Curriculum - Elementary & Middle School
PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide
Ninety-six multi-disciplinary activities can be found inside PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide – each one tailored to specific grade levels and learning objectives. Each activity is filled with opportunities to build critical thinking skills, incorporate technology, and use differentiated instruction.
Activities in the PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide are correlated to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Science and Social Studies and Florida Standards for Language Arts and Mathematics. Visit the Standards Correlations page for more information.
To receive the PreK-8 Guide Environmental Education Activity Guide, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar) or sign up for an online course that can be completed in your own time, wherever you are.
E-Unit – Treemendous Science!
PLT’s Treemendous Science! e-unit is an invitation to increase the quantity and quality of your K-2 learners’ contact with nature and trees. With Treemendous Science!, students will experience, explore, and collect tree data to develop understandings about how trees grow, the roles trees play in ecosystems, and the ways in which trees and humans interact.
To receive the Treemendous Science! e-unit, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar) or purchase the e-unit with accompanying online professional development from shop.plt.org.
E-Unit – Energy in Ecosystems
With PLT’s Energy in Ecosystems e-unit students focus on forests (one of the largest and most complex types of ecosystems) and come to understand some of the interactions present in all ecosystems. In doing so, they learn to appreciate the natural systems on which we depend and begin to widen their circle of compassion to include all of nature.
To receive the Energy in Ecosystems e-unit, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar) or purchase the e-unit with accompanying online professional development from shop.plt.org.
E-Unit – Carbon & Climate
Perhaps more than any other environmental issue, the topic of climate change challenges science teachers to accurately convey data, reveal assumptions, and engage critical-thinking skills. Project Learning Tree’s Carbon & Climate e-unit provides activities and resources to help educators meet these challenges, introducing, and educating students to some of the complex issues involved in climate change.
To get the Carbon & Climate e-unit, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar) or purchase the e-unit with accompanying online professional development from shop.plt.org.
Teaching with i-Tree
PLT’s new Teaching with i-Tree unit, designed for use with middle and high school students, includes three hands-on activities that engage students in discovering and analyzing the many ecosystem services that trees provide. Students use the free, online i-Tree Design software – developed by the U.S. Forest Service – to calculate the dollar value of the benefits provided by a tree or a set of trees.
Project Learning Tree’s Energy & Society kit offers K-8 students opportunities to learn about their relationship with energy. The activities develop students’ critical thinking skills to help them make decisions about their personal energy use. In addition to hands-on activities, this curriculum integrates music and dance to enhance the study of energy issues.
To get Energy & Society, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar).
Engage students in STEM as they investigate their school site, energy use, water, waste and recycling practices. Five investigations empower students to make their schools green and healthy.
Register to access each investigation online, or purchase a print copy of the complete set. Attend an online GreenSchools training for tips on starting a program at your school, how to obtain equipment, collect data, etc.
The vast majority of Florida teachers and youth live in urban forests. While some of the PLT activities are well suited for use in urban areas, few of them convey the many benefits of urban forests to city residents. This is a companion document for educators who have the PLT PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. This supplement helps youth see their community's urban forests as significant, valuable, and worth sustaining. It is based on three themes: urban forest ecology, benefits of an urban forest, and strategies for improving urban forest health.
This 79-page document provides educators with background information and identifies 28 PLT activities that already work well in urban areas; 19 PLT activities that can be adapted with suggestions to be more applicable to an urban space; 6 urban forest extensions to existing PLT activities; and 6 new urban forest activities. A committee of natural resource professionals and educators reviewed this document for factual and educational accuracy.
Click here to access the supplement.
The What is a Healthy Forest? PLT supplement builds on activities from Project Learning Tree’s Pre K–8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. The Pre K–8 Environmental Education Activity Guide is a national environmental education resource with 96 engaging activities that help educators introduce trees, forests, and environmental issues to youth.
The goal of this supplement to the national Pre K–8 Environmental Education Activity Guide is to convey basic concepts of forest health, which of course should build upon a knowledge of trees and forests. The supplement focuses on Florida forest insects and pathogens, Florida forest ecosystems, and Florida forest management strategies.
The supplement contains 5 new activities, extensions to 13 Project Learning Tree Activities and can complement the science curriculum for grades 5-7.
Click here to access this supplement.
Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers
Help youth discover careers in sustainable forestry and conservation! Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers includes four hands-on instructional activities to help youth research forestry jobs, and practice managing and monitoring forest resources. It is designed for educators, career and guidance counselors, Scouts, 4-H, and FFA leaders, foresters, and job training advisors to use with learners aged 12–25.
To receive Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers, attend a Project Learning Tree professional development training (click here to view the Florida professional development training calendar) or purchase a copy at shop.PLT.org.
Literacy and Nature
The State of Florida places a strong emphasis on reading at all grade levels, especially in elementary schools. Many PLT activities suggest book titles to integrate reading and science but do not provide reading lesson plans or worksheets. Providing environmental stories with reading and writing exercises may encourage teachers to incorporate environmental education activities into their classroom.
To experiment with our ability to provide third and fourth grade teachers with reading and writing exercises, we selected four PLT activities and found complementary, popular reading books at grade level for students. For each book reading exercises and writing prompts were developed, modeled after exercises teachers use with their classroom reader. Teachers can use natural resource-based stories and books to teach reading if they are given worksheets and exercises that engage students in reading and writing skills. Although the reading and writing exercises are correlated to the outdated Sunshine State Standards, the actual questions, vocabulary, and other components will be helpful to classroom teachers.
Teacher's guide to third and fourth grade readings and writing exercises (PDF format):