Are your students aware of the environment and their impact on it? This can be a challenging topic to cover in a positive way, but with the right resources, you can lay the foundation for a lifetime of living in a “green” way. Whether you’re prepping for Earth Day activities or just want to have a little bit of an environmental focus to your classroom, these activities will get you started.
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Preschool students learn best through positive, hands-on instruction. Consider these resources.
- Indiana.gov Recycling Lesson Plan for Preschoolers. We’re never too young to learn how to recycle. This lesson plan from the State of Indiana will teach even the youngest students how and where to properly recycle their waste.
- Preschool Plan It Earth Day Preschool Activities. Earth day is a great time to teach young students about going green, and Preschool Plan It has a lengthy list of art, circle time and learning time activities to use on this special day in April.
- Everything Preschool Recycling Theme. Create an entire unit on recycling with songs, art, book recommendations, games, science, coloring pages and more from Everything Preschool. All activities on this page are related to recycling.
- Preschool Recycled Crafts Activities from Education.com. Turn trash into treasure by teaching kids to reduce and reuse through arts and crafts. Find activities for making fun crafts from just about any recycling item you have in your classroom.
- Preschool Learning Online Recycling Theme for Kids. This five-day unit on recycling teaches children how to recycle and the importance of recycling. It includes ideas for games, dramatic play, art activities and discussion time activities.
- First-School.ws Environmental Education Preschool Activities and Crafts. Teach sustainability and environmental education to preschoolers with the hands-on activities on this page.
- Preschool Learning and Crafts Earth Day Activities. While the focus of this page is on Earth Day, the lessons and activities could be used year-round to create a focus on being good to the environment.
- Going Green in Early Childhood Education. This resource list from The Seeds Network is quite extensive, and includes both lesson plan and activity ideas as well as funding and grants for “green” initiatives in the classroom and school.
- New York State Environmental Lesson Plans. A list of PDF lesson plans from New York State for early learners that cover soils, water, nature study and animals.
- Education World Earth Day Lesson Plans. Learn about the environment on Earth Day with these resources and activities from Education World.
Take advantage of the excitement for learning that kindergarten students usually have with these eco-friendly activities.
- Environmental Education for Kids. Teaching kids about the environment early is important, and this hands-on lesson plan will give kindergarteners a great start on learning about the world around them.
- 20 Easy and Free Activities for Earth Day. Celebrate Earth Day in your kindergarten with these easy activities from Your Green Classroom.
- Inspiring Kids to Go Green at School. Get kids excited about being eco-friendly in your kindergarten with these tips from a seasoned kindergarten teacher.
- 10 Recycling Art Projects. Hands on As We Grow lets kids get creative as they reuse their waste with 10 hands-on art projects that are great in the kindergarten classroom.
- HotChalk Earth Day Lesson Plans. Learn more about Earth Day and the environment with your kindergarten class using the lessons in this comprehensive list.
- Celebrate Earth Day. Scholastic offers a list of activities and ideas to help your kindergarten class celebrate Earth Day well.
- TinkerLab 50 Earth Day Activities. You’ll never run out of things to do on Earth Day if you keep this list handy! Find 50 hands-on activities to tackle on Earth Day.
- Kindergarten Earth Day Activities from Education.com. From taking a nature hunt to growing your own garden with some old socks, these activities will connect kids with nature to get your kindergarteners excited about going green.
- Our Class, Our Earth. From Learning to Give, this lesson plan is geared specifically towards kindergarten students to serve as an introduction to the realities of green living and the need to protect the environment.
- Eco Kids Kindergarten Activities. Six different lesson plans for kindergarteners that focus on going green.
In elementary, students are ready to take a little responsibility for their impact on the enviornment, so give them the right tools with these lessons and activities:
- TeacherVision “Green” Activities & Classroom Resources. This comprehensive list of resources covers everything from Dr. Suess’s The Lorax book to how to reduce waste and even celebrating Buy Nothing Day in November. A wide range of ages is covered.
- Masters in Education: 100 Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Classroom. This site covers 100 different lessons on eco-friendly topics including green living, recycling and saving energy, with a wide range of ages covered.
- EEKO World PBS Kids Lesson Plans. With fifteen lesson plans for grades K5 through 4th grade, this resource covers everything from recycling to air pollution in an age-appropriate way that involves hands-on learning when possible.
