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Teacher On Special Assignments Environment Issue

Teaching Environmental Issues and the Affective Domain

Dept. of Energy photo by Warren Gretz
This summary was compiled by Karin Kirk, SERC, and is drawn from the sources referenced below.

Teaching environmental topics can bring out unexpected responses in your students. For example, when you cover the topic of Earth's resources in a physical geology course, you may find previously mild-mannered students become impassioned about the topics, or otherwise attentive and hard-working pupils dig in their heels and resist the information. Doing rock and mineral identification may elicit little emotional response from most students. But when the subject matter seems to confront one's personal lifestyle, political leanings or economic situation, then the topic may be perceived in a very different light.


What are some strategies to teach environmental topics, particularly controversial ones, without coming up against affective barriers to learning? How can you help students learn the science and the policy without getting weighed down by feeling guilty or defiant?

  • Teach the science first
    Even though most environmental topics are a blend of science, policy, economics and human impacts, it may be helpful to separate these into three distinct sub-topics. First, present the science objectively, using data and relevant examples. Next, discuss the policy and economic issues related to this topic. Once those subjects are covered thoroughly, students will often be interested to learn what their own personal stake may be. By setting the stage deliberately, students are more likely to be receptive to the information and are less likely to get turned off.
  • Teach with data
    Statements like "species are going extinct at an alarming rate," "wetlands are being turned into strip malls," and "the climate is getting hotter"are emotional statements (even if true) and will elicit emotional responses in your students. Rather than risk sounding like an alarmist, let the data speak for itself. Have students work through data sets, and they can discover for themselves the rate and extent of environmental change. In some cases, they still may end up being surprised or emotional, but it's because they reached their own conclusion, not because you told them to be alarmed. [Schweizer and Kelly, 2005]
  • Use active learning techniques
    Photo by Stuart Van Greuningen, Idaho Energy Division
    Students learn better when the can learn it for themselves, and this is especially true for topics that are potential turn-offs for students. Environmental issues lend themselves to teaching techniques like using local examples, gathering data from the field, using role-playing or debates, or participating in environmental projects. [Iozzi, 1989] , [Schweizer and Kelly, 2005]
  • Controversy, ambiguity, and topics with incomplete or missing evidence can be used constructively (but need to be introduced judiciously)
    Engaging controversial topics, or topics that have no clear-cut answers, can create an environment where students are motivated to learn more out of curiosity or imminent need [e.g. Edelson, 2001 ]. Students can be encouraged to review what is known, to identify what additional information is needed to solve the problem, and to continue the search to find and critically examine new information. Learning goals for students can include development of "scientific habits of the mind" [AAAS, 1989 (more info) ], to be critical consumers of information, and to be able to create, present and rebut arguments based on evidence. A supportive environment needs to be created to encourage scholarly and open review of the arguments and ideas, and provisions need to be put in place to prevent interpersonal (ad hominem) attacks in reporting results in class activities.
  • It's not all doom and gloom
    Certain environmental topics can be downright depressing. However, there are also many environmental success stories. Strive for a balance in which students do not feel overwhelmed by a preponderance of "bad news." After all, environmental successes provide relevant examples of how problems can be overcome.
  • Clearly define your role and your teaching approach
    There are many ways to teach environmental issues. Before jumping into your curriculum, consider what your desired outcomes are and what approach you will take. Is your intent to teach just the relevant scientific processes, to promote an awareness of environmental issues, or to lead students toward a shift in their own environmental behavior? In the classroom, do you assume the role of environmental guardian, a free-marketeer, or a devil's advocate? There are advantages to various approaches, but it's important to consciously consider what your goals are and how you can best achieve them. [Corney, 1998]
  • Lead by example, but don't preach
    We all know the stereotype that college professors drive tiny, efficient cars and live an eco-minded lifestyle. Regardless of whether or not this describes you, it's best to avoid talking down to your students for their own personal choices. Preaching to the class about what's "good" and what's "bad" will likely have the opposite effect than you intended; it can be a major turn-off for students. If your goal is to promote environmentally-favorable behavior in your students, consider a hands-on project that will challenge students to consider the environmental impacts of their own actions. [Kirk and Thomas, 2003]

Resources and Examples

Selected Literature

US Dept of Energy photo by Warren Gretz

Teaching and learning in environmental education: Developing environmental conceptions (Ballantyne and Packer, 1996)
citation and bibliographic information This paper discusses how environmental education is closely connected with the affective domain in that it involves attitudes, values and behaviors, in addition to cognitive knowledge. The authors recommend that teachers develop conceptions in environmental education by using a range of strategies designed to integrate an individual's environmental knowledge, attitudes/values, and behavior. The application of constructivist learning provides a basis for encouraging students to become aware of their environmental conceptions, challenge inconsistencies in those conceptions, and make informed decisions regarding their environmental conceptions.

