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How to Start a Sustainability Learning Program

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How to Start a Sustainability Learning Program

Are you looking to incorporate “Sustainability” into your classroom lessons but don’t know where to begin? Then keep reading because we have gathered some of the easiest and most practical ways to begin your journey in integrating a sustainability program into your current curriculum. 

Adding any new component to an existing educational program can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t completely familiar with the concepts or haven’t changed your program in quite some time. At the same time, by developing a sustainability educational program that complements your current curriculum, both you and your students can experience an enriching and impactful program that can open everyone’s eyes to new possibilities. Here's a quick step-by-step approach to help you integrate the concepts of sustainability into lesson plans effectively: 

  1. Assess Current Curriculum: As a starting point, begin by assessing the existing curriculum to identify areas where sustainability can be seamlessly integrated. You can do this by looking for related subjects including but not limited to science, social studies, geography, mathematics and language arts – areas of study where core sustainability concepts are relevant. 

  1. Identify Objectives: What is the purpose of your new program additions and what do you want to achieve? Define clear learning objectives for the sustainability program. These objectives should align with educational standards and address key concepts such as environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic viability. 

  1. Take an Interdisciplinary Approach: Incorporate sustainability across multiple disciplines to provide a holistic understanding. For example, in science classes, students can learn about ecosystems, renewable energy, and climate change. In social studies, they can explore global environmental issues and sustainable development goals. 

  1. Provide Hands-on Learning Experiences: When it comes to retaining information, hands-on learning can’t be beat. At AquaGrove, we have seen first-hand the unmatched progress students have made when they are immersed in hands-on learning with the system. It is important for your new program to include a variety of hands-on learning experiences such as field trips to eco-friendly businesses, community gardens, or nature reserves. These experiences provide practical insights into sustainability practices, build community relationships, and foster a deeper connection to the environment. 

  1. Offer Project-Based Learning: Project-based learning activities enable students to apply sustainability principles to real-world problems. For example, they can design and implement water conservation programs, conduct energy audits, or create proposals for sustainable urban gardens. 

  1. Invite Guest Speakers and Experts: By inviting guest speakers from environmental organizations, government agencies, or local businesses to share their expertise and insights, you can inspire students and provide valuable real-world perspectives on current and future sustainability issues. 

  1. Include Technology and Multimedia: Technology can be a valuable tool in research and expanding teaching tools for your program. Technology and multimedia resources can be used to engage students and enhance learning experiences through virtual reality simulations, documentary screenings, interactive websites/apps, progress tracking, and more.  

  1. Evaluate and Measure: It is important to develop assessment tools to measure students' understanding of sustainability concepts and their ability to apply them in different contexts. Assessment methods can include presentations, essays, projects, and discussions. As the program develops, you should regularly evaluate its effectiveness and make adjustments based on feedback from students, teachers, and other participants. Continuous improvement ensures that the program remains relevant and engaging over time. 

By following the above listed steps, educators can create a comprehensive and dynamic sustainability program that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to be empowered and become responsible global citizens.