Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides and Online Resources for Educators

Find an array of environmental and science based lesson plans, activities and ideas below from EPA, other federal agencies and external organizations. Encontrar recursos para estudiantes y maestros.

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Acid Rain: A Teacher's Guide (PDF 56 pp, 4.6 MB)
Lesson plan and activities from EPA for teachers on acid rain.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Acid Rain Educational Resources from EPA
Experiments and activities, basic acid rain concepts, and things you can do about acid rain.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plans and experiments

Carl Gets Some Rest (PDF 12 pp, 765 KB)
This EPA coloring and story book, for children in pre-school through 2nd grade, teaches a simple lesson: there are many transportation alternatives to using a car.
Grades: K-2
Type of Resource: Coloring Book

Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
This EPA page provides information on indoor air quality in school buildings and how to order the Tools for Schools Action Kit. The kit shows how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air quality at little or no cost using common-sense activities and in-house staff.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Toolkit

Noise Pollution for Kids (PDF 15 pp, 6.54 MB)
This EPA booklet for your students will teach you how to identify which sounds are loud and ways to protect your hearing and health.
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Activity book

Particulate Matter (PM) Air Sensor Kits
Particle pollution known as particulate matter (PM) is one of the major air pollutants regulated by EPA to protect public health and the environment. A PM air sensor kit has been developed by EPA researchers as an educational tool to teach children about air quality and air science.
Grades: 5-12
Type of Resource: Hands-on activity guide

Basic Ozone Layer Science
Find a straightforward explanation of the ozone layer and ozone depletion.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
A brief introduction to the 1990 version of the Clean Air Act, to help you understand what is in the law and how it may affect you.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Booklet

RadTown USA
EPA's RadTown USA is a virtual community that aims to educate students about the sources of radiation in our daily lives.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Virtual activity

Why is Coco Orange?
Coco has a problem. He is a chameleon, but he cannot change colors, and his asthma is acting up. Read how Coco and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy when the air quality is bad.
Grades: Pre K-2
Type of Resource: Book

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AIRNOW
Get up-to-the-minute information about air pollution in your community, through a joint project from EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service and other partners. The AIRNOW website includes maps, forecasts, and information about the health effects of air pollution.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

AIRNOW Air Quality Resources 
Find air quality curriculum materials and activities from AIRNOW, including a toolkit and workshop opportunities for teachers.
Grades: K-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide 

AIRNOW's Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby
Ozone acts as a protective layer high above the Earth, but it can be harmful to breathe. This publication provides basic information about ground-level and high-altitude ozone. See a quick animation on Ozone too.
Grades:6-12
Type of Resource: Booklet/Brochure

NOAA's Education Resources Website
Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
Grades: 6-12

NOAA Research: Teacher Information 
Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
Grades: 9-12
Type of resource:  Lesson Plan

Generate! Game
An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
Grades: 6-12
Type of Resource: Board game and teacher guides.

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Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit: A toolkit for formal and informal educators
EPA, in partnership with the National Park Service and with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a kit for use when talking with the public about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands.
Grades: all

NASA's Climate Kids
Geared toward students, the multimedia-rich Climate Kids site uses games, humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.
Grades: K-12

NOAA's Education Resources Website
Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
Grades: 6-12

NOAA Research: Teacher Information 
Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
Grades: 9-12

NOAA's Discover Your Changing World Activity Book
This free activity book will introduce your students to the essential principles of climate science and what you can do to protect our Earth.

Adopt Your Watershed
Explore EPA's watershed database or add your watershed to the system.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Database

America's Wetlands 
This resource will give you a better understanding of the rich variety of wetlands, their importance, how they are threatened, and what can be done to conserve them for future generations.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Booklet

Coral Reef Protection: What are coral reefs?
Explore EPA's resources on coral reef protection to learn why coral reefs are important and what is being done to protect them.
Grades: 6-12
Type of Resource: Website

EnviroAtlas Case Study
Ecosystems such as forests and wetlands provide many essential benefits, including clean air and water, food, fiber, and recreational opportunities. The benefits people receive from nature, called "ecosystem goods and services,” are critically important to human health and well-being, but they are often overlooked due to lack of information. EnviroAtlas is a freely available web-based resource that combines an interactive mapping application, analysis tools, and interpretive information on ecosystem goods and services. EnviroAtlas allows users to visually interpret ecosystem services and understand how they can be conserved and enhanced. Explore this unique resource and use this Case Study to introduce your students to EnviroAtlas.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website, Teacher's Guide

