What does the future hold for our planet? Global warming, a shortage of fossil fuels and an increasing global population are all issues that are likely to affect the current cohort of school children directly, in a way that previous generations haven’t had to face. That’s a scary prospect, so it’s vital that we teach children to live more sustainably and cultivate eco-friendly habits like reusing, recycling and minimising energy use. With this in mind, teachers can use these eco-friendly classroom ideas to educate young people about sustainable living and build environmental awareness in the next generation.
1. Growing up green
Gardening is great; it’s a truly hands-on educational activity that gives children a practical understanding of the environment around them. Encourage children to tend to indoor plants and grow simple things like cress, or if you have the space for outdoor learning, create a school vegetable patch. By learning to grow their own food, children will be equipped with the skills to live sustainably in the future, as well as gaining a greater understanding of nature.
2. SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
Where some may see a pile of rubbish, others spy opportunity. Challenge the children to think of creative ways to upcycle unwanted objects: for example, a yogurt container can be used as a crayon holder; a plastic bottle can be transformed into a vase. More elaborate inventions can be concocted from a variety of different objects put together. You could make a classroom display of the best eco-friendly upcycling ideas.
3. CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
This is one of those eco-friendly classroom ideas that spans multiple disciplines. Pupils will develop their maths and science knowledge and understanding, while also gaining a real insight into the habits and lifestyle choices that can have the biggest impact on the environment. This carbon footprint calculator from the WWF is a great way to spark discussion and inspire motivation for change.
4. SAVE ENERGY
Energy-saving habits need to start early in order to become second nature, so an eco-friendly classroom is a great place to nurture the energy-saving instinct. Get your class to make and decorate posters reminding pupils to turn off computers, lights and taps when not in use.
5. Reduce and recycle
Pit your competitive classmates against each other to see who can produce the smallest amount of landfill waste in a week! Pupils will need to use their wits to work out how reusing items like water bottles and recycling everything they can, could land them at the top spot at the end of the week. When the competition is over, lead a class discussion to exchange ideas on reusing and recycling waste, and consider a trip to the local recycling centre to find out what happens to the rubbish we throw away.
SUSTAINABLE CLASSROOMS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Wouldn’t it be great if all of these eco-friendly classroom ideas could be enacted in an eco-friendly school building? At Vertis, we build classrooms that are energy efficient, sustainable and constructed from recycled and environmentally friendly materials – all helping to protect the environment for future generations. Read more about our sustainable eco classrooms here.