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Day 5: Students learn how schools can participate in energy conservation


Language Arts, Science, Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Do Something about… the Environment 10-Day Unit
Lesson 5: How Green is your School
By – Jordyn Wells/Do Something, Inc./
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level – 9-12

Unit Information:

      The following lesson is the fifth lesson of a 10-day

      Environment Curricula from Do Something, Inc.

      Other lessons in this unit are as follows:

Day 1: Introduction

      Introduction to global warming, energy conservation and how rising temperatures affect us locally

Day 2: Its Getting Hot In Here! – The Science of Global Warming

      Students learn about greenhouse gases and the power of language

Day 3: The Consequences of Global Warming

      Students learn about the potential consequences of global warming

Day 4: If the shoe fits… Learning about Ecological Footprints

      Students examine their own energy consumption and conservation

Day 5: How Green Is Your School (See the lesson below)

      Students learn how schools can participate in energy conservation

Day 6: Energy Hog – Who’s using up all the energy?

      Students compare U.S. energy use to that of other countries

Day 7: Renewable Energy Sources

      Students explore different types of renewable energy sources

Day 8: Renewable Energy – How Do You See It?

      Students discuss the pros/cons of renewable energy

Day 9: The Politics of Energy Conservation

      Students debate the pros/cons of government involvement in energy conservation

Day 10: Presentation Day

    Students present their energy conservation projects

Lesson 5: How Green is your School


  • To learn about how schools can participate in energy conservation


  • Geography Standard 18: Understands global development and environmental issues
  • Language Arts Standard 2: Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing
  • Arts and Communication Standard 4: Understands ways in which the human experience is transmitted and reflected in the arts and communication


  • LEED rating system : Benchmark used to design, construct and operate green buildings


      1. Heat-it up:

        Have students look around the classroom and list everything they see in the classroom that uses energy. How energy efficient do they think their school is? How much energy/resources are wasted daily? Discuss with students how higher heating costs have made some school districts think twice about school trips and the number of days class is in session.


        for further information.

      2. Provide Background:

        Read and discuss what this article says about green schools:

      3. Introduce students to the LEED rating system.

        Ask students if they were going to look at how green a building is, what factors would they investigate? Gather a list from the students and then introduce them to the rating system developed by LEED. Compare the student rating system against LEED. Did they include everything on this list? Did they mention components that were not included in LEED? “The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System” is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.” (US Green Building Council). LEED has developed a rating system for schools. This rating system looks at elements such as air quality, cleaning and chemical use, water efficiency, recycling, exterior maintenance and system maintenance to meet high energy performance standards (from US Green Building Council).
        You can go to


        r more information about the LEED rating system.
      4. Introduce students to one energy-saving concept called green roofs.


green roof

        is a roof or building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. This does not refer to roofs which are merely colored green, as with green shingles. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems.” (


        for more information about the pros and cons of making roofs green.

      5. Synthesize:

        Have students develop their own plan for a “

Green School

      “. They can draw out the plans and write a brief explanation of their ideas for their green school. Students should focus on the following questions:

      1. What innovations could they design in the architecture?
      2. How could the curriculum/student activities support an ecological design?
      3. Why should the city give public money to building a new school?
        How efficient are “Green Schools”?
        Students can read about other Green schools:
        1. – Schools across the nation that are taking steps to being more green

    6. Take Action:

      Have students continue working in their action groups.

Other Activities:

  • Math/ Civics: Have students develop a survey to measure how green their school is? Share the results with the student body.

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