Estuaries: Fundamentals
What is an estuary? Why are estuaries important? Find core information from EPA on estuaries and the National Estuary Program.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Exploring Estuaries
This EPA sitem aimed at children, provides introductory information on estuaries for students of various ages and background information for teachers. Includes activities, games and a glossary.
Grades: 6-12
Type of Resource: Interactive website

Hazardous Waste and Ecosystems
A classroom activity to help students recognize that hazardous waste may have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and that these impacts are not always easy to identify. Find full inforamtion 
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Save Our Species: Endangered Species Coloring Book 
Coloring book about endangered species
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Activity book

Stream Corridor Restoration Module
As part of EPA's Watershed Academy, this module provides an explanation of the structure of streams, their role in the environment, and discusses stream restoration.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Training module

Wetlands Education
Everything you need to help your student understand wetlands and how they fit into the water cycle and the environment. A portal site of links to activities, curriculum, education programs, resources and teaching tools to assist you in wetlands and habitat education.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Website, curriculum guides, teaching tools

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Everglades National Park for Teachers
Are you interested in teaching your students about the Florida Everglades? Check out this site to find activities and background information that will help you tell the story of this fascinating natural ecosystem. Even if you don't live near the Everglades, you will find valuable information that can be applied to many ecosystems throughout the country.
Grades: All

Fish and Wildlife Service's Let's Go Outside Educator Materials
Why take your students outside? Simply put…because it can improve both classroom learning and classroom behavior. There is no doubt that as a teacher, you get pulled in many directions as you try to offer your students the best possible educational opportunities. It is a balancing act – you have to make some tough choices about how your students spend their time. Learn more about the Schoolyard Habitat Program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Website

Forests Lesson Plan
A lesson plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Grades: K-5
Subtopic: ecosystem
Type of Resource: Lesson Plan

Resources To Learn More About Endangered Species
From the Fish and Wildlife Service, a list of materials that may give you some ideas to help a species near you get on its road to recovery, because recovery is the ultimate goal for each threatened and endangered species.
Grades: All

NASA Educational Resources and NASA Wavelength
Search NASA for teaching materials on: earth science, general science, history, math, physical science, and space science.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Searchable database of teaching materials

National Estuarine Research Reserve System K-12 Educator Resources
Estuaries, where rivers meet the sea, are facinating ecosystems. Find out about what makes estuaries special, the threats to estuarine ecosystems and explore estuaries around the U.S.
Grades: 9-12

National Wetlands Research Center
This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
Grades: 9-12

National Park Service Education Resources
Classroom materials, field trip opportunities and professional development programs for educators from the National Park Service.
Grades: All

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
Learn what this office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to protect marine mammals and endangered species.
Grades: 6-8

Schoolyard Habitat
The Schoolyard Habitat program helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat on school grounds.
Grades: All

U.S. Forest Service Education Toolbox
The Educator Toolbox from the U.S. Forest Service is jam-packed with helpful resources to make your challenging job just a little easier. Here you will find background resources to help you understand forests and grasslands, professional development opportunities and resources, and a collection of great materials and programs organized by grade-level.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Toolkit

Wildlife Fact Sheets
From the Fish and Wildlife Service, basic information about species of regular public interest. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the factsheets.
Grades: 9-12

ENERGY STAR Kids
Students can learn to use energy wisely and be an energy star. Find related publications for download and order.
Grades: K-8
Type of Resource: website

Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: High School 
This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels, and how to calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
Grades: 9-12
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Fuel Economy and Environment Labels: Middle School 
This activity lets students learn about fuel economy and environment labels and calculate the cost and emissions associated with cars. Students will understand the concept of fuel economy and compare and contrast various fuel types.
Grades: 5-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Generate! Game
An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
Grades: 6-12
Type of Resource: Board game and teacher guides.

Join the Lorax
From the ENERGY STAR program, familiar characters like the Lorax will help students understand energy efficiency and how to use energy wisely. Download the accompanying activity book.
Type of Resource: Website and activity book.

