, created by EcoRise. In this lesson, students gain an appreciation for the public spaces that have impacted their lives and conduct an analysis on the aspects of these spaces that work well. End the lesson by outlining ideas for improving the community’s public spaces.
- Grades 9–12: Building Eco-Friendly Communities, authored by Dream in Green. Students explore and create a scale drawing of their community and make suggestions to improve both its natural and human-made features.
Designing for climate change
- Grades 3–5: Seeking out the Carbon Creep, authored by TurfMutt. In this lesson, students are introduced to the topic of global warming and identify its source as increased carbon in our atmosphere. Based on their knowledge of plants and carbon dioxide, students suggest opportunities to assess plants in their neighborhood.
- Grades 6–8: Make an Impact, created by The Energy Coalition. Host an honest conversation and working group around the concept of climate change. After having an open dialogue about their prior knowledge and feelings about climate change, students design a diagram of a solution to a climate or environmental issue.
- Grades 9–12: Understanding Climate Change Lessons 1-6, created by The Nature Conservancy. This six-part lesson addresses climate change through an exploration into the science, current and potential impacts, and ongoing mitigation and prevention efforts.