Browse the lesson plans below to find different ways to educate your students on recycling, composting, reducing, and reusing and why these are important practices in our daily lives. All lesson plans indicate what age groups they are appropriate for and include Minnesota Teaching Standards.
Recycling Lesson Plans
Wise Use of Paper (PDF)
Students will learn about the production and reduction of wastes in this lesson plan. They will understand that reusing and recycling paper is a way of conserving resources, protecting the environment, and reducing energy use.
Recycle Right at Lunch (PDF)
Within this lesson plan, students will survey and analyze lunchtime packaging waste in order to identify how much of it is recyclable and what packaging waste can be reduced.
Waste Reduction Lesson Plans
Make a Difference in Your School (PDF)
This guide was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a how-to for engaging students in resource conservation and waste reduction. The guide includes various activities and lesson plans for "Make a Difference Day."
Composting Lesson Plans
Compost Chefs (PDF)
Within this lesson plan, students will create four compost bins with different “recipes” of air, moisture and nitrogen. Students will observe the four compost bins and record the differences these conditions cause in the composting process.
Household Hazardous Waste Lesson Plans
Toxic Chemicals in the Home (PDF)
Chemicals and toxins are all around us and we can make a choice whether or not to use them. In this lesson plan, students will take a Household Hazardous Waste survey to learn about different types of products that contain toxic chemicals, as well as, learn about safer alternatives.
Natural Resources Lesson Plans
Six Infamous Pollutants (PDF)In this lesson, students will work in groups to research and "get to know" the six major air pollutants, and then present the information in creative ways to make an invisible and intangible entity (air pollution) a bit more viable and real to them. Students will also discover ways to help reduce air pollution in their own lives.
Carrying Water (PDF)
In this lesson, students will audit their personal daily water usage, and participate in a class discussion about water use and conservation.
Earth’s Land as an Apple (PDF)
This lesson plan uses an apple to demonstrate how precious habitable land and natural resources are on our earth, and the importance of conserving it as a limited resource.
Gravity and Tides(PDF)
This lesson plan teaches students how the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, along with differential gravitational forces, affect the ocean’s movements. Students will also learn the phases of the moon and vocabulary describing tides.
Bugs – Clues to the Environment (PDF)
In the Bugs-Clues to the Environment lesson plan, students will identify macro invertebrates, learn why certain aquatic life does or doesn’t exist locally and will understand that we cannot always see the wildlife around us.
Earth Day Lesson Plans
Reading list for grades 5-8 (PDF)
This list includes short descriptions of the most popular of youth chapter books while also including a complete list of suggested reading in honor of Mother Earth.
Looking for more resources? Visit the Earth Day webpage for more information and ways to get involved.