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Teaching Students to Go Green
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Teaching Students to Go Green


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Grade Level Grades 3-5
Resource Type Lesson Plan

About This Lesson

By elementary school, children are aware of their community but may not know how they can have an impact on it. This makes it the ideal time to teach about going green. Start with the fundamentals, including the Three Rs and renewable energy, to help your students understand how to be environmentally conscientious members of their community. 

The Three R’s 

The easiest way to get students excited about going green is by helping them see on a personal level their impact on the climate. Start by reviewing the Three R's. Explain to your students their role in reducing pollution and conserving resources. Have them keep track of what they throw away for a whole week, in the meantime plan activities that reinforce the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. By the end of the week, go through their listed garbage and discuss alternatives to simply throwing in the trash. Finally, set up recycling bins in the classroom so the lesson can continue throughout the year. 

Solar Energy  

Once your students understand how they impact their environment every day, start talking about renewable energy. Begin by explaining what it is and how it impacts the environment. By elementary school, most students have a basic understanding of the sun and its potential as a source of energy. Then you can discuss Fresno solar energy panels, reviewing how solar energy can be stored for use later. To help them understand this, have them create mason jar solar lights. Small solar lights for this craft are readily available at most hardware stores. Have your students decorate these lights to take home and use for a reminder of solar energy and its value. 


Now that your students have a fundamental idea of green energy, you can move onto hydroelectricity. This is a great opportunity to include STEM lessons into your classroom, as dams are one of the most common sources of hydro energy. Start by asking your students about water and its strength. You can use a waterfall or even the Grand Canyon to explain the power of water. You can then have them create a waterwheel using household items like a plastic bottle, rubber bands and index cards. Don't forget to include how this sort of design can be used in dams. If possible, try to see if you can schedule a trip to a local dam or other water features for students to see how powerful water can be.   

Wind Power

As you complete your lessons on alternative energy resources, discuss wind energy and its potential as a green power source. Start with lessons on tornadoes and hurricanes, to give real-life examples of the power of the wind. Once they understand the wind's strength, have them try wind activities to demonstrate different ways wind can be used. For example, they can create a pinwheel, design a sailboat or even a wind-powered vehicle. This will help them see real-life examples of wind as a source of energy. After this, take the time to review the benefits and challenges of wind as a renewable resource. 

GLOBE Program 

Finally, enroll your school in the GLOBE Program, or Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. This program is a government-funded service with the mission to promote the education of environmental science. Once enrolled, your students can participate in educational activities and events locally and globally. These activities include daily tasks, like weather monitoring, and larger events, including opportunities to interact with leaders in the fight against climate change. Not only will your students be putting in data, but they will also have access to information about weather and climate patterns from around the world.    

No matter how you approach going green, make sure your students understand how they can make a difference. Help them as they learn to apply what they learn to their daily life, so they can take these lessons with them into the world.



Teaching Students to Go Green (1).docx

Lesson Plan
June 5, 2020
8.41 KB


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