Enhancing environmental conceptions: An evaluation of cognitive conflict and structured controversy learning units (Ballantyne and Bain, 1995)
citation and bibliographic information Learning experiences which challenge and enhance students' conceptions of environmental issues and environmental education by confronting them with alternative viewpoints and evidence were trialed in two postgraduate environmental teacher education courses. Findings indicate that as a result of participating in the learning experiences, students formulated their own position more clearly, better understood the viewpoints of others, became aware of inadequacies and inconsistencies in their conceptions and were challenged to increase their environmental commitment.

Learning to Teach Environmental Issues (Corney, 1998)
citation and bibliographic information This paper describes preliminary results from a qualitative research study into the thinking and practice of student geography teachers in the teaching of environmental issues. The study investigates ways that teachers think about environmental issues and the corresponding ways that teachers teach these topics. The author points out that teachers must make various value judgments in teaching environmental issues.

A Multivariate Analysis of the Relationship Between Attitude Toward Science and Attitude Toward the Environment (Ma and Bateson, 1999)
citation and bibliographic information This statistical study identified the relationship between students' attitude toward science and attitude toward the environment. Canadian 9th grade students answered sets of attitude questions about the environment and about science in general. The strongest correlation was that students who had a positive attitude toward science also had a positive attitude toward science. Another correlation indicated that students favored preservation of natural resources but also did not favor a reduction in freedom for logging companies, farmers, automobile drivers, and so on.

Developing Analytical and Communication Skills in a Mock-Trial Course Based on the Famous Woburn, Massachusetts Case (Bair, 2000)
This paper describes an interdisciplinary course based on the book A Civil Action. Students analyze aerial photographs, well logs, streamflow records, permeability tests, and water-level and water-quality data from the trial to complete assignments that become exhibits in the mock trial. Assignments include construction of geologic cross sections, potentiometric maps, hydrographs, flood recurrence graphs, and calculation of hydraulic gradients, groundwater velocities, and contaminant travel times. The course teaches students how to develop and defend their opinions, how to question the opinions of others, the limitations of data collection and analysis, and the importance of integrating computational and communication skills.

The Use of a Mock Environment Summit to Support Learning about Global Climate Change (Gautier and Rebich, 2005)
citation and bibliographic information This paper describes a course that addresses the human aspects of global change through the development and negotiation of an international environmental agreement. Students play the roles of country representatives and participate in activities such as writings, class discussions, presentations and negotiations.

An Investigation of Student Engagement in a Global Warming Debate (Schweizer and Kelly, 2005)
citation and bibliographic information This study investigates how using debate as a pedagogical tool for addressing earth system science concepts can promote active student learning, present a realistic and dynamic view of science, and provide a mechanism for integrating the scientific, political and social dimensions of global environmental change. The investigation examines how students make use of observationally-based climatic data sets when debating the cause of global warming.

Teaching Controversial Issues: Resources from GSA Short Courses - 2016 Edition
Resources and advice for teaching about controversial issues from the 2013-2016 half-day GSA short courses.

Diving into the Trenches: Rules of Thumb for Teaching Controversial Issues (Duggan-Haas, 2015)
This In the Trenches article discusses important rules of thumb for teaching controversial issues.

In the Trenches - July 2015 Special Issue: Teaching about Fracking
This special issue of In the Trenches focuses on the complex set of processes for extracting oil and natural gas known as slickwater horizontal high volume hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as "fracking." It also includes links to example activities.

There's no such thing as a free megawatt: hydrofracking as a gateway drug to energy literacy – Discussion Guide (Duggan-Haas and Ross, 2015)
This case recognizes the teachable moment provided by the heightened interest in where our energy comes from. It offers an eight hour program (designed as a teacher professional development workshop, but adaptable to undergraduate or high school courses) that complexifies what seems like a simple issue to many. It also includes links to an array of resources that provide instructional materials for teaching activities for as short as a single class or provide the foundation to a course. Investigating the environmental, cultural, and economic impacts of hydrofracking and contextualizing it in the broader energy system highlights a wide range of ethical questions and draws attention to a simple (sort of) bottom line: We need to use a lot less energy. (Also see the Activity sheet describing this resource.)

