How to Teach Sustainability 2021


In this day and age, teaching sustainability to students is more important than ever. No matter what age the student is, teaching them about sustainability, helping them critically think about the subject, and encouraging them to play an active role in sustainability in their community will set them on a great path for the rest of their lives. The internet and the local community are vital assets in showing the students how important sustainability is.


Method 1 of 3:Teaching in the Classroom

1Focus on success stories. It's easy to focus on the bad news and challenges facing humanity in the future. However, in order to avoid the students feeling hopeless, you should tell them about some of sustainability's success stories.

Success stories include American cities returning to using mass transit and the impact made by the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

This will let the students know that the challenges addressed in the class can be overcome.

2Discuss how the students' happiness will be affected by sustainability. With all the talk about limited resources and the need to consume less, students can easily feel threatened by the sustainability movement.

Encourage discussion about whether high levels of consumption is what makes them happy.

3Split the class into groups for discussions on the subject. Separating students into groups of 4 or 5 students, ask them how they would tackle a problem facing sustainability. Allow the groups time to come up with their own solutions.

When the students are able to talk and work through a problem, they will feel empowered and develop a passion for sustainability.

Ask older students about a wider problem and ask younger students about a problem in the local area.

4Discuss the impacts of how society consumes. Allow the students to talk about when they have been wasteful or over consumed. Encourage a discussion of whether they need as much as they use.

In thinking about sustainability this way, the students are likely to learn more and develop a better understanding of the subject.

Method 2 of 3:Encouraging Critical Thinking

1Ask the students to chart the life of a food item. In doing this activity, students of all ages will be challenged with thinking about the cycle of a food items life.

Divide the life of an item into three sections, asking how the food is produced, how it's sold, and how it's disposed.

For older students, you could ask them how society could be more efficient in how it uses the food item. Ask them if the production, packaging, or disposal could be improved with regards to sustainability.

2Explore the rise of electric cars. You could look at how bad for the environment fossil fuel powered cars are.

You could also use this step to ask the students to think about how their journey to school could be more efficient and how taking the bus or cycling will be better than the car.

Research the different models of electric cars with the student and try and find which is the most efficient.

Ask your students to identify a mode of transport that could also be improved this way.

3Calculate the students' carbon footprints. There are various websites online which allow people to find out what their carbon footprint is. Use one of these websites in class with the students and get them to think about how theirs could be improved.

Calculate your own carbon footprint first and ask the class how you could improve yours to get them involved.

The World Wildlife Federation has a carbon footprint calculator on their website that's very easy to use and also suggests where changes can be made.

4Find a guest speaker. You could ask a professor from the local university or a member of a local activist group. Guest speakers show the students that there is a wider network of sustainability and ideas.

Let the guest speaker know the topics and how their visit will fit with the themes of the class.

Hold a Q&A session. The guest speaker should not be simply coming in to tell the students about various problems and challenges. Instead, the guest should hold a questions and answers session with the class.

Assign students to submit questions to the guest. This allows the students to ask about the facets of the chosen topic that they are most interested in and actively participate in their own learning.

Method 3 of 3:Encouraging Action Outside the Classroom

1Challenge the students to have an energy free day at home. This activity will be great at showing your students how much they rely on items that they otherwise take for granted.

A whole day might be too long. Instead the students could have an energy free morning or afternoon. It only needs to show them how much they consume.

2Organize a community clean up. This can either take place at home or at school. The idea behind the clean up is that it makes the local area look better but it also reinforces the idea that a lot of items are thrown on the street.

Both younger and older students can participate by asking their neighbors to help too.

Younger students should ask neighbors with the assistance of an adult.

3Visit the local waste treatment depot or recycling center. Students will be able to see the great measures which need to be taken to properly manage waste.

Ask the students about the facility. Encourage them to form their own thoughts about what they saw and get them to ask their own questions.

4Set up a school or community garden. A community garden is a great way to show the students first hand how food is produced. Plant potatoes or other vegetables and monitor their growth.

Allow the students to plant and care for the vegetables. They will feel a passion and have a greater interest in the garden than if you did all the work.

It's very cheap to set up and run a garden. When the food has grown, students can take it home and eat it or it can be prepared in the classroom.

Lessons and Activities about Sustainability

Teaching Classroom Lessons about Sustainability

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Ways to Encourage Sustainability At Home

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Activities to Teach Students about Sustainability

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