Classroom Activities for Sustainability

K-12 Resources for Teachers, Parents and Students

Getting Their Hands in the Dirt

A Case for Elementary School Gardens

Meet the students of Manzo Elementary in Tucson, AZ, and discover the impact of gardening on students’ learning, development, health and happiness.

Play Video

Short Classroom Activities

Empower your students to think critically about sustainability with these downloadable, 15-minute activities. Contributed by The Walton Sustainability Solutions National Teachers’ Academies.
think sustainability

Think Sustainability

Use these supplementary slides to help students explore and discuss relevant issues such as waste, energy, food and water.
sustainability in the news

Sustainability in the News

Equip your class to think critically about current events and their impacts on the environment and sustainability.
sustainability haiku

Sustainability Haiku

Guide students to deepen their understanding of sustainability through haiku – creative language and imagery.
life cycle analysis electronic devices

Product Life Cycle Analysis: Electronic Devices

Product life cycle analysis allows us to understand the environmental cost of manufacturing, use and disposal of products. Help students consider the impact of electronic devices on the planet. This plan includes an 8-minute video.
if the world were 100 people

If the World Were 100 People

Empower your students to understand global statistics related to access to education, healthcare and more.

Nature Lab for Educators: Middle School

Sustainable Earth has partnered with the Nature Conservancy to provide their Nature Lab resources all in one place! The lessons below are intended to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us and how we can help keep it running strong.

Grades 3-8 – Use these guides to lead enrichment activities! With videos and learning activities, including a weekly hands-on projects to get outside safely, kids can explore nature right in their community. Download individual weekly guides from the Nature Conservancy below.

watering plants

Week 1: Provide Food and Water Sustainably

Explore how food and water can be sourced while protecting our planet.

Week 2: Tackle Climate Change

See how, as individuals, we can learn more about various nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. We can do our part to help improve the world we live in.
healthy cities

Week 3: Build Healthy Cities

Explore how nature-based solutions can help us build healthy cities and keep them functioning sustainably
Pelicans on the dock yair hazout unsplash

Week 4: Land and Water Conservation

Learn how conservation of land and water resources can provide a more promising future for our world
citizen science for students

Week 5, Bonus Activity: You’re the scientist! Citizen Science, Frogs & Cicadas

Conservation efforts rely heavily on volunteers to restore natural areas, and to help gauge the success of restoration efforts. But can students get involved? Yes, they can! Learn about citizen science!
trees recycle carbon

Week 6, Bonus Activity: Climate Change Heroes – The Power of Trees

Trees are our climate superheroes! All across the world, trees are playing critical roles in cleaning our air, improving our resilience in the face of climate change and improving humans’ wellbeing along the way.

Nature Lab for Educators : Highschool

Download these educational resources from the Nature Conservancy for students in high school. Lessons cover urban runoff, biomimicry, climate change, and more! 

ecosystem interdependence managing salmon

Ecosystem Interdependence: Managing Salmon Stocks

Salmon runs are an important factor in cycling several nutrients So, managing Salmon stocks is important for more than just food production. Students can explore the connection between the size of salmon runs and forest health, and the negative impact of unsustainable fishing practices.
Urban runoff - stormwater management

Urban Runoff: Stormwater Management

Stormwater management is relevant whether a city is rebuilding after a devastating storm or simply looking to revitalize and improve. Working with nature rather than against it is a key part of redesigning our cities to be more resilient and sustainable. Explore the problem of urban runoff and a variety of nature-based design ideas and solutions.
climate change causes extreme weather

Understanding Climate Change

Climate change affects everyone. Extreme weather events like severe droughts and frequent devastating floods are all features of a changing climate. Students will examine the ways humans impacted Earth, analyzing real data to discover why scientists are calling this the “Anthropocene.”
water security a big challenge

Gray, Green, Blue: Water Security and YOU!

Homes, businesses, recreation, waste removal, transport, and nature all require water. Water security is providing enough reliable, clean water for the health and livelihoods of people and natural environments. It is one of the biggest challenges we face. Learn how nature can play a role in water security and what YOU can do to help.

How a Chicken Nugget Impacts Our World

This lesson plan for grades 5–10 analyzes the life cycle of a chicken nugget and how our food decisions impact the environment, society and economy. Contributed by The Walton Sustainability Solutions National Teachers’ Academies.

Introduction to the Life Cycle Analysis

life cycle analysis video
Play Video

“Drawn Futures: Arizona 2045” Comic Book

Envision the near future of Arizona’s energy systems and their impact on society through this science-based comic book. Created by award-winning comics authors in partnership with ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination.

Sustainable Agriculture Around the World Learning Book

Want to learn more about where food is grown  before it lands on your plate? Read about sustainable forms of agriculture around the world, fun facts about food, and includes some fun activities for students.

Educators Awards

Envision the near future of Arizona’s energy systems and their impact on society through this science-based comic book. Created by award-winning comics authors in partnership with ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination.

Games on Sustainability

Explore virtual games on sustainability from Minecraft, the UN and more.

Sustainable Explainable Video Series

Discover short videos that will help your students understand sustainability and unpack commonly used terms in plain English.

Take a field trip, virtually

Virtual field trips, or VFT’s, enable learners to quickly move across field sites and examine data at micro and macro scales. These unique 360° virtual reality experiences embed links to explanatory videos, images, and gigapixel imagery within spherical images of a field site. Students of all ages can explore those multimedia, zoom in/out, rotate their view in 360°, and navigate to new locations. VFT lessons also include instructions for each activity and tutor students through those activities with adaptive feedback.

It doesn’t matter if you are a young explorer, a high school or college student, or a retired adventurer, you will find these fields trips engaging and informative.