Explore the map and discover what one country can learn from one another

This blog is a space for elementary school teachers and students to communicate without borders, working together to share ideas and to build a web community interested in teaching facts about environmental issues. I propose focusing on three issues: climate change, waste and recycling, and water pollution.

Click here and then 1) leave your email account open in a separate page; 2) select edit; 3) share a link; 4) write a short comment about the link; and lastly step 5) select save and done.


Recycling: Video and Quiz

A teacher in a private school in Rio de Janeiro, working with first grade, uses a short video to introduce the subject of recycling. After the video presentation, the teacher talks to students about the subject it addresses, that is, the attitude of man throwing plastic bags, food scraps, bottles and other materials into the environment; in the case of the video it is the seas and rivers. The professor emphasized that such attitude shown in the video cause harm and how all of us need the environment to survive. 

 After the video is complete, it suggests an interactive quiz about a lesson on recycling. This quiz helps students learn how long it takes some material used by humans to decompose. 

The day after this class, the teacher asked the students to check the garbage from their homes and make a list of components that are there. The teacher emphasizes this so while they are learning about recycling they are also working on their writing skills learned in school. Then the teacher asks students to take their lists and identify how long each item will take to decay in the landfill.

It is suggested that each student bring their lists with their calculations of each decomposition time of the material to their homes in order to present their parents with what they learned with this project.

Project and Game “Clean River”

A private school in Rio de Janeiro is working with a project called “Clean River.” The project aims at educating the community about the importance of preserving natural resources; especially keeping the rivers free of contamination and waste, such as garbage, sewage and pesticides.

The idea occurred because there was no organized garbage collection in the community. When it rains and flooding occurs, the rivers and nearby places are filled with garbage, used pesticide packaging and other agricultural products. The school and the students decided to be the first task force involved in cleaning, and the community embraced the idea. After the establishment of the Clean River Project, there was a significant improvement with the water problem. Today, there is no longer pesticide packaging and trash in the river.

Each year the amount of waste collected by the project decreases and the profile of litter found has also changed. The initial idea was to have the so-called “Project Day” during the environmental week which takes place every year in June. With the success of their assignment, the school decided to continue the project every year.

On the day of the “Clean River” project, students leave their school buildings and practice what they learned during the year. They distribute pamphlets about the dangers of the dirty rivers on our health and environment. The project serves 12 rural communities.

The school also stimulates the kindergarten kids with a virtual game that will help to collect trash that is polluting the rivers. This prepares the younger children for their upcoming involvement in the project, “Clean River,” in the following years.

The goal of the game is to be fun in interactive ways to encourage children to learn about the importance of taking care of nature. The students have a mission of cleaning up the  river and learn how to separate the components of the trash from the river for recycling. purposes. Click in the picture below and play!

School’s science exposition

Children of the Public School, in Rio de Janeiro show projects created with recycling.


RJTV July 14, 2011

News Anchor: Students from Public School, Renato Leite, are working on environmental issues. The reporter, Mariana Gross will show the extend of creativity these kids have  in creating recycling ideas.

Mariana Gross: This year’s theme of the school’s science exposition is “Education and Values,” and for these students these values ​​have to do with the environment. Among  the projects we can find plant vases made with soda bottles, soda bottles as a decorative item, and even a toy made with plastic bottles. Now let’s talk with the school’s educational coordinator, Monica Bispo. Why did the school decide to focus on environment this year?

Monica Bispo: The idea was to join the school’s science exposition with the Earth Day. Teachers had the idea for this project, the parents liked it, and the students got involved with these projects.

[ The reporter is moving to a small group of students whose project is creating a water filter from the soda bottle]

Mariana Gross: They’re very creative. Could you explain to me what kind of a project is that?

Student: This is a water filter, we pour dirty water here and it comes out clean.

Mariana Gross: What is inside this plastic bottle to filter the water?

Student: It has cotton, sand and gravel.

Mariana Gross: Well, let’s see. Put a little dirty water here so  that we can see how water comes out clean. Students are pouring dirty water in plastic bottles and in a few minutes the water will come out clean as in this other bottle. This is the creativity level of the students.

Mission Antarctica: Interactions between students and scientists

Mission Antarctica: Dr Grzymski Chats with Dilworth Middle School

Researchers in Antarctica with the Desert Research Institute partnered with Dilworth Middle School in Sparks to make science class a lot more engaging. Technology allows cheaper interactions between students and the real world.


