Curriculum for Bringing the GLS Back to School

plant_01After your class visits the Green Learning Station, you have the opportunity to focus on some aspect of your school’s functionality, conduct research about it, develop a plan for improving its environmental impact and taking action towards that plan. Once you have worked through the planning process, you can apply for $500 worth of materials through our Sustainability Action Grant program.

Specific lesson plans for the three strands (stormwater, food systems and solid waste) are available in this section of the website and can also be sent to you as a CD or in a printed binder. Please contact the Program Manager to request a copy.

The starting point for the curriculum is asking your students to think through what they learned at the Green Learning Station and how that applies to their school. There are some focusing questions on the back of the Student Field Book and in the lesson below.

Choosing a Focus

Goal: Work as a group to determine which focus area class will pursue in the Green Learning Station curriculum.

Objectives: Students will…

  • Brainstorm sustainability issues on their school campus
  • Express their interest in different issues
  • Reflect on their experience at the GLS

Materials: surface for recording brainstorm, field books

Advance Preparation: attend GLS field trip, talk to principal about any limitation to action projects

5 min Warm-up
10 min Sharing thoughts
15 min Project brainstorm
10 min Coming to consensus
(Optional: Assign stormwater research topics for homework)*

This lesson is best suited to the first class time after attending the GLS field trip so the experience is fresh in students’ minds.

Instructional Plan

Warm-up: Students spend 5 minutes silently responding to the questions below.

  • List two new things you learned at the GLS.
  • Which experiment/station did you find most interesting? Why?
  • What do you see as the most significant environmental issue on our school campus?
  • Explain why you would prefer to investigate one of the following systems at our school: storm water, waste, energy or food systems.

Arrange students in a configuration well suited to brainstorm and conversation (a circle works well if you have space for it).

Ask students to share their responses to the questions by going through one question at a time and providing students ample time to volunteer their thoughts. Record their responses to #3 on the board. Try to get everyone to voice their opinion on #4 and take a preliminary tally.

Explain that the next phase in the GLS project is going to be to investigate a system at your school that could use improving to make it more sustainable.

Assuming there is not a clear consensus on which system students would like to investigate, make a heading for each option on the board and brainstorm what it might look like to investigate, plan and take action on each system. Ask students to think through what is already happening on campus (ex. recycling efforts, where stormwater goes, fresh foods served, etc) and what could be improved.

After this exercise, have students express their interest level again. If no clear consensus emerges, ask students how they would like to decide on a project (direct vote, those who feel strongly about it make the case for their project and try to convince those who are not as passionate, teacher or other decision maker decides). It might be helpful at this point to share any limitations you have discussed with the principal that might make one project easier to accomplish than another. Try to work through this process before the end of class.

*If students have chosen to focus on stormwater, you can assign them research topics for homework (see “Why Stormwater is a Problem”).

Click here to download the pdf file