Teaching Methods



A student gathering stream discharge data
The Starting Point collection contains introductory earth science teaching materials organized by various teaching methods. The collection contains sections on teaching with data, using role-playing activities, using your campus as a laboratory, experience-based environmental projects, and Structured Academic Controversy.

Activity Collections

Selected examples:

  • What Should We Do About Global Warming?
    Teaching materials by Sharon Anthony, Thomas W. Brauch, Elizabeth J. Longley (Beloit College/ChemConnections)
    This 3-4 week science module is designed for introductory college courses and uses data to tackle questions related to global warming. The module includes short and long term temperature trend data, along with IR spectra, concentration trend data for greenhouse gases, and information about the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The Great Energy Debate
    Teaching materials by National Geographic
    This lesson plan explores the controversial issues surrounding the energy debate in the United States. Students will research recent initiatives being taken in this area and analyze their implications. They will then assume the roles of pivotal stakeholders in this debate and testify to a mock congressional committee responsible for making decisions about public lands and energy resources.
  • Mock Environmental Summit
    Teaching materials by Catherine Gautier (University of California Santa Barbara)
    At the end of a six-week class or unit on global warming, students role-play representatives from various countries and organizations at an international summit on the Santa Barbara protocol, dealing with global warming. The students prepare by studying the IPCC report on Global Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and other information on human impacts on the environment.
  • The Use of a Piece of Land
    Teaching materials by Duane Leavitt for Activities and Resources for Earth Science Teachers from the Maine Geological Survey
    This activity is designed to engage students in a practical exercise in land use planning, to make the students aware of the positive and negative aspects of land use laws and local zoning ordinances through role-playing. The students represent groups interested in purchasing the same piece of land. Each group must research to devise a plan that is legal and attractive and present proposals to convince the current owners to sell the land to their group. The instructor is advised to use a real plot of land so that real land use laws can be researched.
  • Global Temperatures
    Created by Columbia University Earth and Environmental Science Faculty
    Students analyze the global temperature record from 1867 to the present. Long-term trends and shorter-term fluctuations are both evaluated. The data is examined for evidence of the impact of natural and anthropogenic climate forcing mechanisms on the global surface temperature variability.
  • The Lifestyle Project
    Karin Kirk (Montana State University) and John J. Thomas (Skidmore College)
    This project allows students to challenge themselves to reduce their impact on the environment by changing the way in which they live from day to day, over a period of three weeks. Students write about their experiences in journals, which are incredibly insightful, illustrating just how profoundly the project affects them.
  • Structured Academic Controversy - Climate Change
    Claudia Khourey-Bowers, Kent State University
    Students use a role-playing format to explore various positions on climate change. Students use a meeting of an international council to expand their perspectives on the issue and increase their understanding of others' points of view.
  • Communicating Global Climate Change: Using Debate to Engage Integrative Learning This series of video clips from MERLOT/ELIXR demonstrates the use of debate as a strategy for engaging student with the issues surrounding climate change. Project materials, timelines and PowerPoint slides are also included.

  • Do you know of an article, web site, data set or other reference for teaching environmental issues? Please tell us about it.

    If you have a classroom activity that is useful for teaching environmental issues, you can add it to the teaching activities collection.

    Find an array of environmental and science based lesson plans, activities and ideas below from EPA, other federal agencies and external organizations. ​Encontrar recursos para estudiantes y maestros.

