New and Improved GreenSchools Investigations

July 18, 2016

Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools program provides teachers and students across the country with training and resources to create healthier schools (and save money!), all while improving students’ academic performance in STEM subjects. At the heart of the program, which began in 2008, is a set of GreenSchools Investigations that provide a blueprint for student Green Teams to examine their school’s energy use, waste and recycling, water consumption, school site, and environmental quality (such as indoor air quality, school transportation, and use of chemicals.)

New and Improved Resources

In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and our state partners, PLT has refreshed the content of the GreenSchools Investigations and reorganized them to better meet educator needs. These changes were guided by feedback from students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff over the past 8 years. 

The updated investigations are available for download (after logging in), and a full-color printed set is available for purchase

A few highlights of these revisions include:

Cover for Project Learning Tree's GreenSchools Adult Leader GuideNew Adult Leader Guide

The Adult Leader Guide has information on the benefits of becoming a PLT GreenSchool, how to form a Green Team, suggestions for how students might conduct the Investigations, and ways to obtain grants for action projects. It includes the following new features:

  • Updated information on the importance of greening schools to make them healthier places for students and teachers to learn and work;
  • Specific examples of how the GreenSchools Investigations support STEM education; and
  • A list of supporting activities from PLT’s PreK-8 Guide, Energy & Society Kit, and high school modules that can be used to enrich and extend the learning on each Investigation topic.

Improved Investigations

The GreenSchools Investigations address five topics: Energy, Environmental Quality, School Site, Waste & Recycling, and Water. Each investigation has been carefully redesigned to make it visually appealing and easier to use. The revised Investigations include:

  • Green Team Guide with checklist of what students will do, streamlined directions, updated background information, career connections, and a glossary.
  • Investigation Worksheets that contain simplified directions, updated data collection charts, and links to helpful “how-to” videos on PLT’s YouTube Channel.

These videos explain how to use a variety of tools and equipment to collect data for the Investigations. For example, in the Energy Investigation, an option is to use a watt meter to find out which devices in a classroom use the most energy. The video How to Use a Watt Meter shows students using this device with step-by-step instructions. In another video Discover iTree you’ll see how easy it is to calculate the dollar value and ecosystem benefits of the trees on your school grounds using a simple online tool. 

Want More Help?

  • PLT has also recently launched a new online GreenSchools training that can be completed in your own time, wherever you are, to help you get a GreenSchools program up and running at your school.
  • Also new this year, GreenSchools for Early Childhood specifically meets the needs of early childhood educators and younger learners. In addition, the program can serve as a great way for middle and high school students to mentor and involve young learners (PreK to 2nd graders).

Check out Project Learning Tree’s new and improved GreenSchools Investigations!

Vanessa Bullwinkle

Vanessa Bullwinkle

Vanessa Bullwinkle is Director of Communications & Marketing for Project Learning Tree.