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Lesson Descriptions

All EnviroChallenger lessons are free to Tacoma K - 12 public schools and alternate learning programs. Explore the grade level dropdowns below for a list of lessons, resources, and suggestions.

 

Explore the Art EnviroChallenger lessons available for grades K-8.


Elementary School Lessons (Grades K - 5)

  

reTacoma Recycles (Grades K-3, 30 minutes)

 

 Did you know that all of our stuff is made from planet Earth? In this lesson students will learn about the awesome connections between Earth’s unique habitats and everyday items like paper, cans, and plastic bottles. Through hands-on games and activities students will discover that recycling is a great way to give our stuff a new life and protect our beautiful planet.

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

It's a Solid Waste Mystery! (Grades 4-5, 50 minutes)

The Key to the City has gone missing and we need your help to find it! The Key makes sure our garbage is collected, recyclables are recycled, and food waste turns into compost – without it Tacoma will become a stinky mess! In this lesson students will explore the City’s solid waste streams by becoming super sleuths. To solve the case students will interview experts, search for hints, and crack codes. Where is the Key to the City and how did it go missing? Let’s find out together!

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

litterMore Litter, More Problems (Grades 4-5, 50 minutes)

 

Litter impacts the health of our neighborhoods and local waterways, like Swan Creek and Puget Sound. In this lesson students will learn about the connections between litter, stormwater, and surface water pollution. Through an interactive mapping activity, data collection, and hands-on activities students will learn that science can help us make decisions to solve real-world problems.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

2-5-Tree: Why Plant a Tree? (2 - 5, 50 minutes)


What do trees do for our environment and urban spaces? What happens when trees are not around? Students learn trees clean our air, impact climate issues, filter and help manage our rain/storm water as well as provide food and habitats for many living things. Also, they are fun and beautiful to have in our yards and play places.

  

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge. 

 

Clean-Go-BINGO!: Can You Clean without Chemicals? (2 - 5, 50 minutes)


Through an interactive game of Clean-Go-Bingo, students learn about the caution, warning, and danger labels on hazardous household products as well as greener, more natural alternatives. As students play, the EnviroChallenger educators will answer questions and share stories to help them understand new vocabulary and concepts.


Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

Down the Storm Drain

If it hits the Ground, It Hits the Sound: Down the Storm Drain (2 - 5, 50 minutes)

 

Find out what goes down the storm drains in Tacoma and how it affects water quality. How do our actions affect water quality? Where do the chemicals we use on our lawn and garden go when it rains? While playing an interactive matching game, students will see how their actions affect water quality. 

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge. 

 

Save our Salmon

Save Our Salmon: Is Something Fishing Going on? (2 - 5, 50 minutes)

 

Where have all the salmon gone? During this lesson about salmon and water quality, students hypothesize reasons for the decline in salmon populations, play a game about the salmon life cycle and brainstorm ways to help save the threatened and endangered fish. While playing the game, students encounter factors that are critical to salmon survival. After the game, students express actions they can take to help salmon survive and thrive.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

 

Talking Trash

Choose to be Idle Free! (4 -5, 50 minutes)

 

What's idling? 

Idling is when the car is parked but still running even though it's not going anywhere! Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions than stopping and restarting the car! That means more smog and more climate change!

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.


 

Toxic Toilets

Toxic Toilets and Sick Sinks: What's in Your Sewer? (2 - 5, 50 minutes)

 

Find out what causes problems in the sewers. What gripes your pipes? Are you putting things down the drain that don’t belong there? Be careful. Some items like chemicals, oils and medicines can cause problems for your pipes, the treatment plant and the environment. In this lesson, students play a game where they are water drops traveling through the sewer lines. As they play, they find out what should and should not go down our drains. Students will learn about alternatives and proper disposal for things commonly flushed down or rinsed into the sewer.


Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge. 

 

Water Water Everywhere

Water, Water Everywhere: How Can You Keep it Clean? (2 -5, 50 minutes)


Learn how pollution affects the water cycle.  Students will unearth the importance of protecting and preserving this natural resource by learning about the water cycle and how pollution affects it. In this activity each student becomes a drop of water and collects different colored stamps as they flow through the water cycle. Putting their new aqua-information to work, the class discusses how to keep water clean and the environment healthy.


Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

  

Middle School Lessons

 

 

keys

It's a Solid Waste Mystery! (6, 50 minutes)

 

The Key to the City has gone missing and we need your help to find it! The Key makes sure our garbage is collected, recyclables are recycled, and food waste turns into compost – without it Tacoma will become a stinky mess! In this lesson students will explore the City’s solid waste streams by becoming super sleuths. To solve the case students will venture out on virtual field trips, search for clues, solve puzzles, and even “interview” City employees to collect information. Where is the Key to the City and how did it go missing? Let’s find out together!

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

 

plasticplant

Plastic Planet (6 - 8, 50 minutes)

 

Single-use plastic products are ubiquitous in our society.

 Disposable bottles, utensils, and bags are cheap, convenient and widely used products, BUT they also have a large impact on the environment. In this lesson students will learn about the science of plastic - how it is made, used, and disposed of. Students will also explore how we can reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics to protect our planet.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

 

climatechange

Climate Change Connections (6 - 8,  50 minutes)

 

Climate change is expected to impact nearly every aspect of our daily lives. In this hands-on lesson, students will explore the science of global warming, the local impacts of climate change, and how these issues intersect with social justice, health, economy, and more. Students will also discover some of the climate change solutions included in the City's Climate Action Plan, which aims to help our community significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. Together we can build a more climate-resilient Tacoma!

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

litter

More Litter, More Problems (6 - 8, 50 minutes)

 

Litter impacts the health of our neighborhoods and local waterways, like Swan Creek and Puget Sound. In this lesson students will learn about the connections between litter, stormwater, and surface water pollution. Through an interactive mapping activity, data collection, and hands-on activities students will learn that science can help us make decisions to solve real-world problems.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

Clean Go Bingo

Clean-Go-Bingo: Can you clean without chemicals? (6 - 8, 50 minutes)

 

Through an interactive game of Clean-Go-Bingo, students learn about the caution, warning, and danger labels on hazardous household products as well as greener, more natural alternatives. As students play, the EnviroChallenger educators will answer questions and share stories to help them understand new vocabulary and concepts.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

Flush out the Facts

Flush Out the Facts (6 - 8, 50 minutes)

 

Is it really flushable? In this lesson, students learn about the history of toilets, Tacoma's sewer system and why it is important that only appropriate items be flushed. During the lesson, students develop and conduct their own investigation to test the flushability of four products that are often considered flushable. In their experiment, students identify their hypotheses and outline the controlled, manipulated and responding variables. At the end of the lesson, students see what items can't be flushed using the results of their scientific experiment.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

Jeopardy

Our World is in Jeopardy: What Can You Do to Help? (6 - 8, 50 minutes)

 

When you throw something away, where does it go? When you throw something away, it doesn't just disappear. Your garbage gets packed up and moved to a landfill where it will stay buried forever. What can you do to keep trash out of the landfill and save Mother Nature's natural resources? It starts with the 5 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, Responsible. In this lesson, students learn where Tacoma's garbage goes, what happens to it and they can do to reduce the amount of garbage they generate. Then students hit the daily double by playing Jeopardy to test their new-found garbage knowledge.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.

 

Surface Water

Storm Water Investigation (SWI): Can You Solve the Mystery? (50 minutes) 

 

Find out what's in the City's surface water (hint: it's not just water). What's going down the storm drain? Is it oily? Does it have bubbles? Is it a funny color? It's not just water! Everyday habits like washing and maintaining our cars, taking care of our lawns, and disposing of pet waste affect the water that goes down the storm drain and then flows - untreated - to rivers, lakes and Commencement Bay.With the help of the EnviroChallenger educator, students will make predictions based on investigative questions, learn how to test the quality of the surface water, how to locate points of pollution and how to prevent pollution from entering the surface water system.

 

Pre/Post Lesson - Use this activity to better prepare your students before the lesson and as a follow-up to check student knowledge.


Flush Out the Facts (50 minutes) In-person only
Flush Out the Facts (50 minutes) In-person only
Flush Out the Facts (50 minutes) In-person only
Flush Out the Facts (50 minutes) In-person only

EnviroClips

The EnviroChallengers introduce the basics of the environment and sustainability within the City of Tacoma

 

EnviroShorts

To help get the most out of your lesson, watch any of the related EnviroShorts videos with your class before you meet with the EnviroChallengers.

 

 

 



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