As the population grows and more and more students are enrolled in schools, that also means more paper, energy, and other materials are needed to teach them. A lot of companies and businesses are choosing to go green and are finding cost-effective ways to save energy and implement the use of renewable and reusable materials. This is no different for classrooms. It is possible for teachers to go green as well as to get their students’ help in reducing their impact, while teaching them the importance of this along the way.
To help teachers discover creative and age-appropriate ways to incorporate green methods into their lesson plans, we have researched 100 amazing sites. These resources offer great lesson plans and activities for students from preschool to high school, and teach them how they can make an impact on the environment to keep it clean and free from waste. Find crafts, activities, PDFs and more, broken down by levels of education.
Great, Green Lesson Reads for the Classroom
- 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth
A classic, this book can show you and your classroom one green thing to do and why per week. The new edition is updated for the 2.0 generation. Its easy-to-do and kid-friendly projects show that kids can make a difference, and each chapter is packed with tons of links to groups and resources.
- Generation Green
If you need something for a more mature classroom, check out this book. It is a teen guide to living an eco-friendly life. Sivertsen and her teenage son draw on scientific findings, personal experience, and interviews with celebrities and teens to provide readers with environmentally responsible lifestyle alternatives, from organic cosmetics to natural kitchen cleaners to green career opportunities.
- Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming
Get a common sense guide to global warming for the classroom with this book. It contains loads of photos and illustrations, as well as suggestions for how kids can help combat global warming in their homes, schools, and communities.
- The Adventures of an Aluminum Can
Follow the adventures of this can as it goes through the journey of recycling. Completely told from the can’s perspective, it is fun while educational.
- The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle
In this sequel, the classroom now follows a plastic bottle on a recycling adventure. Peek into this diary of a plastic bottle as it goes on a journey from the refinery plant, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges as a fleece jacket.
- What’s It Like Living Green?
Read about a teenage girl who learned to drive with a car fueled by used cooking grease. Learn about a boy who raised funds to build his first well to provide clean water for a whole village when he was only seven years old. The book is full of simple ways to help the environment, help others, and even earn some money.
- Where Does the Garbage Go?
Because “the landfill” isn’t an answer and certainly not a great, green lesson, check out this book. It stands out for showing the way things were, are, and can be in the future.
- S is for Save the Planet
Get a lesson plan that is both green and alphabetical here. Each letter has its own accompanying poem introducing a tip for the environment.
- OK Go
Learn about the impact of cars and fossil fuels in this book. Pictures, poems, and more teach all about going green.
- Dawn Saves the Planet
If your classroom loves “The Baby Sitters Club,” read them this book. In it, environmentally conscious Dawn makes plans to construct a recycling center at her middle school, but soon all her hard work begins to keep her from paying attention to her friends.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Preschool Classroom
- Earth Day
Teach preschoolers about Earth Day no matter what the calendar says. A fun activity in four parts is shown.
- Earth Day Crafts
Get preschooled themed crafts by visiting here. They include an Earth, bracelet, bug, and more.
- Earth Song
Have a look at this song for preschoolers to sing. If they know “This Old Man” all that is needed is a lyric switch.
- Recycling Lesson Plan
Cognitive development activity for daycare is focused on here. Children learn the importance of recycling in an age appropriate activity.
- Art From Any Old Thing
Learn both recycling and art with this lesson plan. Different ages, levels, and grades are discussed.
- Recycle Relay
Grab materials such as plastic, paper, and newspaper for this green lesson plan. It was developed by the Hershey Early Childhood Center in Pennsylvania.
- Environment Clean Water
Students learn how to make their own clean water in this green lesson plan. Four steps and a few items are required.
- World Environment Day
Activities and crafts are featured in these preschool lesson plans. Choose from animals, forest, nutrition, and more.
- Environmental Education
Like the above, you can choose from dozens of lesson plans for the green minded classroom here. Animals, plants, water, weather, and careers are the categories to choose from.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Kindergarten Classroom
- Marvelous Motor Car
Show your green kindergarten classroom how to make a car that uses zero gas. All you need are a few milk boxes and household items.
- Earth Day Activities Book
Visit here for a free PDF coloring book for the green classroom. Activities, games, and more are included.
- Gardening Plant a Bulb
Be part of the solution in this green lesson plan. Students plant a bulb and learn as the plant grows.
- Letter Pencil Holder
Recycle household items to make this project. Imaginative students can make something truly amazing.
- 7 Ways to Use a Jelly Jar
Have your green students reuse their jelly jars in seven different ways in this lesson plan. They include glass, bouquet, display, organizer, and more.
- Nature Recycles Coloring Book
Get another free book as a PDF from this site. Coloring and recycling are the focus.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Grade School Classroom
- Thirstin’s Word Scramble Game
Visit here to get a word scramble game for the green classroom. Students have three chances to enter the correct word.
- Recycle City
Have students visit this town to get recycling. You can play it online or use the printer friendly version.
- Waste No Words
This crossword puzzle is provided for free by the EPA. Eleven across and nine down can teach the classroom a lot.