KTVN CBS2 October 14, 2011

News Anchor: In school watch tonight, one school has found a pretty rare and unique opportunity to gets its students interested in science. It involves technology, a local professor, and a research facility on the other side of the world. Arianna Bennett joins us now in the news room with the story. Ari, I understand these middle schoolers are working with the researchers via satellite.

Arianna Bennett: That’s right Wendy; a science class at Dilworth middle school started a new program this year. There working with a scientist from the Desert Research Institute, but, he is stationed all the way in Antarctica. The idea is to inspire the students by showing them that science isn’t just about text books and laboratories.

Dr. Joseph Grzymski: When you see what’s outside my window and how cool research really can be, it might inspire a few hundred kids we just talked to.

Arianna Bennett: Students at Dilworth have been following Dr. Grzymski while he conducts his research on tiny organisms called, phytoplankton, that he collects from the ocean around Antarctica. They are using iPads, satellite video connections, and Twitter, to watch and even help with Dr. Grzymski’s work. Today the connected with the DRI professor for a tour of the station, the lab, and even a peek at some of the glaciers outside of his office window; The teachers say, “it’s all about putting science in a new light by showing Dr. Grzymski’s Arctic adventures students can see there is a whole different side to scientific research.”

Geraldine Lemus-Yip, Dilworth Science Teacher: It’s the whole piece of being able to see what a scientist does. Being able to communicate with a scientist, usually all the get to do is read out of a textbook, what science is.

Arianna Bennett: As part of the program, Dr. Grzymski gives the students challenges to solve in competition for prizes and as a reward for a correct answer, one of the students even got to name the research boat, the Excalibur, in honor of the Dilworth mascot. Covering School Watch Live from the newsroom, Arianna Bennett.

Climate Change & K-12 Classrooms: Ideas and Projects


“We are a free program that interacts with the teachers. We bring them resources, hands-on tools, training materials speakers and scientist to go to the schools so the teachers get what they want, right into their curriculum. We want to help them teach the science standards; state and national,” said Karen Severin, Green Power Program Administrator.

Karen Severin:

I’m working with six teachers right now, to build some science boxes, there are a lot of teachers asking for information about climate change. So I don’t get the feeling that it’s a, “don’t talk about subject,” like you hear in the news. Teachers want the information and the ones that I have talk to are very excited that Rajan Chakrabarty (Climate101) is going to put together a workshop for next summer. I think that they are very receptive, they want the information and they want to feel comfortable teaching it. I try to bring them topics that they want to learn about. We are non-profit. We are a free program that interacts with the teachers. We bring them resources, hands-on tools, training materials speakers and scientist to go to the schools so the teachers get what they want, right into their curriculum. We want to help them teach the science standards; state and national. We are just a resource for them to get what they need to teach their students. My biggest block is elementary.

Interviewer: In the Washoe county area as well?

Karen Severin:

Yes, I think throughout the program, elementary teachers. I find it interesting because I am told by teachers that they do not teach a lot of science. I think they are really looking for something that they can use.

I just met Rajan Chakrabarty about a month ago. It was really new to me. I’ve started going through it and I’d like feedback from the teachers. I don’t teach younger students, I teach college aged students. So I really look for them for feedback. As we work with them, we just started a new school year, I put it in our e-newsletter, and I put the link in there and suggested that everyone check it out. We are going to focus on, every time we get together; we have monthly workshops with teachers. I want Rajan to come to our annual trainings that we have. One up here and one in the south; we bring in experts, we do hands-on.

Sierra Nevada Journeys, Envirolutions, are our big partners; we try to bring in something new every year. They are very helpful with funding. Rajan Chakrabarty will certainly be a part of our annual trainings so we can get the teachers. I am going to push it every time I communicate with them to check it out and look at it. And then we can give him some feedback. Another scientist that is working on it is Michelle Breckner. She works in the same area as Rajan although she does not work directly with him; she is more analyzing the climate change data. She is very eager to work with Green Power. She is going to help and add some Nevada components to his web site. I think that it will be helpful to incorporate Nevada weather as well. Maybe some statistics, historical data and she wants to develop some little quizzes and hands-on things that the teachers can get the students to do. I liked his web site because it was very easy to understand.

I am not sure about elementary school but I thought it would be easy for middle and high school aged kids to look at the videos and to listen and get a better understanding. We would love to work with anybody. I think that would be great to get a work shop with Sierra Nevada Journeys to get a coffee meet-and-greet with the scientist; to bring a scientist in to talk about what he does. Just different topics because at DRI we have all of that; land, air, water. Rajan has volunteered to be the first. But something like that were we can say that the stuff is out there. You may not know about it but here it is. Teacher just don’t know that it is out there and they don’t have the time to try and find it on their own. Little activities that they can do in the classroom to help spark their interests, hands-on it the best way.

