Schools waste an average of 4.7 pounds of waste per person every day. Being environmentally conscious is something that deserves more than a day, or week, in a school year. As far as kids are concerned, every day should be Earth Day. Through both learning and experience, we must help our children develop a connection to the environment, for the future of our planet will rest on their shoulders.
Green classrooms and schools can equip students with the knowledge and resources needed to make an impact. From hands-on projects to personal responsibility, the below 10 resources and ideas will help you inspire your students to make the world a little greener.
1. Upcycle Art
Ask students to bring in old magazines, books, plastic bottles and bottle caps, or cd’s and set your class loose to use their imagination to create both functional and artistic crafts. Explore Pinterest for recycled craft ideas.
2. Hold an Unplugged Hour
Teach students about their carbon footprint and begin planning an unplugged hour where you turn the lights off and use no electricity during a lesson.
3. Maximize Technology
Create a classroom website and encourage students to submit papers online, offer parents a way to digitally sign forms, and create a digital library where important documents can be stored.
4. Adopt a Classroom Plant (or a few)
Improve air quality by bringing in a spider plant or peace lily. Try a venus fly trap to provide some entertainment or watch an amaryllis bulb grow and track the progress.
5. Minimize Paper
Always print double-sided and decrease margin size whenever possible. Additionally, encourage students to save paper that has blank backsides and can be later be used as scrap paper.
6. Take PD Online
Minimize your schools carbon footprint by skipping the travel of speakers and energy costs of inservice days and take teacher professional development online through author developed Learning Paths or by creating personalized courses.
7. Host a Neighborhood Clean-up
Have your school host a neighborhood clean-up. Teach students about the negative effects of littering and then head out into the community to clean up parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks.
8. Take a Nature Walk
Take a walk down a nature path, around the school, or at a national park and ask students to collect leaves from trees or plants. Once back in your classroom, have your class create a leaf project identifying the leaves collected.
9. Turn Off the Water
Have students keep a water log to track how many times, and for how long, they use water to wash dishes, brush teeth, wash hands, etc. Offer students tips on how to decrease water consumption and award prizes to students who decrease consumption throughout the year.
10. Create a Recycling Center
If your school doesn’t recycle, start a petition to encourage your school to set up recycling centers and start your own classroom recycling center in the meantime. Sort and recycle paper, plastic, and cans.