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Lesson Plans

For all teachers and educators: K-12 Environmental Science STEAM Curriculum aligned to the TEKs. Download for free. Created in partnership with Big Thought.
LESSONS ARE DIVIDED INTO FOUR MAIN VERTICALS:

EARTH    •    ENERGY    •    CITIES    •    CLIMATE

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INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

The goal of this curriculum is to create projects that guide students to understand our Earth, human impact and their role in creating a sustainable future.

TEKS INDEX

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Index

KINDERGARTEN – 4TH GRADE

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Observe and identify three forms of energy including light, thermal, and sound;
  • Explain the way folktales reflect beliefs of communities;
  • Observe and describe how thermal energy affects materials;
  • Ask questions and seek answers with a student-designed investigation of thermal energy in small groups; and
  • Create a series of three drawings based on their observations of thermal energy.
WE BUILT THIS SCHOOL

In this lesson, students will:

  • Compose three dimensional solids with given properties or attributes;
  • Identify and demonstrate how to use, conserve, and dispose of natural resources and materials;
  • Identify and explain a problem and propose a task and solution for the problem;
  • Combine materials that, when put together, do things they otherwise could not by themselves;
  • Justify the selection of those materials based on their physical properties, while building a sustainable school model; and
  • Identify ways people can conserve and replenish natural resources.
GETTING DIRTY

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore and record how soils are formed by weathering of rock and the decomposition of plant and animal remains;
  • Collect data about materials found in multiple soil samples;
  • Summarize a data set with multiple categories using a frequency table, dot plot, pictograph or bar graph;
  • Identify and compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment in which they live; and
  • Create a painting using soil as a medium.
ROCK ME LIKE A HURRICANE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Analyze scientific explanations of hurricanes by using evidence obtained through research and viewing videos to identify what forces within the storm cause damage,
  • Identify ways people have adapted and modified the environment in Texas over time and as a result of major storms, and
  • Design and build a model of a hurricane shelter that could be installed in a home for residents of South Texas.

5TH GRADE

ALL LESSONS
LET IT BE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize how the changes made to an ecosystem affect the ecosystem and organisms within;
  • Identify how the height of buildings in highly urbanized areas affect the growth of plants at the ground level;
  • Construct a model that helps restore an ecosystem, even if it’s in a small way; and
  • Create a mural of native flowers and plants.
DIVERSITY MAKES US STRONGER

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the detrimental effects of urbanization on wildlife diversity and formulate a plan to help offset those effects.
SAVING SOME GREEN

In this lesson, students will:

  • How can we use what we know about the carbon footprint of alternative energies to calculate the amount of carbon we can save by switching to them?
LOCALLY GROWN

In this lesson, students will:

  • Examine adaptations in plants to determine what makes them best suited to the local environment. They will use this knowledge to plan a garden that uses the least resources, while providing the best aesthetics.
TRASH TO CASH

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore items that commonly end up in the landfill and come up with creative ideas for how to use them individually or mix them with other products to create a durable post-consumer building material.

6TH GRADE

ALL LESSONS
THE ANSWER IS BLOWING IN THE WIND

In this lesson, students will:

  • Distinguish the difference between energy sources that are renewable and nonrenewable;
  • Understand the pros and cons of nonrenewable energy sources such as coal and oil versus green energy such as wind and solar;
  • Describe ways to reduce energy consumption in a sustainable way; and
  • Create a design for a wind turbine.
POTENTIALLY PERPETUAL

In this lesson, students will:

  • Use knowledge of kinetic and potential energy to brainstorm ideas to make a community transit System more sustainable.
IN THE ‘ZONE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Compare the pros and cons of various energy sources. They will then create solutions to the detrimental air quality effects of some of the sources.
GUARAN-TREED OXYGEN

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the importance of urban trees, both to the oxygen/carbon cycle and heat islands.
WINDOWS TO EFFICIENCY

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize that, although thermal energy moves in a predictable pattern, energy transfer occurs at different rates depending on the type of material it is passing through.

7TH GRADE

ALL LESSONS
BE THE CHANGE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore the amount of waste, both recyclable and non-recyclable produced by their family and school mates;
  • Recognize the effect that waste has both locally and globally;
  • Come up with multiple solutions to either reduce or better manage waste; and
  • Create a 2D or 3D piece of art from “trash.”
GET YOUR DEPOSIT BACK

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the effects of poor erosion control and come up with a comprehensive plan to help prevent erosion, deposition and watershed contamination.
SUSTAINABLY SOUND

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the effects of poor erosion control and come up with a comprehensive plan to help prevent erosion, deposition and watershed contamination.
ROT ON!

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize that different ratios of organic compounds in soil aid in the breakdown and change of materials in compost.
ENERGIZING YOUR LAWN

In this lesson, students will:

  • Use knowledge of food webs and the scarcity of food to create nontraditional food sources.

8TH GRADE

ALL LESSONS
THE TEMPS, THEY ARE A’CHANGIN

In this lesson, students will:

  • Understand that climate is driven by interactions between the sun’s energy and our planet’s water and winds, and is not static;
  • Recognize the effect that changing biotic and abiotic factors have on species;
  • Create a plan to reduce human impact on climate conditions; and
  • Create a climate change coloring book
MUSSEL-EY INVADERS

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize that invasive species compete against native species for ecosystem resources and can lead to irrevocable change in those ecosystems if not controlled.
LUNAR ENERGY

In this lesson, students will:

  • recognize that the alignment of our planet, moon and sun, as well as convection currents in the ocean, cause the movement of the tides. They will understand how that movement can be captured as energy.
BACK TO THE FUTURE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize how the removal or addition of one species can alter an entire ecosystem.
REEF-LIFE

In this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the damage done to coral reefs resulting from human activities and climate change, and develop a plan to rehabilitate or recreate the ecosystem.

HIGH SCHOOL

 

ALL LESSONS
GROWING PAINS

In this lesson, students will:

  • Determine how pollutants such as excess nitrogen runoff or common household chemicals affect the growth of plants.
SMALLER IS SAVVIER

In this lesson, students will:

  • Use knowledge of calculating the perimeter and area of three-dimensional shapes to design a scale model of an energy-efficient tiny house.
SHEDDING THE TRADITIONAL

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore the effects of urban development on watersheds, and explore alternative materials that can help control erosion and prevent pollution.
CHOOSING TO CONSUME

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore how, over time, levels of atmospheric carbon correlate with global climate data. They will investigate how the plants we cultivate have an effect on carbon levels via photosynthesis and respiration, and use plant data to hypothesize how changes in agronomy could influence climate change.

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