I have a website; I just worked with the web master today to get a page set up just for Green Power teachers. So that resources like Rajan or you guys or anybody else that we find can be put on there and the teachers can use it as a one-stop-shop. I find a lot of lesson plans and curriculum from the Department of Energy or other schools throughout the country that are really good so I like to post them on there. Bio-energy, how to build a barometer and other stuff like that so the teachers don’t have to take the time to look for it, I know they don’t have the time. We have a page just for Green Power teachers with tabs and events and other things that are going on. There is a resource page for lesson plans curriculum, partner groups have lesson plans that they give out and other information. Before it used to be in binder but now we want to get away from the paper and give them a place to go and find it. That’s what it will be, a link on here. Then we can branch them out to anyone that we can find. Anything that I see that is interesting I post it for them to take advantage of it.

I wanted to use my page as a tool to direct people; here is the entire link so they can go to them. I know Rajan is going to put Green Power on his website and I am going to add his to mine, right on the front. A lot of scientists like Rajan don’t know about Green Power and what we do so we are a big outreach component and maybe we can help them with some of their grants too. Some programs don’t know how to outreach and we can help them do that and then spread the word. Plus get out more scientific information and maybe get them to work with us like Rajan is. We have people working on solar, wind and water resources. They have all kinds of data but how do we get it to the different levels.

Sierra Nevada Journeys, Urban Roots and Envirolutions are all a part of Green Nevada and the website. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, I just met with them and they have a Waste Warrior program where they go to the elementary schools and teach kids what happened to things they put into the trash. Where it goes and how does it impact, what can you do with trash. There are activities they do with the kids where they can show how straws don’t decompose. They are another great organization. Can we make this better or more interesting; hit them at a level where they understand and they begin to want to know more instead of just reading about it or watching a video. Why waste out time when someone is already doing it, let’s take advantage of it.

Climate101: Climate Change Education

Climate101 website

The Climate101 goal is to build an internet site that acts in supplement to current in-class environmental education for K-12 students. Also, it aim for accessibility of the content by the general public. Student learning and their experience will be tracked through surveys and quizzes. The site is appropriate for use in public locations, such as school classrooms, libraries, at home, or at the workplace. Students and teachers may find the site especially helpful while studying and teaching global climate change.

The Climate101 website is an in-depth, easy to understand resource about global climate change for use by the general public, students, and teachers. The project is being developed and maintained by the members of the LASSO (Laboratory for Aerosol Science, Spectroscopy, and Optics) Group – Dr. Rajan Chakrabarty, Dr. Hans Moosmüller, Mark Garro (NSF Graduate Fellow), and Larissa Simone (Undergraduate Research Assistant) – at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, NV. Outreach and continual content updates to this website are made possible through partnerships with Michelle Breckner from the  Western Regional Climate Center and Karen Severin from the Nevada Green Power program.

np. (nd). About us. Retrieved from http://www.climate101.org/about-us/

GreenPower Program

What is GreenPower?

Renewable energy, sometimes referred to as “green power” is power generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass sources. The mission of the GreenPower program is to support and promote educating Nevada’s preK-12 students in renewable energy and incorporating conscious living practices into their daily lives. 

Since its inception in 2000, GreenPower has been a partnership between DRI, volunteer committee members, NV Energy, and their customers. Funded by the generosity of customers voluntarily adding a few dollars to their monthly electrical bill, 100% of the tax-deductible donations go towards renewable energy education in Nevada’s preK-12 schools.

Benefits for Schools

The GreenPower Program helps educators teach students about renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability. With standards-aligned tangible tools and professional development this completely free program helps educators bring green concepts and practices to any preK-12 classroom.

GreenPower schools receive:

• One GreenPower toolkit including hands-on teaching tools such as solar powered car kits and wind turbines as well as age-appropriate books about renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability

• Professional development including annual teacher trainings, monthly workshops, and specialized trainings such as hydroponics and energy-auditing

• Quarterly GreenPower e-newsletters

• Access to the network of GreenPower schools and their teachers

• Priority access to special events and unique offerings

• Professional assistance with special projects

The GreenPower toolkit is available annually, providing schools complete their selected GreenPower Points within the school year. These kits are given to the school free of charge and are the school’s to keep. All items within the kit are aligned to Nevada State Standards. You can see the contents of the Elementary Toolkit and Middle-High Toolkit for the 2010-2012 school year.

