Sustainability for Kids: Sustainability Lesson Plans for Primary School
Teaching sustainability in primary school can be a difficult task for a number of reasons. The first is that your lesson is one of the first instances in which your pupils are hearing key sustainability terms. So, it is essential that key terms are explained simply with language that under-12’s are familiar with. Secondly, any attempt to do work outside of the curriculum can be wrongly interpreted by your class as less important than their usual lessons and therefore cause concentration breaks-down and key messages to be lost.
The teaching experts here at PlanBee understand first-hand the importance of teaching environmental issues to maximise the attention of your pupils whilst being fun. This is why we have put together the following tips for you to best utilise your time teaching sustainability in primary school.
Teach sustainability lessons outside, and combine with science.
Your pupils will be highly receptive to messages that they can put into practice. So, what better opportunity is there, than to engage your students with a “Where is Water” lesson. Not only does the lesson include comprehensive slides and printable resources, you can also link student learning to real-life tasks. Why not encourage your students to monitor how long they leave the tap on when brushing their teeth, or helping their parents with the washing-up. As a class you can think of creative ways to conserve our water resources in the home. Students are never too young to start learning practical problem solving skills!
Set-up a class recycling box to complement your sustainability lesson plan.
Teach pupils to take ownership of their carbon footprint. Alongside teaching these Reduce, Reuse, Recycle lessons, set-up a class recycling box. Different pupils each week can be responsible for taking waste plastic and cardboard to the recycling box, and at the end of the week explain where the waste will go next. You could then encourage pupils to look out for the “recycled” logo on their own items such as pencils and food packaging. Ask them to report back whenever they see a “recycled” logo - this will keep them conscious of the origin of items the use both inside and outside of school.
Encourage pupils to check labels for fair-trade logos.
Add some real-world simulation tasks to simplify the complexities of fair-trade for your primary school sustainability lessons. Our What is Fair Trade: Fair and Unfair? resource provides a “shopping list” for pupils to “shop” in the classroom choosing certain products on product cards, and then assessing whether these are fair trade products.
Put your own unique spin on the lesson by using real items from the shopping list that can be bought from local supermarkets. This way, pupils will see these products in supermarkets when out with their family, and they will remember the lesson. Your pupils may even explain to their family what they have learned about fair-trade!
Reinforce their learning with a follow-up in Friday show-and-tell. Encourage pupils to find five fair trade products in their own homes. If they cannot find any, this is a great moment to teach children about why fair trade is not supported by all brands, and where to find the fair trade products.
The value of sustainability lesson plans
For lessons on sustainability, planning is essential as your pupils will be learning lots of new concepts, which can be tricky to grasp at first. The success of a lesson is in the planning, so that the proceeding lesson goes smoothly and your pupils get the most value out of the exercises.
If you would like direct advice on how to best use our resources or questions about pricing, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For more information on our recently introduced ESR resources, check out our introductory blog. In the meantime, reclaim your weekends with our online catalogue of resources!