    You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

    Acid Rain: A Teacher's Guide(PDF 56 pp, 4.6 MB)
    Lesson plan and activities from EPA for teachers on acid rain.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan

    Acid Rain Educational Resources from EPA
    Experiments and activities, basic acid rain concepts, and things you can do about acid rain.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plans and experiments

    Carl Gets Some Rest(PDF 12 pp, 765 KB)
    This EPA coloring and story book, for children in pre-school through 2nd grade, teaches a simple lesson: there are many transportation alternatives to using a car.
    Grades: K-2
    Type of Resource: Coloring Book

    Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
    This EPA page provides information on indoor air quality in school buildings and how to order the Tools for Schools Action Kit. The kit shows how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air quality at little or no cost using common-sense activities and in-house staff.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Noise Pollution for Kids(PDF 15 pp, 6.54 MB)
    This EPA booklet for your students will teach you how to identify which sounds are loud and ways to protect your hearing and health.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Activity book

    Particulate Matter (PM) Air Sensor Kits
    Particle pollution known as particulate matter (PM) is one of the major air pollutants regulated by EPA to protect public health and the environment. A PM air sensor kit has been developed by EPA researchers as an educational tool to teach children about air quality and air science.
    Grades: 5-12
    Type of Resource: Hands-on activity guide

    Basic Ozone Layer Science
    Find a straightforward explanation of the ozone layer and ozone depletion.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
    A brief introduction to the 1990 version of the Clean Air Act, to help you understand what is in the law and how it may affect you.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Booklet

    RadTown USA
    EPA's RadTown USA is a virtual community that aims to educate students about the sources of radiation in our daily lives.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Virtual activity

    Why is Coco Orange?
    Coco has a problem. He is a chameleon, but he cannot change colors, and his asthma is acting up. Read how Coco and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy when the air quality is bad.
    Grades: Pre K-2
    Type of Resource: Book

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    AIRNOW
    Get up-to-the-minute information about air pollution in your community, through a joint project from EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service and other partners. The AIRNOW website includes maps, forecasts, and information about the health effects of air pollution.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    AIRNOW Air Quality Resources 
    Find air quality curriculum materials and activities from AIRNOW, including a toolkit and workshop opportunities for teachers.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide 

    AIRNOW's Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby
    Ozone acts as a protective layer high above the Earth, but it can be harmful to breathe. This publication provides basic information about ground-level and high-altitude ozone. See a quick animation on Ozone too.
    Grades:6-12
    Type of Resource: Booklet/Brochure

    NOAA's Education Resources Website
    Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
    Grades: 6-12

    NOAA Research: Teacher Information
    Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of resource:  Lesson Plan

    Generate! Game
    An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
    Grades: 6-12
    Type of Resource: Board game and teacher guides.

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    Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit: A toolkit for formal and informal educators
    EPA, in partnership with the National Park Service and with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a kit for use when talking with the public about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands.
    Grades: all

    NASA's Climate Kids
    Geared toward students, the multimedia-rich Climate Kids site uses games, humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.
    Grades: K-12

    NOAA's Education Resources Website
    Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
    Grades: 6-12

    NOAA Research: Teacher Information
    Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
    Grades: 9-12

    NOAA's Discover Your Changing World Activity Book
    This free activity book will introduce your students to the essential principles of climate science and what you can do to protect our Earth.

    Adopt Your Watershed
    Explore EPA's watershed database or add your watershed to the system.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Database

    America's Wetlands
    This resource will give you a better understanding of the rich variety of wetlands, their importance, how they are threatened, and what can be done to conserve them for future generations.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Booklet

    Coral Reef Protection: What are coral reefs?
    Explore EPA's resources on coral reef protection to learn why coral reefs are important and what is being done to protect them.
    Grades: 6-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    EnviroAtlas Case Study
    Ecosystems such as forests and wetlands provide many essential benefits, including clean air and water, food, fiber, and recreational opportunities. The benefits people receive from nature, called "ecosystem goods and services,” are critically important to human health and well-being, but they are often overlooked due to lack of information. EnviroAtlas is a freely available web-based resource that combines an interactive mapping application, analysis tools, and interpretive information on ecosystem goods and services. EnviroAtlas allows users to visually interpret ecosystem services and understand how they can be conserved and enhanced. Explore this unique resource and use this Case Study to introduce your students to EnviroAtlas.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website, Teacher's Guide

    Estuaries: Fundamentals
    What is an estuary? Why are estuaries important? Find core information from EPA on estuaries and the National Estuary Program.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Exploring Estuaries
    This EPA site, aimed at children, provides introductory information on estuaries for students of various ages and background information for teachers. Includes activities, games and a glossary.
    Grades: 6-12
    Type of Resource: Interactive website

    Hazardous Waste and Ecosystems
    A classroom activity to help students recognize that hazardous waste may have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and that these impacts are not always easy to identify.  
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan

    Save Our Species: Endangered Species Coloring Book
    Coloring book about endangered species.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Activity book

    Stream Corridor Restoration Module
    As part of EPA's Watershed Academy, this module provides an explanation of the structure of streams, their role in the environment, and discusses stream restoration.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Training module

    Wetlands Education
    Everything you need to help your student understand wetlands and how they fit into the water cycle and the environment. A portal site of links to activities, curriculum, education programs, resources and teaching tools to assist you in wetlands and habitat education.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Website, curriculum guides, teaching tools

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    Everglades National Park for Teachers
    Are you interested in teaching your students about the Florida Everglades? Check out this site to find activities and background information that will help you tell the story of this fascinating natural ecosystem. Even if you don't live near the Everglades, you will find valuable information that can be applied to many ecosystems throughout the country.
    Grades: All

    Fish and Wildlife Service's Let's Go Outside Educator Materials
    Why take your students outside? Simply put…because it can improve both classroom learning and classroom behavior. There is no doubt that as a teacher, you get pulled in many directions as you try to offer your students the best possible educational opportunities. It is a balancing act – you have to make some tough choices about how your students spend their time. Learn more about the Schoolyard Habitat Program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Forests Lesson Plan
    A lesson plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Grades: K-5
    Subtopic: ecosystem
    Type of Resource: Lesson Plan

    Resources To Learn More About Endangered Species
    From the Fish and Wildlife Service, a list of materials that may give you some ideas to help a species near you get on its road to recovery, because recovery is the ultimate goal for each threatened and endangered species.
    Grades: All

    NASA Educational Resources and NASA Wavelength
    Search NASA for teaching materials on: earth science, general science, history, math, physical science, and space science.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Searchable database of teaching materials

    National Estuarine Research Reserve System K-12 Educator Resources
    Estuaries, where rivers meet the sea, are fascinating ecosystems. Find out about what makes estuaries special, the threats to estuarine ecosystems and explore estuaries around the U.S.
    Grades: 9-12

    National Wetlands Research Center
    This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
    Grades: 9-12

    National Park Service Education Resources
    Classroom materials, field trip opportunities and professional development programs for educators from the National Park Service.
    Grades: All

    NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
    Learn what this office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to protect marine mammals and endangered species.
    Grades: 6-8

    Schoolyard Habitat
    The Schoolyard Habitat program helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat on school grounds.
    Grades: All

    Teachers on the Public Lands/ Hands on the Land
    The teachers work at Hands on the Land sites, where they observe BLM resource management first-hand and develop lesson plans that BLM employees, teachers, and community volunteers can use in the future.
    Grades: All
    Type of Resource: Website

    U.S. Forest Service Education Toolbox
    The Educator Toolbox from the U.S. Forest Service is jam-packed with helpful resources to make your challenging job just a little easier. Here you will find background resources to help you understand forests and grasslands, professional development opportunities and resources, and a collection of great materials and programs organized by grade-level.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Where Rivers Meet the Sea
    This game depicts the ecosystem of an estuary on the west coast of the United States. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. Find related curriculum, tutorials, and classroom resources.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Online Game

    Wildlife Fact Sheets
    From the Fish and Wildlife Service, basic information about species of regular public interest. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the factsheets.
    Grades: 9-12

    ENERGY STAR Kids
    Students can learn to use energy wisely and be an energy star. Find related publications for download and order.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: website

    Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: High School
    This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels, and how to calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: Middle School
    This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels and calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
    Grades: 5-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Generate! Game
    An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
    Grades: 6-12
    Type of Resource: Board game and teacher guides.

    Join the Lorax
    From the ENERGY STAR program, familiar characters like the Lorax will help students understand energy efficiency and how to use energy wisely. Download the accompanying activity book.
    Type of Resource: Website and activity book.