There are currently 89 GreenPower schools throughout the state of Nevada and new schools enroll each month.

Contact the GreenPower Program                                                                                  Karen Severin                                                                                                        GreenPower Outreach Administrator                                     

775.673.7412 (Reno)     702.862.5392 (Las Vegas)

np. (nd). What is GreenPower? Retrieved from http://www.dri.edu/greenpower

np. (nd). Benefits for Schools. Retrieved from http://www.dri.edu/benefits-for-schools

EPSCoR Program

The goal of the National Science Foundation program for Climate Change Science, Education and Outreach is to create a statewide interdisciplinary program that stimulates transformative research, education and outreach on the effects of regional climate change on ecosystem resources and supports use of this knowledge by policy makers. The project will build capacity to model regional climate change, evaluate methods to downscale model output, understand and quantify key ecological and hydrological processes, translate climate change science into formats usable by decision-makers, integrate models and data, and transform how students learn about climate change.

Communication of climate change science will be enhanced by use of cyberinfrastructure and involvement of a broad range of students and faculty. A statewide virtual information center for climate change will be created to focus on outreach and communicating findings with the public and policy makers.


The goal of the Education component is to develop educational infrastructure to train students and teachers at all levels to be leaders in climate change research and provide public outreach on climate change issues. Integration of climate change education and research will be enhanced through delivering training programs, developing K-12 curricular materials, and providing courses. Science research teams will be developed from K-12 teachers, community college students, university undergraduates, and graduate students. Researchers on these teams will work with educators in developing new curriculum materials for middle schools, community colleges, and universities. Assessment will be coordinated with schools to ensure that all state standards are met and learning is enhanced through integration of climate change science.

An undergraduate research program focused on climate change within the NSHE system will be developed and an NSF EPSCoR funded Climate Change Scholarship program offered annually to a total of thirty community college and university students focused on climate change and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research. Two annual poster sessions will be held and an annual two-day undergraduate research symposium. New courses on climate change will be offered through UNR and UNLV and taught using distance education to allow students at multiple NSHE campuses to enroll. At the graduate level, a fellowship program will be created in which 12-19 students annually will be accepted to work with NSHE faculty to obtain a certificate in climate change as part of their graduate degree.

To culminate these efforts, a symposium on climate change education will be held during the summer at the beginning of the second year of the program and will include educators at all levels within Nevada and professionals from outside the state. The symposium will focus on a comprehensive evaluation of current climate change educational activities at NSHE institutions and provide a guideline for developing and selecting new courses and integrating curriculum.

Annual Report Highlights

Title: Middle School Teachers Experience First-Hand the Effect of Climate Change on Southern Nevada

Authors: P. Buck (Desert Research Institute) paul.buck@dri.edu, and L. Rudd (Nevada State College) lawrence.rudd@nsc.nevada.edu

Outcome: The 2010 Nevada Summer Institute gave Southern Nevada middle school teachers the opportunity to observe disturbances such as fire and invasive species in the field, and how climate change can impact these disturbances. They learned how invasives such as red brome and cheatgrass can dramatically alter the fire regime, and establish immediately after a fire, outcompeting native species.

Impact: The two-week long Summer Institute on Climate Change Education gives middle school teachers tools for implementing climate change science content and processes into their classrooms. To date, over 2,000 middle school students have been reached and or influenced by the Summer Institute.

np. (nd). Goal. Retrieved from  http://www.nevada.edu/epscor/nsf/climate1/nsfaboutus.html
np. (nd). Education. Retrieved from http://www.nevada.edu/epscor/nsf/climate1/education.html

Waste Management Classroom Resources

Waste Management Website

This website helps the teachers engage the students in one of the most vital conversations: the environment. Inspiring them with activities to expand their understanding of issues such as recycling and natural resource recovery.

The teachers will find an abundance of educational resources on this site, including lesson plans and classroom materials suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels. They will also find teaching activities, video assets, worksheets, puzzles, and more.

There is also an exclusive space to the students resources. Where they can learn about environmental impact around the world. Students will find plenty of ideas and activities on how to contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment. Just by clicking on the students grade level and they can see all the ways they can learn about recycling and the environment.

The teachers can show their students the benefits of thinking green. Simply print the materials find inside this website and hang them at their school or hand them out to their students to show how a small effort by all can make a big difference. 

np. (nd). Classroom Tools. Retrieved from http://www.thinkgreen.com/classroom