Climate Challenge Board Game
Games4Sustainability can help you incorporate a sustainability-themed game in your activities to improve our understanding of important global issues today. Narrow your search from among 100+ games and simulations by filtering the games by the UN Sustainable Development Goals or use the advanced search for more options. Challenges include topics of food, climate, security and public health. For example, in the Climate Challenge, players face the crucial trade-off between long term sustainability and short-term economic growth. Provide your students with a unique challenge to problem solve and practice decision making.
Forest Fact Break: Urban Forests
These three 2-minute videos highlight elements of an urban forest, how they’re managed, and the community benefits. More than 80% of all Americans live in urban areas and urban forests bring important benefits to those communities. Developed by forestinfo.org and the North Carolina Forest Service, these Forest Fact Breaks are a great way to help learn more about the following topics: Urban Forests, Urban Forest Benefits, and Urban Forest Wood Usage.
Fruit Tree 101 Program
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation’s Fruit Tree 101 program brings high-quality fruit trees and shrubs, equipment, on-site orchard design expertise and oversight, horticultural workshops, and aftercare training and manuals to schoolyards across the country. By planting fruit trees, students will improve the surrounding air, soil, and water and provide a local source of healthy nutrition. There is no deadline to apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Recipients must be public schools, nonprofits, or government entities that own the planting site, showcase commitment to caring for the trees in perpetuity, have a source of irrigation nearby, and can help coordinate local volunteers to participate on the day of planting.
Are you looking for additional sources of unbiased environmental information? These engaging, animated YouTube videos provided by ForestInfo help simplify complex forestry topics. With their site currently under construction, ForestInfo offers resources designed to facilitate informed decision-making regarding forestry-related issues for teachers, students, forestry professionals, and those with a general interest in protecting, managing, and enhancing the natural environment.
Junior Ranger Activity Book
In 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated a milestone birthday, 100 years! In celebration of its centennial, NPS created the Centennial Junior Ranger Activity Book. Explore the history of the National Park Service and complete fun activities with this printable book. While this book is geared for 4th grade students, all are welcome to enjoy.
What’s a Tree Done for You Lately?
Products from trees are all around us. Some items are easy to recognize as products we get from trees – lumber, plywood, and paper, for example. Other items such as cellophane, a rayon scarf, and a chocolate bar, may not be as easy to recognize as a product from trees. This publication from Oregon State University will help educators teach students about the variety of products we obtain from trees and how the products are made.
Education in Nature
Visit the Educator Center, part of Georgia-Pacific’s Education in Nature program, for lesson plans, brochures, videos and activities on an assortment of environmental topics and nature subjects for students in grades 2–5. Search the subject areas for natural resources, energy, and paper recycling to find supplemental information and teaching ideas for PLT activities.
Free Posters about Trees
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Forestry offers a variety of educational posters. Most include photocopy–ready 8.5″ x 11″ information panels on the back for classroom use. For example:
Description: Trees in forested and urban landscapes provide environmental, economic, and social benefits. The icons on this poster represent just a few of these benefits.
- From Small Seeds, Grow BIG Dreams
Description: Designed for grades 6-12, this brightly colored poster illustrates that all plants, big or small, start from seed. The back of the poster is divided into sections to tell the story of a seed from formation to germination.
To request a free poster, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888–MINN–DNR or 651–296–6157.
Discover the Forest
A program of the Ad Council and U.S. Forest Service, Discover the Forest offers resources that help families discover nearby forests and provides tips on how to prepare for and enjoy outdoor adventures.
Product Life Cycle Assessment Worksheet
TeachEngineering offers a basic life cycle assessment method that assigns fictional values for different steps in a product’s life cycle. Students can complete a product analysis using this worksheet and then compare product impacts, and brainstorm ways to reduce unwanted environmental effects.
Into the Outdoors – Forest Ecology
Into the Outdoors is an Emmy award-winning TV show with an emphasis on science education for middle school-aged students. The show’s new website, intotheoutdoors.org, provides free videos and other resource links on many environmental topics to make outdoor learning exciting and fun. While there are many exciting topics to choose from (such as sustainable forestry, biodiversity, and wetlands), Into the Outdoor’s 4-part video series on Forest Ecology is a perfect fit with many Project Learning Tree activities. These 5-7 minute shorts feature middle school aged youth that inspire all of us to take learning outdoors!
Virtual Tour: Hershey’s Chocolate Factory
Help your students explore one of the most delicious forest products: Chocolate!! Thanks to step-by-step videos on its chocolate-making process, Hershey’s offers students a fun virtual field trip for any classroom. After building his own milk-processing plant and working day and night for three years, Milton Hershey became the first American to develop a formula for manufacturing milk chocolate. It was affordable, tasted good and remained fresh for a long time. No wonder it was an immediate sensation. Take some time to enjoy this special “taste” of Hershey’s chocolate!
This free, and downloadable book from the National Science Teachers Association entitled, “Gourmet Lab: The Scientific Principals Behind Your Favorite Foods,” gives students the opportunity to discover science concepts and learn experimental design skills through interactions with everyday foods. Targeting students in grade 6-12, Gourmet Lab offers lots of ideas for science teachers to take on the role of scientist and chef as they boil, bake, and toast their way to better understanding science concepts.
FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has monitored the world’s forests at 5 to 10 year intervals since 1946. The State of the World’s Forests 2020–Forests, Biodiversity and People, examines the contributions of forests, and of the people who use and manage them, to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. For the first time, this edition is a joint effort between two United Nations entities: FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In addition, this interactive report contains the main findings of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020). FRA 2020 examines the status of, and trends in, more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020. The information provided by FRA presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which the resource is changing. Such a clear global picture supports the development of sound policies, practices and investments affecting forests and forestry.
The 2015 FRA examined the status and trends at the time for more than 90 variables and all types of forests in 233 countries and areas.
Tree Product Images
Print-out pages containing many examples of everyday products that come from trees!
Fruit and Vegetable Fact Sheets
These fact sheets from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension’s Nutrition Education Program provide information about 30 fruits and vegetables. Each fact sheet includes an illustration of the fruit or vegetable along with nutrition information, uses, description, varieties, and where the fruit or vegetable was first cultivated. The sheets could be incorporated into K-12 biology, health, or nutrition lessons or shared with students’ families to help promote healthy eating habits.
Greener Blue Jeans
Who doesn’t like blue jeans? The indigo dye that provides their distinctive color holds up to detergents, but ages into that soft, worn look. Indigo is one of the oldest dyes used for coloring textiles. For thousands of years it was extracted from tropical plants in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, with various unpleasant side effects. This Berkeley University of California article describes the research involved in finding a cleaner route to produce the iconic dye.