Environmental Education for Grades K-5
Why Environmental Education is Important
America is in the midst of one of the most profound and rapid societal shifts in history. Today’s generation of children is the first to grow up indoors. Their “plugged-in” lives are often devoid of exploring the natural world. As tomorrow’s leaders, they need to be equipped for the challenges the future brings, and it is our responsibility to prepare our children for the future they will inherit. That requires a commitment to providing our children with environmental education.
Environmental literacy is of particular importance in Louisiana. Louisiana’s positioning at the mouth of the Mississippi River makes it extremely vulnerable as over 30 states in the U.S. drain down the river bringing with it toxic runoff, litter, and debris. In July 2017, LSU professor Mark Benfield concluded a study that found the Gulf of Mexico has concentrations of microplastics among the highest reported globally. In 2016, the KLB Board of Directors committed to making environmental education a greater priority for the organization.
KLB’s Environmental Education Program, Rocksey’s Toolbox was developed from that charge. Later that same year, KLB worked with Representative Stuart Bishop to pass legislation requiring litter education in grades K to 5th grades. The desired result of this program is an increase in knowledge and awareness that yields a positive change in perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to the environmental issues taught in the lessons for students. Students will become more engaged in their community because the lessons they learn from this program are transferable skills that will empower them to actively work toward resolving community environmental problems. An engaged and caring generation that has a better understanding of the important role they play in the care of their community and state will result long term.
Environmental Education Curriculum
In the spring of 2016, Louisiana Act 72 was signed into law, requiring that students in grades K-5 receive education about litter and its vast implications on our environment. Keep Louisiana Beautiful has created a K-5 environmental education lesson plans and activities that focus on litter, pollution, recycling, and environmental stewardship to protect our watershed and the Gulf. This curriculum is available for download below, complete with lesson plans, activity sheets, and student standards for both formal and informal educators (parents, troop leaders, etc.).
Lesson Plan 1: What is Litter?
Lesson Plan 2: Timeline of Trash
Lesson Plan 3: Litter Decomposition
Lesson Plan 4: What is a Watershed?
Lesson Plan 5: Keeping Our Water Clean
Lesson Plan 6: Trash Effects on Wildlife
Lesson Plan 9: Reusing, Repurposing
Lesson Plan 10: Environmental Stewardship and Civic Responsibility
Lesson 1 Activity Sheets: How Trash Adds Up; Put Litter Where it Belongs
Lesson 2 Activity Sheets: What is it?; Trash Talk
Lesson 3 Activity Sheets: Composting Crossword Puzzle; I Spy
Lesson 4 Activity Sheets: Where is your Watershed?; Watershed Word Jumble
Lesson 5 Activity Sheets: Bad News for Clean Water; The Water Story
Lesson 6 Activity Sheets: Rocksey, You Look Different!; Watershed Word Jumble
Lesson 7 Activity Sheets: Plastics!; It’s all Plastic
Lesson 8 Activity Sheets: These Items Need to Go – But Where?; Put the Can in the Bin
Lesson 9 Activity Sheets: Make it Different, Use it Again; Repurpose With a Purpose
Lesson 10 Activity Sheets: You’re Part of a Community; What Happens Next?
- Rocksey’s Reading List
- Join the Lorax and Help Protect the Environment
- Recycle City
- How does EPA Protect the Environment Activity Book
- My Environment
- How’s My Waterway
- Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides and Online Environmental
- Resources for Educators Learning and Teaching about the Environment
- National Environmental Education Foundation Toolkits
- NOAA Education Materials
- USGS Learning from Home