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Environmental Education: An Appealing Pathway to Project-Based Guided Investigations (January 2023): Organized Programs, Lessons, and Materials

By Stephen T. Schroth and Janese Daniels

Organized Programs, Lessons, and Materials

A variety of prepared materials exist for teachers, administrators, and school programs looking to devote instructional time to environmental and sustainability education. These materials offer the advantage of collecting a series of lessons or investigations in one place, providing a template for study, which the individual classroom teacher may modify, and a common language for use by several teachers working together or an entire faculty seeking to begin such work with their students. Materials exist to serve all grade levels, from pre-K through the undergraduate level, making the selection of such materials easy and convenient.

Some of the options available for younger children include Schroth and Daniels’s Growing Up Green (suitable for K–2 students); Inside-Out by Robert Blake and others for students in grades 3–5; and Ellen Doris’s Doing What Scientists Do. Also of value are the three separate volumes produced by John Van de Walle and his coauthors focusing respectively on children in grades pre-K–2, 3–5, and 6–8, brought together under the main title Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics. Additional resources include Joseph Lease’s edited collection Climate Consciousness and Environmental Activism in Composition, as well as Making Shift Happen by Nya Van Leuvan et al. and Rob Greenfield’s Zero Waste Kids.

Those looking for more hands-on projects might consider Kaci Rae Christopher’s The School Garden Curriculum or the activity guides published by Project Learning Tree, Pre K–8 Environmental Education Activity Guide and Explore Your Environment. A similarly active approach can be applied with slightly older children as well, as Michael Roa outlines in his Environmental Science Activities Kit. Another excellent resource for older students is Environmental Education for Grades 6–12 by James Fester and Jorge Valenzuela. Educators seeking a comprehensive resource including activities that may be employed with all students up to college may find Project WILD K–12 Curriculum & Activity Guide, published by the Council for Environmental Education, to be efficacious. For hands-on learning that is firmly rooted in students’ own communities, The Power of Place by Tom Vander Ark, Emily Liebtag, and Nate McClennan is a notable resource, as is Place-Based Education by David Sobel.

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