- Creative Design with CD’s
Gather all of those old and unused CD ROMS, blanks, and scratched disks to make something creative. A few ideas of what to do with them are discussed.
- Underwater Scope
Students learn to build a model that can see underwater in this lesson plan. Take it to a lake or stream to see the world underwater.
- 13 Ways to Use a Plastic Grocery Bag
They pile up at home, so have your students bring them in and use them in this lesson plan. Tips, activities, and more are shared.
- Plants Vocabulary Quiz
Put your green classroom to the test with this free quiz. Ten questions ask and answer simple parts of a plant’s anatomy.
- Leaf Printing
Ditch the paper and use leaves to print works of art in this lesson. Step by step instructions are given.
- Threatened and Endangered
Every species from bald eagle to whooping crane is featured here. Click on each to learn more.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Middle School Classroom
- Edible Aquifer
This green lesson plan will teach more about groundwater and where it comes from. The experiment shows you how groundwater is stored and how what we do above ground can affect the water underground.
- Staying Warm Winter Experiments
In another experiment from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, students learn about body heat and how to keep it in. You’ll need two soup bowls, a pitcher of tap water, and thermometer.
- Antibacterial Pollution
A lot of household products nowadays claim to be antibacterial—containing compounds that kill viruses, bacteria, and other germs on contact. But what happens to these compounds when they get washed down the drain? You’ll hear one worrisome possibility in this green lesson plan.
- Can the Chiru be Saved?
A small deer like animal, the chiru is endangered because it is hunted and killed for its luxurious wool. See how experts work to save it.
- Helping to Save the African Wild
The experts at National Geographic offer this green lesson plan. Students will learn about a geographic tool known as GIS, and about how it is assisting the conservation efforts of ecologically minded individuals such as Dr. Michael Fay and the environmentalists at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
- Biologist Quizzer
Find a quiz on biology with a green frame of mind by clicking here. Multiple choice is featured.
- Earth Simulator
This is the world’s most powerful computer. See what it does and how it can save the Earth by clicking on the lesson plan.
- Farmers and Pesticides
Modern pesticides have helped make farming far more productive. But they’ve also caused countless accidental poisonings. Now, a new study suggests that even the routine use of pesticides can pose serious health risks in the long run.
Green School Project offers this free lesson plan for the classroom. Students are taught to create an invention using only common items from the trash or recycling bin.
How does decomposition affect the Earth? Find out in this green lesson plan.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the High School Classroom
- Endangered Species
Stop here for expert information on the planet’s most endangered species. Causes and how to save them are all featured.
- A Look at the Population Density of the United States
This lesson plan focuses on the spatial distribution of the population density of the United States at different levels of scale. Geographers can “see the world in spatial terms” by using different scales of analysis such as local, state or province, national, and global.
- Darfur and the Janjaweed
In another entry from National Geographic, the lesson covers the current conflict between the people of Darfur and the Janjaweed militia, its historical and religious roots, its impact on neighboring countries, and the international response.
- Recycling Debate
Have the students divide up into groups to debate the recycling and waste management issue. Procedure and materials are discussed.
- Educational Resources
Waste Management is a leader in trash, recycling, and everything in between. They also offer educational resources for the classroom on everything from the anatomy of a landfill to waste-to-energy.
- Think Green
Go beyond your classroom and textbooks with fascinating, educational videos on the environmental issues facing our country and our planet today. There are also resources for other grades.
- Trash Pizza
It may be hard to imagine how much of each type of trash is buried in landfills, but it’s easier to visualize if students make a pie chart showing the percentages. The lesson plan creates a model by making a trash pizza covered with samples of the actual solid waste that is thrown away every day.
- How Landfills Work
Give your students the facts behind landfills here. Seven chapters show everything from how much trash to building a landfill.
- Teaching Plastics
Visit here to teach your high school students everything they ever wanted to know about plastics and more. Several lesson plans include the history, recycling, and conservation.
- Recycling Program
Students learn to develop, plan, implement, and market a recycling program for their school. Four steps are given.
- Acid Rain
This lesson plan discusses the phenomenon known as acid rain. Choose from several activities.
Great, Green PDF Lesson Plans for the Classroom
- Renewable Energy Proposal
Students research a type of renewable energy and write a proposal concerning it. Suggested for grades five through eight.
- Energy Everywhere
This green lesson plan teaches students more about energy. Younger students are shown the topic of energy and related vocabulary.
- Energy Conservation Through the Arts
Join art and science with the help of this green lesson plan. Students are taught the amount of energy and products that go into each work of art.
- ‘Sweet’ Power of the Sun
Solar energy is taught in this PDF lesson plan. The changing consistency of solids through solar power is taught.
- Solar Heat
More advanced students will enjoy this green lesson plan. It details how to build and test a solar oven.
- Wind Energy Activities and Worksheets
This free lesson plan is provided by GE Wind Energy. Learn more about the alternative energy source by downloading the PDF.
- Sustainability Project
Students will select an alternative energy source for home energy or for transportation energy. The project will be completed on a wiki where other students must review and answer questions.
