With innovation, education, cultivation and nurturing we can give our children an opportunity to learn how to become “out of the box” solution thinkers for tomorrow’s issues… and to become good stewards for the earth today.
There are many ways communities, parents and schools can encourage upper elementary, middle, and high school students to take an interest in the environment.
Here are some ideas for bringing environmental issues into the home or school classroom.
Divide the class into two teams and assign a panel of judges. Choose an environmental topic (climate change, fracking, GMOs, etc). One team creates a discussion in favor, while the other team argues against the issue. The panel of judges reviews the cases from both sides and chooses a winner (or not). Encourage students to use their creativity and passion when developing their discussion points.
Students or groups of students create a 2-minute video on an environmental issue that would inspire and educate people who may not be aware of the issue. This project would help students both learn more deeply about the topic they select as well as learn to engage others.
Imagery is a powerful learning tool. Film can give a much deeper perspective than a textbook or website, and older kids will enjoy the screen time. Special guests can be brought in for a lively post-viewing discussion with students. An online search will net plenty of kid- and teen-friendly documentaries about the environment and social justice.
Hands-on Renewable Energy Workshop
Find a local expert who can show how solar, wind, and hydro power actually work. Young people will see the energy savings by comparing bills or statements before and after green energy options were installed. Even better, build a solar panel powered project at your school!
Support A Cause
Encourage students to choose a cause to support. Research, raise money, spread awareness for an endangered animal or local eco-cause. Execute the plan using social media, fundraising events and traditional grassroots efforts. Students can set up a bake sale, auction, or a variety of other fun ways to raise money for their agreed cause.
Find a local farm and plan a day (or recurring day) for the kids to work. This is great hands-on experience that allows children to see where their food comes from. Or as a field trip, consider a farm-cation. Many farms rent cabins or cottages where students or families can stay and enjoy real farm life experiences and help with certain activities & chores.