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    Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kids Home Page
    Kids Saving Energy. Games tips and facts for kids who want to save energy.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Website

    Department of Energy Educator Resources
    Find the complete set of lesson plans, student competitions, workbooks, videos and more from the Department of Energy. Grades: k-12
    Type of resource: Website

    Asthma
    Asthma and upper respiratory illnesses information from EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Chemical Safety Resource for Middle School Teachers
    In this lesson students will participate in a chemical survey activity regarding the household chemicals and cleaners used in and around their house. They will conduct a simple survey with parental supervision and answer questions about how many and what kind of chemicals they found. Students will also brainstorm on how chemical safety can prevent pollution at home.
    Grades: 5-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Environmental Health Science Education
    Lesson plans and classroom activities for teachers on environmental health science from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plans, activity guides, factsheets

    A Citizens Guide to Radon
    A complete guide to taking action to lower the radon level in your home. It offers strategies for testing and discussions of what steps to take after you have tested, discussions of the risk of radon and radon myths.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Guide

    Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
    Secondhand smoke can cause health problems in children and adults. Read about the risks of environmental tobacco smoke and find links to research studies about the issue.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Help! It's a Roach!
    Roaches are one of the most common household pests. Once they move into your home, they multiply quickly. That makes them even harder to control. Use this Web site and complete the activities to learn what kids and adults can do.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Interactive website

    Hold the Mold
    In this lesson, students will learn about the different kinds of mold and how it grows.
    They will conduct an experiment to grow and observe the growth of different kinds of food molds
    and understand the health effects of mold and how to recognize and prevent mold growth.
    Grades: 5-8
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan

    Lead Blockers
    In this lesson students will learn about the health effects of lead and through a game of tag.  Students will model the process of certain nutrients that can block lead absorption. As part of the activity, students will brainstorm on ways to prevent lead exposure at home.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil
    Find information about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention in the home.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of resource: Website

    Mercury Bioaccumulation Tag
    This activity lets students model the processes of mercury bioaccumulation and biomagnification in an aquatic food chain. Students will understand the health effects of mercury and demonstrate an understanding of how mercury becomes present in fish.
    Grades: 5-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Recipes for Health Kids and a Healthy Environment
    A nine-lesson program designed to excite kids about environmental health and to empower them to take steps in their everyday lives to improve the environment for their community and reduce environmental risk.
    Grades: 4-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    The Ultraviolet Index
    Several publications explaining the Ultraviolet Index and steps you can take to minimize the risks from overexposure to the sun's rays. Each is available for reading online and downloading.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website and database

    Water on Tap: What You Need to Know
    Where does your drinking water come from? How is it treated? How do you protect it? This is the place to get the answers to these and other drinking-water questions.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Factsheet/brochure

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    Environmental Health Science Education
    Portal site for students, teachers and scientists on environmental health information, activities, jobs, and developmental opportunities.
    Grades: 6-12

    National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)
    Everything you ever wanted to know about pesticides in one easy location. This cooperative effort between EPA and Oregon State University provides information from EPA, state agencies, academia and Canada, including information for health care providers.
    Grades: 9-12

    Sunwise: Sun Safety for Kids and Educators
    SunWise Partner Schools sponsor classroom and school-wide activities that raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation, and simple sun safety practices. The SunWise Toolkit is free to registered schools.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: Website and toolkit

    Basic Information about Waste Management, Recycling, and Pollution Prevention
    Find core information on sustainable materials management and pollution prevention at the source.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Resources for Students and Educators
    Find games and classroom resources like Recycle City and the Planet Protector series, including a teachers guide.
    Type of Resource: Website

    Pack a Waste Free Lunch
    Find easy ways to encourage students (and parents) to reduce waste at lunchtime.
    Type of Resource: Toolkit

    Life of a Soccer Ball
    Help your students explore the lifecycle of a familiar object, from how it's made to ideas for extending it's life in new ways.
    Type of Resource: Poster/Flyer

    Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
    This document describes how people can help solve a growing problem...garbage!
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Pollution Prevention Toolbox
    The toolbox contains a series of four-page lesson plans on various pollution prevention concepts for schools.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    The Quest for Less: Activities and Resources for Teaching K-8
    Use this resource to develop lesson plans, incorporate a range of activities into various subject areas throughout the school year.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects  (PDF 245K, 16 pp) 
    Resource booklet designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects en Español  (PDF 223K, 16 pp)
    Resource booklet in Spanish designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Superfund Basics
    This page provides an overview of the Superfund program, highlights key steps in the Superfund cleanup process, explains how the program is enforced, describes EPA's Superfund offices, and links to other EPA hazardous-waste programs.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
    EPA's Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools helps your school and school district reduce the amount of waste you generate. You'll learn how to start a waste reduction program or expand an existing one. The guide will show you how your program can benefit your school, your community, and the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your waste.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

