Curriculum Integration Ideas and Resources
Local, state, and/or national learning standards are met through an “EIC” (Environment as an Integrating Context) approach.
- One or two stand alone units or activities within the curriculum engage an environmental theme.
- Art and music are integrated into the traditional core topics.
- A single grade level adopts a six week unit of inquiry of the water cycle and conservation that engages multiple disciplines to increase understanding of the topic.
- A teacher creates curriculum that integrates a variety of discrete disciplines and other teachers in the school adopt it and use it in their classes.
- Multiple grade levels initiate interdisciplinary units of studies that apply to reading, math, writing, and science, etc with environmental themes, social issues, and health studies.
- Different grade levels engage units involving curriculum that blends concepts across the discrete disciplines, eliminating fragmentation and decreasing isolated learning modules.
- The entire school engages interdisciplinary learning as an integral part of their school philosophy.
- Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse – Elementary, Middle and High School – Green Education Foundation
Students study environmental topics and explore possible local, state, national or global solutions with a focus on community-oriented approach.
- The school offers an environmental education class or club to its students,
- The school engages environmental focuses in a multitude of classes,
- The school encourages students to design and participate in environmental projects,
- The school has ingrained environmental education into all of their curriculum and school philosophy.
- NC Office of Environmental Education
- Natural Inquirer a Middle School Education Journal
- Project Wild K-12 Curriculum and Activities- Council for Environmental Education (CEE)
- Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans – USEPA
- Susatinability Lesson Clearinghouse – Elementary, Middle and High School –Green Education Foundation
Resources for Environmental Education Educators
- Environmental Education Publications – USEPA
- Web Resources for Teachers – USDA and USDA Forest Service
Opportunities for Students
Project Learning Tree ® (PLT) is an award winning, multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in PreK-grade 12. PLT is a program of the American Forest Foundation. It is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad, and continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence.
Field Studies and Hands-On Learning
Students learn about their local natural and built environments through guided first-hand investigation.
- Classrooms use a variety of simple hands-on projects and field trips at least once each semester.
- Students regularly use presentations and projects to demonstrate their knowledge of topics.
- Students study at least one nearby location in depth as part of their class projects.
- Students are exposed to a multiple of first hand experiences, through field trips and complex hands on projects.
- Students compete in a science fair or similar competition.
- Teacher Resources Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association
- NCSU Natural Learning Initiative Publications
- Moving the Classroom Outdoors– Herb Broda
- Take a Child Outside Activities – NC Museum of Natural Sciences
- Build a Solar Oven – NASA (7th-9th grade)
Schools and Camps
- Green River Preserve, a co-ed summer camp connecting children and nature
- Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, support for educators, opportunities for high school interns
- Mountain Trail Outdoor School, hands on education in the outdoor classroom of the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Educational State Forests, 7 facilities in the state, educational programs are correlated with NC Essential Standards
Students learn about the history of this country, local and national government structures and the roles and responsibilities of being a citizen.
- Students map their local community identifying public offices, common areas, parks, etc.
- Students are introduced to the roles and responsibilities of citizenship by a classroom visit from a local community government official.
- Students engage in curriculum that show the impact of one person’s actions as a multiplier for community impact.
- Students study the history of individuals who have had impact on society.
- Students are visited by a local person who has made impact on their community.
- Local government meetings are monitored and are a topic for classroom discussion.
- Local issues are researched and are the foundation for projects.
- Students develop and present an impact plan to their local community on a topic of relevance.
- A student green team presents to a local government body on conservation.
- Students present and participate in a community conversation on diversity.
- Students are included on committees making decision for the school and/or local community.
Integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Curriculum are aligned with the state standards and enhance learning.
NC STEM resources and support:
- NC STEM Education Strategic Plan (NC DPI)
- NC Integrated Mathematics Project
- The Science House Modeling Workshops
- NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center
- NC STEM Community Collaborative
- NC Mathematics and Science Education Network
- NC FIRST Robotics
National high quality STEM resources and support:
- National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges
- Core-Plus Mathematics Project
- Science Education for Public Understanding Program
- Geographic Data in Education Initiative
- Modeling Instruction in Science
- Youth Technology Corps
- Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM
- Boston Museum of Science Engineering Curriculum Projects
- PCS Edventures
Service Learning is a strategy that combines meaningful community service with curriculum and personal reflection.
- Students perform voluntary community service projects.
- The ecology club participates in an annual river clean up.
- At least one project or unit of study involves a mentoring relationship within the school community.
- A classroom works regularly with a non-school community partner to support a community service project.
- “Kids-teaching kids” is a regular component of the school community life.
- A School Green Team engages in a once a year project for the whole school.
- A school can cite a number of service related projects across different themes that they participated in during the year.
- individuals and student groups are actively supported in taking leadership roles for their school and community projects,
- Students are active on a Green Team and meet at least monthly to implement projects.
- Students volunteer at different community organizations at least once a month.
- Students play an active role in planning community wide events.
- Students routinely work directly with the adult decision makers to implement green school projects.