Here’s a way to give your students a better appreciation for how many natural resources they depend on in their day-to-day lives. By tracing the resources that go into making one item, they will learn how the manufacturing of just one product can have an impact on the environment.
This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Packaging Preferences in the US
57% of consumers are actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging, according to the 2020 study U.S. Packaging Preferences 2020 released by Two Sides North America, Inc. Through this study, students can explore consumer preferences, perceptions and attitudes toward packaging materials. On top of that, find out about environmental labels on products for recycling or composting, and labels that meet certain environmental standards, such as forest certification standards.
Natural Resource Mapping
National Geographic’s Reading a Resource Map helps students in grades 2-4 investigate the origins of goods that people use. Use it to engage students on the topic of renewable and non-renewable resources and create a map identifying where they come from. Students will learn more about the types of goods and products that come from natural resources. They’ll also develop skills in reading and interpreting maps and apply that to learn more about the natural resources in their state.
Ag Across America
Ag Across America is an online geography game for grades 3-5. With this game, students will learn more about how farms provide our food, fiber, and energy. The game guides students through a series of video and trivia questions about farms across the U.S. When you answer correctly, players collect items to have on their own virtual farm. Find more games and resources for young learners at My American Farm, and professional development opportunities for educators through On the Farm STEM.
Guide to Responsible Green Camping
Are you worried about children being more familiar with touch screens than with soil, plants, and bugs? It might be time to get the kiddos out camping. This online guide to responsible camping will get you prepared for a green camping trip, including how to pack, how to camp, responsible camping activities, and handy safety and eco tips.
Teaching the Food System
Resources from The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future introduces students to food-system topics and issues. Explore questions such as: What are the strengths and weaknesses of local food systems? How is our food supply dependent on ecosystems? Find slides, handouts, and other supplemental materials on their Teaching the Food System website.
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.
This PBS NOVA series has launched the Energy Lab, where middle and high school students can design renewable energy systems for cities nationwide and compete with other students nationwide. Visit the Energy Lab website to design your own renewable energy system.
International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge
Teachers and students now have the opportunity to use and explore a new, student-focused International Carbon Footprint Calculator. After testing the tool, students can then share their experience, results, and personal perspectives regarding climate change and related environmental concerns on the Einztein social learning network with other students around the world. Check out the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge website to participate, calculate, compare, and connect today!
Energy Quest is an effort by the California Energy Commission to provide resources to teachers and students all about energy: its different forms, how it is generated, its sources and how to protect and conserve it. The Energy Quest website is arranged in easy-to-use tabs that lead to a rich, comprehensive supply of teaching material. The website’s interactive interface is useful and educational to both teachers and students alike.
Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
Join National Public Radio’s Planet Money team as they follow the manufacturing of a T-Shirt around the world — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. This story is told in a 5-chapter story of video clips.