Build a classroom that will have other teachers GREEN with envy!
Are you and your students taking daily action to improve the environment or is your classroom leaving a carbon footprint? Below is a list of ways to “green up” your learning spaces.
1. Set up a recycling station.
Use color-coded bins with easy-to-read labels so students can sort and dispose of recyclable items correctly and independently.
2. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them and use energy efficient bulbs for when you do need light.
Florescent bulbs reduce annual lighting costs by 50 – 75% more than incandescent bulbs.
3. Compost food scraps to produce nutrient rich soil. Compost bins are available at any local hardware store and come with lids so your classroom won’t stink. To speed up the composting process, add worms to your bin and try your hand at vermicomposting! It's really not that hard & it's a great science project too!
4. Plant trees and/or plants to reduce carbon in the air.
Use pots in the classroom and/or outdoor spaces at school or in the community.
5. Use power strips instead of outlets.
These devices save 2% annually on energy use.
6. Buy and/or borrow used books and other used classroom items whenever possible.
Teach students about sustainability and the importance of buying locally and second hand.
7. Use non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products.
8. Buy recycled paper and use the both sides of each sheet before recycling it again.
9. Laptops use up to 50% less energy than a desktop so use laptops whenever possible.
10. Use computers for completing assignments, submitting work or feedback, grading, and communication.
Remember that some of these ideas take a large initial investment (planning, organization, training, and practice) before they can be successfully implemented at any grade level. Take these opportunities to teach students to create and be responsible for these green steps.
Student involvement will motivate participation and promote application beyond the classroom. Eventually, students will manage these green steps independently and your classroom will be a fine tuned, green machine that will inspire others to green up as well!
Want to push the envelope and incorporate green living projects into your curriculum? General Motors and Discovery Education recently held a “Live Green” Teacher Grant Contest. The winners and their innovative ideas are posted. They range from constructing and monitoring green roofing to constructing tiny solar panels that will power model cities built in the classroom. Learning to preserve the environment from these types of hands-on projects provides endless combinations of learning across the content areas.