New PLT Activities Pilot Tested

September 23, 2019

Project Learning Tree is revising our most popular resource, the PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. The new K-8 guide will contain approximately 50-60 activities: some retained from the current guide, some combined, and some new.

Hundreds of teachers, nonformal educators, and resource professionals help develop, review, field test, and independently evaluate PLT’s instructional materials. The process includes research, testing, and writing workshops; revisions based on field trials; expert and practitioner reviews, and formal assessment of student learning outcomes conducted by independent evaluators. PLT’s 11-step curriculum development process ensures high-quality materials are produced for educators of all backgrounds and levels of experience.

5 New Activities

This Spring, PLT conducted a field test of five new activities, which explored the following topics:  

  • The emotional and physical benefits of being out-of-doors (Outdoor Rx)
  • How trees and the urban forest affect the livability of our communities (Livable Communities)
  • Equity and environmental justice in our communities (Environmental Justice for All)
  • The value of forest product certification for people and forests (What’s in a Label?)
  • The environmental effects of using wood versus other materials (How Green Is Wood?)

graph showing that 98 percent of respondents said they would recommend the PLT activity piloted


Pilot Test Results

We received over 500 applicants and ultimately accepted 41 educators to pilot one or two of the new activities, for which we received 64 pilot reviews

In all, 30 states were represented in the pilot, reaching a total of 3,253 students. Pilot testers taught in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

Of the reviews, 98 percent said they would recommend the activity piloted.

These activities are now being revised based on the pilot test feedback, and in consultation with our State Coordinator Network and topic experts.


How Can PLT Better Support Your Teaching?

This was the final question we asked in our field testing and we were thrilled to hear over and over: “PLT is doing a great job!!!” In addition, pilot testers offered lots of ideas to support their teaching and below are the top five resources they identified:

  • Videos to inspire students
  • Online resources
  • Standards alignment
  • Assessments
  • Citizen science

Continuous Improvement

PLT is committed to ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement. We constantly review and update PLT materials to remain current with education trends. New and revised curriculum materials undergo formative and summative evaluations. The quality of our professional development is monitored and improved with findings from participant surveys, state-based evaluations, and a national survey of use. Learn more about PLT.

Jackie Stallard

Jackie Stallard

Jackie is Director of Curriculum for Project Learning Tree. Jackie oversees the next generation of PLT’s PreK-12 environmental education materials, as well as other instructional materials and resources. She also directs strategic alliances that advance curriculum implementation with other environmental education and sustainability resource providers.