Following is a partial list of resources we think are useful in exploring ways to improve coverage of sustainability concerns in K–12 schools.
— Teaching Activities & Lessons —
The Zinn Education Project has posted several lessons — available for free, as are all their resources. Here’s a sampling:
- ‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous People’s Summit on Climate Change, by Julie O’Neill and Tim Swinehart, explores the impact of climate change on the world’s Indigenous peoples and shows how they are organizing and fighting back.
- Paradise Lost: Introducing Students to Climate Change Through Story, by Brady Bennon, is a video/writing activity that looks at the human cost of climate change and builds empathy for climate change refugees like those in the island nation of Kiribati.
- The Mystery of the Three Scary Numbers, by Zinn Education Project co-director Bill Bigelow, is a lively activity in which students piece together clues as they explore the dangerous link between fossil fuels, carbon, and climate change.
- Cut Your Carbon Footprint – Reductions at the individual level aren’t enough to counteract global warming, but this exercise can help students understand how individual choices and decisions do factor into the global problem. While not formatted as a teaching activity, the specific questions & resources can easily adapted to fit the classroom. —From Yes! Magazine
— Books & Periodicals —
- Rethinking Schools (quarterly magazine)
- A People’s Curriculum for the Earth (Bill Bigelow & Tim Swineherd, editors) Rethinking Schools, 2015.
- Smart by Nature (Michael Stone) – a good read for older students, but also contains information that will help teachers who want more depth in this area
- Ecoliterate (Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, Zenobia Barlow) – while this book can be a good read for older students, it also contains lots of information that will help teachers who want more depth in this area
- Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World
- Most Likely to Succeed – Educator Tony Wagner & entrepreneur Ted Dintersmith explain why the current approach to education is doomed to continual failure — and why we need to focus on creativity & innovation. (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
- Big Ideas – A New Alignment with Academic Standards (Center for Ecoliteracy & National Geographic, 2014)
- Yes! Magazine
— Compilations of Teaching Activities & Lessons —
- Resources from Washington State:
- Curriculum Integration | OSPI
- FROM SEED TO APPLE – Inspirational stories from Washington’s classrooms [PDF]
- Educational resources from the Center for Ecoliteracy
- Zinn Education Project – Promotes and supports teachingin middle and high school classrooms across the country. Based on the lens of history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States, the website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level. Explore Teaching materials by theme
- Environment & Food topic at Zinn Education ProjectOne of the best teaching resources on the climate crisis is A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis, edited by Bill Bigelow and Tim Swinehart, and published by Rethinking Schools. According to Teaching Tolerance, “This is the kind of book that can change the way young people look at everything.”
- Environment & Food topic at Zinn Education Project
- Resources from NASA’s ‘Climate Kids’
- Let’s Talk About Climate! – Interdisciplinary teaching on climate change. Includes material for all subject areas and grade levels.
- Fossil Fuels | Carbon and Climate
- Carbon Dioxide Emissions | Climate Change | US EPA
- Carbon and Climate | Basic information on the major components of the global carbon cycle.
- Applet | Carbon and Climate
- GLOBE Carbon Cycle Project
- All Together | EARTH 103: Earth in the Future
- Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, by Bill McKibben | Rolling Stone
- Also see: Climate Action Planning
— Articles on Teaching & Sustainability —
- ‘We Can’t Solve Climate Change Without Teaching It’, by Kate Stringer
- ‘After Oil: Why We Need to Keep 80 Percent of Fossil Fuels in the Ground’, by Bill McKibben
- Schooling for Sustainability
- The Best Way to Learn About a Tree
- Stealing & Selling Nature
- Teach Against Fossil Fuels
— Teaching About Food —
For resources on the food system, see our page of Sustainable Campus Dining Resources—Although this was originally developed by students concerned about college & university campus dining, most of these apply to all institutional food.
[last updated 2019]