    Where Can I Take My Computer?
    Web sites and organizations that can provide information on opportunities for donating and recycling computers and other electronics.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    Acid Rain: A teacher's guide for grades 6 through 8 (PDF 56 pp, 4.6 MB)
    A lesson plan and activities from EPA for teachers on acid rain.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan

    Acid Rain Educational Resources from EPA
    Experiments and activities, a review of basic acid rain concepts, factsheets, and things you can do about acid rain.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plans and experiments

    Adopt Your Watershed
    Explore EPA's watershed database or add your watershed to the system.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Database

    Beach Kids
    Whether you live near a beach or not, visit EPA's Beach Kids site to learn about beaches and how to protect them.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Interactive website

    Darby Duck and the Aquatic Crusaders
    Find seven experiments from EPA to learn about the characteristics of water.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan and experiments

    Drinking Water & Ground Water Kids' Stuff
    Games, activities, and art projects from EPA about the water cycle and water treatment.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Lesson plans

    Ground Water Contamination
    Find a general review of groundwater contamination and where it occurs.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    How's My Waterway?
    Learn the condition of local streams, lakes, and other waters anywhere in the U.S., searching EPA's database of water quality monitoring reports.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of Resource: Website/app

    How People Get Their Water - Reservoirs: "Holding Tanks" for Drinking Water
    Let your students "Ride the Water Cycle" with this activity from EPA. Help them understand the role of reservoirs in maintaining a reliable supply of drinking water.
    Grades: 4-8
    Type of Resource: Lesson plan

    Magnificent Ground Water Connection
    This ground-water activity guide is applicable to a wide range of subject matter and the topics include basic concepts on the water cycle, water distribution, treatment, and stewardship. This page includes five sample lesson activity plans.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Curriculum guide and lesson plans

    On Your Mark, Set, Evaporate (PDF 4.73 MB, 398 pp)
    This EPA lesson plan covers transpiration as part of the hydrologic cycle.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Thirstin Builds an Aquifer
    This activity illustrates how water is stored in an aquifer, how ground water can become contaminated, and how this contamination ends up in a drinking water well. Ultimately, students should get a clear understanding of how careless use and disposal of harmful contaminants above the ground can potentially end up in the drinking water below the ground. This particular experiment can be done by each student at their work station. Use the interactive website or PDF version (PDF 240 KB, 2 pp)
    Grades: K-3
    Type of resource: Website and lesson plan

    Thirstin's Groundwater Movement Activity (PDF 332 KB, 2 pp)
    This class activity demonstrates that ground water must be able to move through underground materials. The students will act as molecules of water and the underground materials.
    Grades: K-5
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Tracking Pollution - A Hazardous Whodunit
    A Thirstin lesson plan to teach students to make a topographic map, use it to predict ground water flow and investigate the most likely source of ground water contamination.
    Grades: 9-12
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Water Sense Resources
    Resources for educating students about "Fix a Leak Week," EPA's WaterSense Partnership program and water efficiency.
    Grades: K-8
    Type of resource: Lesson plan

    Water Sourcebooks
    The Water Sourcebooks from EPA explain the water management cycle and show how it affects all aspects of the environment. 324 activities for grades K-12 are divided into four sections: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Curriculum Guide

    What's Up with Our Nation's Waters
    Find a report on measuring water quality, water quality science projects, and what you can do to protect waterways.
    Grades: 6-8
    Type of Resource: Factsheet/brochure

    Watershed Academy
    The Watershed Academy is a focal point in EPA's Office of Water for providing training and information on watershed management. The Academy's self-paced training modules and webcast seminars provide current information from national experts across a broad range of watershed topics.
    Grades: 9-12, College, Adult Learners
    Type of Resource: Self paced online modules

    The following links exit the site Exit

    National Wetlands Research Center
    This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
    Grades: 9-12

    NOAA's Education Resources Website
    Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
    Grades: 6-12

    Science with NOAA Research: Teacher Information
    Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
    Grades: 9-12

    National Ocean Service Education
    Find case studies, tutorials, games, and more from NOAA's National Ocean Service.
    Grades: K-12
    Type of Resource: Website

    NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
    Learn what this office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to protect marine mammals and endangered species.
    Grades: 6-8

    Water Science for Schools
    This site provides extensive background information on a wide variety of water topics. It also includes on-line activities, data tables, maps, and a glossary of terms.
    Grades: 6-12