- Green initiatives can make environmental science come alive for students, providing hands-on examples of how to maintain a sustainable building or classroom, District Administration reports.
- At Grant Elementary School in Missouri, for example, 5th-graders were tasked with recycling materials during the school day and also given the opportunity to grow native plants inside a portable classroom called the Eco-Schoolhouse. Inside was also technology they could discover, from solar panels to energy-saving devices.
- Students were able to connect what they did during the school day to the way environmental practices can impact the earth, learning, for example, that solar panels can help to offset coal consumption.
Green initiatives can be wonderful learning opportunities for students, bringing hands-on environmental and climate science into classrooms. They also can open students up to career and technical opportunities, providing more ways to learn about environmentally friendly science paths they can follow in the future.
But schools don’t have to go entirely green to bring more climate science into curriculum. Administrators can green-light recycling, ecology and composting programs, help clubs launch beekeeping programs, or even partner with community organizations and companies to gives students environmentally-friendly hands-on experiences.
That’s the path, for example, Desert Hot Springs High School in California took, working with Silicon Valley’s SunPower group to teach students about renewable energy while also teaching them, while still in school, how to install solar panels.
There are also a number of good online resources educators can turn to for ideas on how to bring more green science initiatives into classrooms, such as those offered by the National Education Association and the National Science Foundation.
While a fully green school can support students in crucial science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning, that’s a commitment of time and resources not every district can afford. Educators and administrators can, however, bring hands-on opportunities to students by launching smaller projects that open the door to environment-friendly science lessons.