Going green doesn't have to happen only at home. If students have the opportunity to utilize environmentally conscious options while in the school setting, valuable learning can occur. Students can learn the importance of green practices, and they can see how they can implement various green choices at school. Kids who see results of going green may become lifetime champions of this lifestyle.
Make a Green Team
A green team can be an effective force in any school setting. With teacher guidance, help students form a coalition that will tackle projects and work to make green changes at school. A student green team can meet regularly to examine current school practices and brainstorm possible changes that would be more environmentally friendly. An active green team can fuel student resolve to make changes that will benefit the environment. The green team might focus on observation to note areas where waste occurs or where recycling might occur. The team could also make signs to post around the school to boost green awareness among the student population. Encourage the students to formulate plans to submit to administrators for improving the school's operations.
Both students and teachers can work to conserve energy at school. By turning off lights in classrooms and other areas when they're not in use, schools can save money and conserve energy. A school could even formulate student patrol groups to turn off lights in unused rooms. Consider removing light fixtures located near windows where supplementary light may not even be necessary. Experiment with using fewer lights in classrooms to determine whether students and teachers can work effectively without the typical number of lights. Place computers into sleep mode when not in use to conserve energy, too.
Teach students strategies for keeping classrooms comfortable. Schools might set hallway temperatures lower during the winter, keeping classroom doors closed so they stay warmer. Students could also work to detect drafts in the school using homemade "draft meters" made out of pencils and plastic wrap. Once discovered, the school can work to eliminate drafts.
Plant a School Garden or Trees
Involve students in planting a school garden on the school grounds. Students can learn valuable lessons about gardening and agriculture by working outdoors on the school grounds. Maintaining a school garden can show children how plants grow, and it can teach them about food sources. Planting and maintaining a garden can become a part of the student curriculum, teaching science, math, physical education, and health subjects while they work in the soil. Students can also learn the value of social responsibility as they utilize the land.
Planting trees on school grounds can also be a valuable activity for students. Although trees provide aesthetic beauty, they also have environmental benefits. A tree-planting project can teach students about the environmental benefits of trees, such as providing shade for comfort, blocking wind to prevent heat loss in buildings, and creating a natural habitat for animals.
Hold an Earth Day Event
Organize an Earth Day event to help students become excited about going green. An Earth Day event uses activities to engage and educate students about environmental awareness. Some activities you might incorporate into an Earth Day event include a trash pick-up around school grounds, planting trees, flowers, or vegetables in designated areas of the school grounds, making art projects using only recyclable materials, making bird feeders to set outside on school grounds to attract wildlife, holding a book drive to collect books to donate to the school library, fundraising to purchase recycled plastic products such as park benches for sale, and making posters to raise awareness of green initiatives.
Use Recyclables for Art Projects
Art classrooms can incorporate recyclables into projects to show students different uses of these materials. Recyclable materials include cardboard tubes, old catalogs, newspaper, plastic webbing, water bottle caps, old CDs, egg cartons, paper grocery bags, corks, cardboard boxes, tin cans, plastic shopping bags, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. Kids might make masks out of egg cartons, pencil jars out of tin cans, or a wind chime out of old CDs.
- 20 Ways to Go Green at School and in Life
- Schools Go Green
- Going Green and Digital: iPads for All at Yale School of Medicine
- Energy Saving Tips for Schools
- What You Can Do: At School
- Energy Saving Activities For Schools
- Energy Conservation Checklists and Tools
- Energy Investigation for Elementary Schools
- Renewables Are Ready
- How to Improve Your School Recycling Program
- Guide to Transforming your Campus, Community, and Career
- Living Green
- Green Your Classroom
- Be a Green Kid
- Helping Kids Go Green
- Our Planet and Environment
- Recycling for Kids and Teachers
- Start a Green Team
- Benefits of Trees
Find more about the author: Kim Hart