- Lesson Plans for Teaching Sustainability. With activities for all grade levels, including an extensive section for elementary, Teach for America offers a list of resources for teaching about the concept of sustainability, grade-by-grade.
- Teaching Ideas: The Environment. This page has a number of colorful and interactive activities to teach kids about energy, waste, recycling and the environment.
- Educemic: Go Green in Your Classroom. Find 16 different resources outlining ways to “go green” in your modern elementary classroom.
- Mr. Nussbaum Go Green! Interactive, printable and hands-on activities, including e-books and computer modules, on environmental topics for elementary grades.
- Be a Green Kid. KidsHealth talks to kids about how to be green. This is a great resource to add to any earth-friendly unit in your elementary school classroom.
- 10 Ways to Go Green at School. This article from Scholastic.com helps teachers and kids find ways to “green” up their classrooms and schools.
- NEA Earth Day Curriculum and Resources. Aimed at grades K-5, this list offers a complete look at the environment with a focus on Earth Day activities.
Let your middle school students start thinking more critically about the need for green living.
- Teach Green Environment Lesson Plans. Teach middle school students about the earth and how to protect it with these lesson plans from Teach-Nology.
- EPA Learning and Teaching About the Environment. Resources for students, teachers and administration that talk about all aspects of protecting the environment directly from the EPA.
- NEA Earth Day Curriculum Resources for Grades 6-8. The National Education Association has a number of lesson plans for middle school students on Earth Day and environmental topics.
- Start Recycling Today! This lesson plan PDF from Recommunity.com encourages middle school students to think twice before throwing something in the trash.
- Garbage Dreams Lesson Plan. The movie Garbage Dreams can be a powerful tool in the classroom, and this lesson plan from PBS will help you make the most out of a showing of this eco-friendly movie.
- Earth Day Lesson Plans. An archive of lesson plans on Earth Day and eco-friendly topics from EducationWorld.com.
- Resourceful Schools. A collection of lesson plans from Saint Louis Count, Missouri’s Public Health department on going green.
- Water Case Study. The National Wildlife Foundation takes a look at how one middle school was able to take measures to save water, even on a tight budget.
- 50 Ways to Go Green in the Classroom. The Gilfus Education Group discusses various ways to “go green” in the classroom. This list includes a number of practical and hands-on activities that would be great for middle school students.
- The Lunch Line with Recycling in Mind. This lesson gets kids thinking about what they could do at lunchtime to reduce their waste.
In high school, students should start thinking critically about what needs to be done, both now and in the future, to protect the environment for the next generation.
- EPA Environmental Lesson Plans. While this lesson plan resource covers all ages, it has a large number of lessons and activities for high school students specifically that look a little more deeply at the realities of pollution and environmental hazards.
- Spare the Air Youth Lesson Plans. A closer look at air pollution and how to take measures to reduce it, with a focus on what teens can do.
- Go for the Green. This lesson from Population Education is designed for AP Environmental Science classrooms and helps students think critically when making decisions about actions that would affect the environment.
- Teaching Green: 100 Tips, Tools & Resources for Every Kind of Classroom. This list has a number of resources and ideas for high school teachers and students, as well as students in other grade levels.
- Business Going Green. In this business-themed lesson plan, students will learn how going green is actually beneficial not just for the environment, but also for businesses.
- Earthwatch Institute: Environment Lesson Plans. Learn everything from forest ecology and biodiversity to the importance and practicality of recycling in this comprehensive list of educational resources from educators on Earthwatch Institute.
- Ecology Lesson Plans. These high school lesson plans are free to download and cover everything from acid rain and global warming to the growth and impact of the population on the environment.
- No Impact Lesson Plan Curriculum. The No Impact Project teaches people how to lower their environmental impact. The organization has an Environmental Education Curriculum that is designed to teach high school students about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it.
- Environmental Science Lessons from TED-Ed. Use the popular TED-Ed videos in your classroom with this comprehensive list on talks surrounding the environment and environmental issues.
- University of Toronto Environmental & Sustainability Education Activities and Lesson Plans. Lesson plans, games and activities compiled by the Environmental and Sustainability Education department of the University of Toronto.