Think Green, Act Green: Classroom Lessons and Teacher Resources for Sustainability

  • Classroom with teacher demonstrating recycling

    Go Green Challenge
    The Go Green Challenge is a district-wide program that encourages sustainable behavior and increases participation in environmental programs. The ultimate goal is to provide measurable actions for classrooms and office spaces to take. Resources are provided to ensure all actions can be taken. The winners of the challenge participate in the most actions and can prove the results.

    > Download the Go Green Challenge Checklist
    > Elementary School Checklist
    > Middle School Checklist
    > Office Staff Checklist


    District Waste Signage for Recycling, Compost and Landfill:

    Please use this signage to label all recycling, landfill and compost bins.
    DOWNLOAD SIGNS HERE

    Landfill, recycling and organics signs for classrooms



    Classroom Energy Checklists

    Energy Detective Program

    Get Certified! Learn how to earn a Sustainable Classroom Certificate. Contact the Sustainability Coordinator

    Get Educated! Invite the Sustainability Coordinator to your classroom to teach a lesson.


    Resource database: Below are links to activities and lesson plans to integrate into the curriculum and activities. These links are from a variety of sources, including EPA, NGSS, NOAA, SCE , Eco literacy Foundations and a variety of non-profits.

    GENERATION EARTH ACTION TOOLKITS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION:

    Teacher Action Guide
    Waste Reduction & Recycling Guide
    Water Pollution & Prevention

    WATER:

    District Water Conservation Action Booklet: Santa Monica
    District Water Conservation Action Booklet: Malibu

    ATMOSPHERE, AIR, SPACE:

    NOAA: Explore NOAA data collected around the globe in formats designed just for educators. These resources take information from our atmosphere and ocean and package it in easily accessible, classroom-friendly lesson plans, activities, and curricula.

    NASA's Climate Kids
    Geared toward students, the multimedia-rich Climate Kids site uses games, humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.
    Grades: K-12

    Acid Rain Student Pages
    Find the acid rain student pages, as well as general information for older students or adults.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plans and experiments:
    Acid Rain Teacher's Guide for Grades 6-8 (PDF 56 pp, 5 MB)

    Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
    This EPA page provides information on indoor air quality in school buildings and how to order the Tools for Schools Action Kit. The kit shows how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air quality at little or no cost using common-sense activities and in-house staff.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Noise Pollution for Kids (PDF 15 pp, 6.54 MB)
    This EPA booklet for your students will teach you how to identify which sounds are loud and ways to protect your hearing and health.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Activity book

    Particulate Matter (PM) Air Sensor Kits
    Particle pollution known as particulate matter (PM) is one of the major air pollutants regulated by EPA to protect public health and the environment. A PM air sensor kit has been developed by EPA researchers as an educational tool to teach children about air quality and air science.
    Grades: 5-12
    Type of Resource: Hands-on activity guide

    Basic Ozone Layer Science
    Find a straightforward explanation of the ozone layer and ozone depletion.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
    A brief introduction to the 1990 version of the Clean Air Act, to help you understand what is in the law and how it may affect you.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Booklet

    WILDLIFE:

    Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit: A toolkit for formal and informal educators
    EPA, in partnership with the National Park Service and with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a kit for use when talking with the public about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands.
    Grades: All
    https://www.globalchange.gov/browse/educators/wildlife-wildlands-toolkit

    Fish and Wildlife Service's Let's Go Outside Educator Materials
    Why take your students outside? Simply put…because it can improve both classroom learning and classroom behavior. There is no doubt that as a teacher, you get pulled in many directions as you try to offer your students the best possible educational opportunities. It is a balancing act – you have to make some tough choices about how your students spend their time. Learn more about the Schoolyard Habitat Program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Teachers on the Public Lands/ Hands on the Land
    The teachers work at Hands on the Land sites, where they observe BLM resource management first-hand and develop lesson plans that BLM employees, teachers, and community volunteers can use in the future.
    Grades: All
    Type of Resource: Website

