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Author

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)

Grades

K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Games

Regional Focus

Global

Environmental Education Group Games & Activities

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Synopsis
  • This wonderful resource contains instructions for seven games that teach students about the environment, ecosystems, and sustainability through play.  
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Many of the games are suitable for students in any grade level.
  • Many of the games can be played with very large groups.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may want to establish norms for discourse and play before beginning the games.
  • Teachers should check the materials needed beforehand. 
  • Teachers should play one round while explaining the directions and then another round once everyone knows the game's rules. Repeated rounds of the game will help English language learners and students who benefit from repeated directions.

Differentiation

  • Bat and Moth, Migration Hopscotch, and Owls, Mice, Shrubs would be great games to use for review after an elementary science lesson on biology topics. Teachers could deliver the lesson, have the students play the game, and then ask the students to discuss how the game relates to the lesson.
  • Social studies classes or advisory groups could use the games Common Good, Social Hierarchy, and Generations to start conversations about climate justice, the environment, or structural inequalities.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on energy transfer in ecosystems, this video on interdependent relationships in ecosystems, and this video on biodiversity and humans.
Scientist Notes
The games in this resource are recommended for students to play to get involved in environmental activism.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 4-LS1-2 Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • 3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.K-2 Identify and explain a range of local, regional, and global problems, and some ways in which people are trying to address these problems.
      • D4.8.K-2 Use listening, consensus-building, and voting procedures to decide on and take action in their classrooms.
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