- Green Worksheets
Get loads of PDF lesson plans from APS. Choose from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and biogass energy.
- ASE Lesson Plans
The Alliance to Save Energy has dozens of green lesson plans to view or download as PDFs. Choose from elementary, middle, and high school to get started.
Great, Green Climate Change Lesson Plans for the Classroom
- New Climate for Action
Learn more about climate change with this ten page download. Many basic questions are answered.
- Click It, Flip It
Stop here for a rap devoted to climate change. You can get the lyrics, download the MP3, or just listen.
- Teacher’s Guide
Get a guide to global warming just for teachers here. How to order a free kit is included at the bottom.
This lesson plan is a wheel for global warming. Students can view the wheel to see how much waste is contributing to global warming.
- Global Warming
Use the NOW Classroom standards-linked lesson on global warming to help students research and form credible opinions. This lesson is designed for social studies, debate, language arts, government/citizenship, and current events classes, grades nine through twelve
- Climate Curriculum
The World Wildlife Foundation provides these green lesson plans. Choose from climate change pretest, unique atmosphere, and more.
- Carbon Cycle Activity
Learn more about the carbon cycle in this green lesson plan. Students will be able to explain atoms and how they can be rearranged.
- EPA’s Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit
Use this tool to see how much their own school is contributing to climate change. Simply scroll down to the second item and click to get a zip file.
- For Students and Kids
The U.S. Department of Energy brings tools to students and teachers such as home energy audit and energy checkup. They also have fun facts with more.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Classroom to Reduce Impact
- Energy Hog Challenge
The Energy Hog Challenge is a set of classroom activities that guide children through lessons about different sources of energy, how we use energy at home, and how to bust energy hogs to save energy. Many tools are offered.
- Science Fair with an Energy Efficiency Flair
Get a greener science fair here. The objectives are to promote conserving energy to community, integrate energy conservation into an education curriculum, and allow local residents to recognize students’ progress.
- Non-hazardous Waste
Teach the facts on solid waste with this lesson plan. See which products accounts for over 30 percent of waste with a simple visit.
- Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
Practice what you preach by teaching kids more about waste reduction in their own schools. Over 40 pages of tips are featured.
- Paper University
Teach students all about one of the most common forms of waste in this lesson plan. Trees, recycling, and more are discussed.
- The Quest for Less
Activities and resources for Kindergarten through eighth grade are available here. Download the entire lesson or choose your chapter.
This EPA backed site has classroom activities and lessons available. Choose from a scavenger hunt, waste site, and lesson for each season of the year.
- Trash Goes to School
Green lesson plans are featured for Kindergarten through high school are offered here. There are also tools for waste management and “pre” cycling.
- Cool School Challenge
Learn more about the challenge and how your classroom can participate. The site offers a toolkit, calculator, and more.
Great, Green Online Lesson Plans for the Classroom
- Clean Sweep USA
Visit here to read three online stories for the green classroom. They include Taking Out the Trash, A Little Litter, and Beauty & The Goon.
- Green Technology
HowStuffWorks is a leading science site and takes a special look at green technology in this section. Current lessons include global warming, the Kyoto treaty, and much more.
- What on Earth?
Play this game from NASA for free here. Click on a category such as air, water, and land to begin asking students green related questions.
- The Water Cycle
This free video from the EPA gives classrooms a kid friendly way to explain the water cycle. Click on rain, water, vapor, or clouds to learn more.
- Identify This!
Have the whole classroom visit here to get stumped on animal trivia. A different animal is featured, along with a short bio.
- Green Glossary
Provided by Earth911, get a glossary for all your green terms here. There are also blog entries with more information.
- Trash Matcher
Have students match their trash on this site. Click on the type of waste materials listed to quickly find the art/recycling activities which call for them.
- Park Slideshows
These images are brought to you by the National Parks Conservation Association. Get a look at many popular national parks straight from the classroom.
- Go Green to Get Green
If your school has old electronic equipment, click here to learn the green way to deal with it. Tips for reducing, recycling, reusing, and even rethinking are given.
Great, Green Lesson Plans for the Teacher
- Recycling Program
Use this template to send a letter to parents announcing a recycling program. Simply print or edit it to your liking.
- Family Pledge
If your student wants to make a difference at home, check out this letter from the same site as the above. It is a pledge for the whole family to sign on reducing, reusing, and recycling.
- Crossword Puzzle Maker
Use this tool to create your own green crossword puzzle for the classroom. View samples or become a member for more.
- Calendar Generator
Teachers can use this free tool to make their own green minded calendar. Many options such as country, language, and more are included.
- Planet Pals Dictionary
Get a free, online dictionary that explains all the green terms in kid friendly language. Search from A to Z on one site.
- Web Elements
Click here for an online, interactive periodic table of elements. The table is also customizable to the needs of various teachers.
By simply clicking here you can get a basic online calculator. Simply type in what you need to get the value.
Get a more complex and bigger selection of calculators on this site. They include math, trig, probability, and more.
- Lesson Planner
Use this tool to create your very own green lesson plan. You can create, edit, and store all on one site.