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Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kids Home Page
Kids Saving Energy. Games tips and facts for kids who want to save energy.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Website

Department of Energy Educator Resources
Find the complete set of lesson plans, student competitions, workbooks, videos and more from the Department of Energy. Grades: k-12
Type of resource: Website

Asthma
Asthma and upper respiratory illnesses information from EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Chemical Safety Resource for Middle School Teachers
In this lesson students will participate in a chemical survey activity regarding the household chemicals and cleaners used in and around their house. They will conduct a simple survey with parental supervision and answer questions about how many and what kind of chemicals they found. Students will also brainstorm on how chemical safety can prevent pollution at home.
Grades: 5-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Environmental Health Science Education
Lesson plans and classroom activities for teachers on environmental health science from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plans, activity guides, factsheets

A Citizens Guide to Radon
A complete guide to taking action to lower the radon level in your home. It offers strategies for testing and discussions of what steps to take after you have tested, discussions of the risk of radon and radon myths.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Guide

Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke can cause health problems in children and adults. Read about the risks of environmental tobacco smoke and find links to research studies about the issue.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Help! It's a Roach!
Roaches are one of the most common household pests. Once they move into your home, they multiply quickly. That makes them even harder to control. Use this Web site and complete the activities to learn what kids and adults can do.
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Interactive website

Hold the Mold 
In this lesson, students will learn about the different kinds of mold and how it grows.
They will conduct an experiment to grow and observe the growth of different kinds of food molds
and understand the health effects of mold and how to recognize and prevent mold growth.
Grades: 5-8
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Lead Blockers 
In this lesson students will learn about the health effects of lead and through a game of tag.  Students will model the process of certain nutrients that can block lead absorption. As part of the activity, students will brainstorm on ways to prevent lead exposure at home.
Grades: K-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil
Find information about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention in the home.
Grades: 9-12
Type of resource: Website

Mercury Bioaccumulation Tag
This activity lets students model the processes of mercury bioaccumulation and biomagnification in an aquatic food chain. Students will understand the health effects of mercury and demonstrate an understanding of how mercury becomes present in fish.
Grades: 5-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Recipes for Health Kids and a Healthy Environment
A nine-lesson program designed to excite kids about environmental health and to empower them to take steps in their everyday lives to improve the environment for their community and reduce environmental risk.
Grades: 4-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

The Ultraviolet Index
Several publications explaining the Ultraviolet Index and steps you can take to minimize the risks from overexposure to the sun's rays. Each is available for reading online and downloading.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website and database

Water on Tap: What You Need to Know
Where does your drinking water come from? How is it treated? How do you protect it? This is the place to get the answers to these and other drinking-water questions.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Factsheet/brochure

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Environmental Health Science Education
Portal site for students, teachers and scientists on environmental health information, activities, jobs, and developmental opportunities.
Grades: 6-12

National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)  
Everything you ever wanted to know about pesticides in one easy location. This cooperative effort between EPA and Oregon State University provides information from EPA, state agencies, academia and Canada, including information for health care providers.
Grades: 9-12

Sunwise: Sun Safety for Kids and Educators
SunWise Partner Schools sponsor classroom and school-wide activities that raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation, and simple sun safety practices. The SunWise Toolkit is free to registered schools.
Grades: K-8
Type of Resource: Website and toolkit

Basic Information about Waste Management, Recycling, and Pollution Prevention
Find core information on sustainable materials management and pollution prevention at the source.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Resources for Students and Educators
Find games and classroom resources like Recycle City and the Planet Protector series, including a teachers guide.
Type of Resource: Website

Pack a Waste Free Lunch
Find easy ways to encourage students (and parents) to reduce waste at lunchtime.
Type of Resource: Toolkit

Life of a Soccer Ball
Help your students explore the lifecycle of a familiar object, from how it's made to ideas for extending it's life in new ways.
Type of Resource: Poster/Flyer

Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
This document describes how people can help solve a growing problem...garbage!
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Pollution Prevention Toolbox
The toolbox contains a series of four-page lesson plans on various pollution prevention concepts for schools.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

The Quest for Less: Activities and Resources for Teaching K-8
Use this resource to develop lesson plans, incorporate a range of activities into various subject areas throughout the school year.
Grades: K-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects  (PDF 245K, 16 pp) 
Resource booklet designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects en Español  (PDF 223K, 16 pp)
Resource booklet in Spanish designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

Superfund Basics
This page provides an overview of the Superfund program, highlights key steps in the Superfund cleanup process, explains how the program is enforced, describes EPA's Superfund offices, and links to other EPA hazardous-waste programs.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
EPA's Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools helps your school and school district reduce the amount of waste you generate. You'll learn how to start a waste reduction program or expand an existing one. The guide will show you how your program can benefit your school, your community, and the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your waste.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide

Where Can I Take My Computer?
Web sites and organizations that can provide information on opportunities for donating and recycling computers and other electronics.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Acid Rain: A teacher's guide for grades 6 through 8 (PDF 56 pp, 4.6 MB)
A lesson plan and activities from EPA for teachers on acid rain.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Acid Rain Educational Resources from EPA
Experiments and activities, a review of basic acid rain concepts, factsheets, and things you can do about acid rain.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plans and experiments

Adopt Your Watershed
Explore EPA's watershed database or add your watershed to the system.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Database

Beach Kids
Whether you live near a beach or not, visit EPA's Beach Kids site to learn about beaches and how to protect them.
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Interactive website

Darby Duck and the Aquatic Crusaders
Find seven experiments from EPA to learn about the characteristics of water.
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Lesson plan and experiments

Drinking Water & Ground Water Kids' Stuff
Games, activities, and art projects from EPA about the water cycle and water treatment.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plans

Ground Water Contamination
Find a general review of groundwater contamination and where it occurs.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

How's My Waterway?
Learn the condition of local streams, lakes, and other waters anywhere in teh U.S., searching EPA's database of water quality monitoring reports.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website/app

How People Get Their Water - Reservoirs: "Holding Tanks" for Drinking Water (PDF 124 KB, 1 pp)
Let your students "Ride the Water Cycle" with this activity from EPA. Help them understand the role of reservoirs in maintaining a reliable supply of drinking water.
Grades: 4-8
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Magnificent Ground Water Connection
This ground-water activity guide is applicable to a wide range of subject matter and the topics include basic concepts on the water cycle, water distribution, treatment, and stewardship. This page includes five sample lesson activity plans.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Curriculum guide and lesson plans

On Your Mark, Set, Evaporate (PDF 4.73 MB, 398 pp)
This EPA lesson plan covers transpiration as part of the hydrologic cycle.
Grades: 6-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Thirstin Builds an Aquifer 
This activity illustrates how water is stored in an aquifer, how ground water can become contaminated, and how this contamination ends up in a drinking water well. Ultimately, students should get a clear understanding of how careless use and disposal of harmful contaminants above the ground can potentially end up in the drinking water below the ground. This particular experiment can be done by each student at their work station. Use the interactive website or PDF version (PDF 240 KB, 2 pp)
Grades: K-3
Type of resource: Website and lesson plan

Thirstin's Groundwater Movement Activity (PDF 332 KB, 2 pp)
This class activity demonstrates that ground water must be able to move through underground materials. The students will act as molecules of water and the underground materials.
Grades: K-5
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Tracking Pollution - A Hazardous Whodunit
A Thirstin lesson plan to teach students to make a topographic map, use it to predict ground water flow and investigate the most likely source of ground water contamination.
Grades: 9-12
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Water Sense Resources
Resources for educating students about "Fix a Leak Week," EPA's WaterSense Partnership program and water efficiency.
Grades: K-8
Type of resource: Lesson plan

Water Sourcebooks
The Water Sourcebooks from EPA explain the water management cycle and show how it affects all aspects of the environment. 324 activities for grades K-12 are divided into four sections: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Curriculum Guide

What's Up with Our Nation's Waters
Find a report on measuring water quality, water quality science projects, and what you can do to protect waterways.
Grades: 6-8
Type of Resource: Factsheet/brochure

Watershed Academy
The Watershed Academy is a focal point in EPA's Office of Water for providing training and information on watershed management. The Academy's self-paced training modules and webcast seminars provide current information from national experts across a broad range of watershed topics.
Grades: 9-12, College, Adult Learners
Type of Resource: Self paced online modules

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National Wetlands Research Center
This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
Grades: 9-12

NOAA's Education Resources Website
Explore this site to find the information you need to teach students about weather, climate change, and oceans. You'll find activities, background information, and much more!
Grades: 6-12

Science with NOAA Research: Teacher Information 
Online science lessons for students and teachers. Covers earth systems that have to do with the oceans and lakes: storms, El Nino, the atmosphere, and fisheries.
Grades: 9-12

National Ocean Service Education
Find case studies, tutorials, games, and more from NOAA's National Ocean Service.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Website

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
Learn what this office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to protect marine mammals and endangered species.
Grades: 6-8

Water Science for Schools
This site provides extensive background information on a wide variety of water topics. It also includes on-line activities, data tables, maps, and a glossary of terms.
Grades: 6-12