Environmental Education Resources

ee resources

We regularly select new tools and resources that support and enhance Project Learning Tree’s lessons.

 

ADAPTING TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE ERA OF COVID-19

 

Resources, Tips and Tools for Teaching Environmental Education At Home

Our friends at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) have compiled a great series of resources, tips, and tools to aid educators and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep learners of all ages engaged with these hands-on activities, lesson plans, virtual tools and much more.

And our friends at the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) also have a comprehensive list of resources, activities, and citizen science projects to help parents and educators engage children of all ages in learning about environmental education at home.  

Adapting High-Quality Instructional Materials for Virtual Teaching 

What happens when the world of schooling changes in an instant? How do educators adapt their use of materials in a new and often uncharted virtual environment? Watch this recorded webinar from Learning Forward to:

  • Explore what works to adapt instructional materials for students’ varying levels of access;
  • Consider how to set and adjust learning goals and targets for a new context; and
  • Discuss student engagement, instructional rigor, and other related questions among a community of learners.

 

VIDEOS

 

BeLEAF it or Not: How to Identify Trees 

Learn about tree Identification in this “BeLEAF it or Not” video How To Identify Trees. Michigan foresters, Bill Cook and Georgia Peterson, explain some identification characteristics of trees, such as bark, buds, fruits, and leaves. They also explain the Latin/two-part scientific names for living things that allow people throughout the world to communicate unambiguously about species. Intended for students in grades four through seven, the episode has an accompanying resource page.

(Resource for PLT’s K-8 Activity 2—Get in Touch with Trees, Activity 61—The Closer You Look, Activity 68—Name That Tree)

 

PBS food web videoFood Web, a Science Trek Video

PBS LearningMedia’s 4-minute video Food Web, from Idaho public TV’s Science Trek series for grades K-6, illustrates how energy from the sun moves through the food chain, the various factors that contribute to a food chain, and where humans fit into it. Support materials include a set of discussion questions and alignment to standards, including National Standards in Science Literacy and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Create a free account to see state standards, and to share this resource as a class assignment.

(Resource for PLT’s K-8 Activity 23—The Fallen Log, Activity 26—Dynamic Duos, Activity 45—Web of Life, and for PLT’s Energy in Ecosystems E-Unit Activity 3—Web of Life)

 

A City in the Forest

How is a forest like a city? This 4-minute video, A City in a Forest from PBS Plum Landing, explores a child’s perspective of a forest and what they see living and growing on trees—from the top of the canopy, to their roots in the ground, to dead trees lying on the forest floor. Aligned to several Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards, use this video to teach your students about ecosystems and engage them in conversations about their own community and urban forests. This video is one of many resources offered by PBS Kids through Plum Landing, a multi-platform, indoor-outdoor, science exploration adventure for kids.

(Resources PLT’s K-8 Activity 8—The Forest of S.T. Shrew, Activity 21—Adopt a Tree, Activity 22—Trees as Habitats, Activity 23—The Fallen Log, Activity 47—Are Vacant Lots Vacant?, and Activity 30—Three Cheers for Trees)

 

GAMES, QUIZZES & COLORING

 

Young girl uses an increment borer on a treeWhat Can Trees Tell Us About Climate Change?

Learn about the connection between trees and climate change, how tree rings can tell a story about past weather events, and the methods in which scientists are recording this data. What Can Trees Tell Us About Climate Change? is a resource offered by NASA’s Climate Kids, designed for upper-elementary students. Find images, fact sheets, activities, games, and articles on this and a variety of other topics—including the atmosphere, water, energy and weather—to help tell the story of our changing planet in ways that are accessible and engaging.

(Resources for PLT’s K-8 Activity 29—Rain Reasons, Activity 76—Tree Cookies, Activity 84—The Global Climate, PLT’s Teaching with i-Tree Unit, and for PLT’s Focus on Forests Activity 8—Climate Change and Forests)

 

Migration Game

Developed by the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Migration Game tests students on their knowledge about bird migration. Depending on their answers, students will either help or hinder Wanda the Wood Thrush get from her winter home in Costa Rica to her summer home in Maryland. Pair the online quiz with our article How Plants and Animals Prepare for Winter and its links to more resources, along with writing prompts and research project ideas, to enrich the learning of your students on the topics of migration, changing seasons, and hibernation.

(Resources for PLT’s K-8 Activity 11—Can It Be Real?, Activity 88—Life on the Edge, and Activity 49—Tropical Treehouse)

 

Go With the Flow game screenshotGo with the Flow!

NASA’s Space Place website engages upper-elementary-aged children in space and Earth science through interactive games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos. Find material in both English and Spanish and resources for parents and teachers. For example, in the online game Go with the Flow!, children direct a submarine to uncover hidden treasure and learn about ocean currents and water dynamics. Accompanying the game is additional information on the basics about ocean currents, how salt and temperature play a major role in their development, and a video that shows the major ocean currents that flow around the globe. Supplement this mini-lesson with one of PLT’s activities to enrich the experience.

(Resources for PLT’s K-8 Activity 38—Every Drop Counts and Activity 44—Water Wonders)

 

Detroit Parks Coloring Pages

Learn what makes a city park great, such as local wildlife, spaces for public enjoyment and community activities, with this Detroit Parks Coloring Book. Use these coloring pages (available for download, print, and color) for students to explore the parks around the city of Detroit, Michigan. Then, discuss with students ways your community might conserve and enhance its public spaces with the help of PLT activities and have them investigate organizations, like the non-profit Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, that work to support community public spaces.

(Resource for PLT’s K-8 Activity 40—Then and Now, Activity 47—Are Vacant Lots Vacant?, Activity 54—I’d Like to Visit a Place Where…, Activity 55—Planning the Ideal Community, Activity 56—We Can Work It Out, Activity 74—People, Places, Things, and Activity 96—Improve Your Place)

 

APPS & INTERACTIVE TOOLS

 

yellowstone national park virtual visitor badgeKids and Youth—Yellowstone National Park

Plan a virtual mini-lesson using Yellowstone National Park’s Kids and Youth section for students to learn more about America’s first national park. Through educational and enriching information, illustrations, and even sound snippets, students can explore a specific theme of the park—Geology, Hydrothermal, Wildlife, History, and Preservation. You can also guide them towards the Ask a Ranger page for common questions and answers that complement each Exploration Theme.

(Resource for PLT’s K-8 Activity 35—Loving It Too Much, Activity 54—I’d Like to Visit a Place Where…, and Activity 34—Who Works in this Forest)

 

Earth Now

If your students have an Apple or Android device and are interested in Earth Science, Earth Now is a free, 3D app that displays real-time global satellite data of the planet. Students can view carbon dioxide conditions, gravity anomalies, ozone levels over Antarctica, and more. Find more science apps to use with your students in our article 12 Engaging Science Apps for Middle and High School Students and make screen-time fun and educational for them!

(Resources for PLT’s K-8 Activity 36Pollution Search, Activity 84—The Global Climate, and Activity 86—Our Changing World) 

 

 

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