PLT’s GreenSchools program inspires students to take personal responsibility for improving the environment at their school, at home, and in their community. Students, teachers, and school staff members receive tools, training, and resources for student-led Green Teams to create healthier schools—and to save schools money! PLT GreenSchools helps improve students’ academic performance, develops students’ critical thinking skills, and grows student leaders.
Five hands-on, student-driven Investigations are at the heart of the PLT GreenSchools program. You can view and download each of the following investigations by registering as a PLT GreenSchool or by purchasing a print copy of GreenSchools Investigations. We also offer online training to help you effectively engage your students in conducting investigations in your own educational setting, and provide tips for obtaining equipment and collecting data. The five investigations focus on the following topic areas:
- Energy – Investigate how much energy your school uses, the main sources of that energy, and ways to implement energy-saving strategies.
- Environmental Quality – Investigate areas where improvements can be made in indoor air quality, transportation, chemical use, and more.
- School Site – Investigate natural habitats, wildlife, trees, grounds maintenance practices, and ways to make improvements to your school site.
- Waste and Recycling – Investigate how much waste your school generates and where it goes, as well as recycling and composting efforts.
- Water – Investigate the source, cost, and quality of your school’s water supply, and ways to enhance current water conservation practices.
Registered PLT GreenSchools are eligible to apply for GreenWorks grants. Our GreenWorks program provides grants to schools and youth organizations to engage students with their local community and complete service-learning, environmental-improvement projects. Grant applications are due annually on September 30th.
The modifications presented below offer suggestions for adapting the content presented in PLT’s GreenSchools materials for use with the Treemendous Science! unit at each student level:
Level A – Kindergarten
Use the GreenSchools program’s School Site investigation with students to help build upon the concepts explore in this unit. Have students make observations about the green spaces in and around their school and community, such as noting the number of trees in each outdoor green space.
Level B – Grade 1
Engage students and deepen their understanding with the GreenSchool’s program’s Energy investigation. Have students collect temperature data near a window at different times of the day. When documenting this data, students should also note whether their data point’s side of the school is mostly sunny or shady. Have the class discuss whether trees are providing this shade, and the effects this might have on room temperature and energy use.
Level C – Grade 2
Engage in additional place-based learning with the GreenSchool’s program’s School Site investigation. Have your class map the school site and note the number, location, and type of greenspaces (lawn, playground, park, etc.). Students should be able to note what living and non-living things are found at those sites and how the sites are alike or different than other sites nearby. Conduct regular visits and record observations of plants, trees, animals, and spaces over the course of the school year, noting changes and patterns. The practice of drawing and field sketching might also be introduced.
New GreenSchools Investigations for Early Childhood
PLT’s GreenSchools for Early Childhood program presents environmental experiences through art, movement, sensory exploration, and time outdoors, all of which are inherently appealing to young children. It includes Early Childhood Engagement Activities, Early Learner Worksheets, and a Classroom Action Book template developed for children ages 4 to 8. These resources are available online, following a brief registration.