    U.S. Forest Service Education Toolbox
    The Educator Toolbox from the U.S. Forest Service is jam-packed with helpful resources to make your challenging job just a little easier. Here you will find background resources to help you understand forests and grasslands, professional development opportunities and resources, and a collection of great materials and programs organized by grade-level.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Wildlife Fact Sheets
    From the Fish and Wildlife Service, basic information about species of regular public interest. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the factsheets.
    Grades: 9-12

    National Wetlands Research Center
    This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
    Grades: 9-12

    TREES:

    Tree People Non-profit

    Save the Redwoods Lessons

    Forestry Challenge

    One Tree Planted


    U.S. Forest Service Education Toolbox
    The Educator Toolbox from the U.S. Forest Service is jam-packed with helpful resources to make your challenging job just a little easier. Here you will find background resources to help you understand forests and grasslands, professional development opportunities and resources, and a collection of great materials and programs organized by grade-level.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Forests Lesson Plan
    A lesson plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Grades: K-5
    Subtopic: ecosystem
    Type of Resource: Lesson Plan

    ECO-LITERACY/NGSS/STEM:

    NGSS The CA Science Framework highlights that a Key Instructional Shift for the CA NGSS is instruction that is “Relevant to local communities and student interests. Content and skills build on students’ existing experience to learn about and solve real-world problems.”(Chapter 1, Page 8). This relevant context allows all students to have a common foundation to construct science knowledge upon. Science experts and local environmental educators in California are supporting teachers to connect their classroom instruction to the environmental phenomena in the region. Visit the NGSS Resource site for a large library of classroom lessons: https://ngss.sdcoe.net/Environmental-Literacy/Environmental-Literacy-Resources

    California Science

    California Parks and Recreation

    Environmental Education Toolkit

    ENERGY:

    Energy Kids: Using & Saving Energy

    Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kids Home Page
    Kids Saving Energy. Games tips and facts for kids who want to save energy.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Website

    Department of Energy Educator Resources
    Find the complete set of lesson plans, student competitions, workbooks, videos and more from the Department of Energy.
    Grades: k-12
    Type of resource: Website

    ENERGY STAR Kids
    Students can learn to use energy wisely and be an energy star. Find related publications for download and order.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: website

    Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: High School
    This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels, and how to calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: Middle School
    This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels and calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
    Grades: 5-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Generate! Game
    An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
    Grades: 6-12
    Type of Resource: Board game and teacher guides.

    Join the Lorax
    From the ENERGY STAR program, familiar characters like the Lorax will help students understand energy efficiency and how to use energy wisely. Download the accompanying activity book.
    Type of Resource: Website and activity book.

    WASTE:

    Pack a Waste Free Lunch
    Find easy ways to encourage students (and parents) to reduce waste at lunchtime.
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Life of a Soccer Ball
    Help your students explore the lifecycle of a familiar object, from how it's made to ideas for extending it's life in new ways.
    Type of Resource: Poster/Flyer

    Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
    This document describes how people can help solve a growing problem...garbage!
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Pollution Prevention Toolbox
    The toolbox contains a series of four-page lesson plans on various pollution prevention concepts for schools.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    The Quest for Less: Activities and Resources for Teaching K-8
    Use this resource to develop lesson plans, incorporate a range of activities into various subject areas throughout the school year.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects (PDF 245K, 16 pp)
    Resource booklet designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects en Español (PDF 223K, 16 pp)
    Resource booklet in Spanish designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Superfund Basics
    This page provides an overview of the Superfund program, highlights key steps in the Superfund cleanup process, explains how the program is enforced, describes EPA's Superfund offices, and links to other EPA hazardous-waste programs.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
    EPA's Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools helps your school and school district reduce the amount of waste you generate. You'll learn how to start a waste reduction program or expand an existing one. The guide will show you how your program can benefit your school, your community, and the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your waste.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    GARDEN EDUCATION:

    Bloom Database