Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

Lesson Plans/Activities

These resources can be used in conjunction with other Faculty Resources, or on their own for further exploration on Green Topics. (Compiled by Student Sustainability Researcher, Paul Slocum)

Portals/Collections of Lesson Plans

  • Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education
  • EPA’s resource guide for educators detailing a vast array of different lesson plans which focus on particular environmental/sustainability concentrated topics. Topics range from air quality, climate change, ecosystems, and energy usage to human health, waste, and water management
  • The Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability through Penn State is a constantly evolving platform for faculty to share assignment ideas, introduce new topics to curriculum, offer and receive feedback on activities that have been tried and find new ways to introduce content to your courses.
  • List of more than 170 syllabi for courses revised through the Chesapeake Project, University of Maryland’s “integrating sustainability across the curriculum” workshop and faculty learning community. Courses range from art history to engineering to business.
  • The Science, Education, and Research Center at Carleton College has a wealth of information, toolkits, syllabi, lesson plans, and project ideas for incorporating sustainability into discussions on Energy, Climate Science, Geosciences, Teaching Quantitative Skills, Societal Learning and more.
  • The SEED Center offers over 200 different sustainability curricula ideas covering a wide variety of topics including:

Individual Lesson Plans/Activities

Here you will find a number of lesson plans/activities created by educators at Oakton and other institutions. The name and College of authors/creators is included when available.

Sustainability Science & Full Cost Analysis

  • The David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University is proud to announce the launch of a free, open-source, online learning module for undergraduate and introductory graduate level courses. This online learning module explores Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis (FCA).  Full Cost Analysis (FCA) is a method of problem solving which uses systems thinking to account for the economic, societal, and environmental costs of a problem. The materials are designed to be easily incorporated into preexisting course syllabi or as the foundation for new courses. The content in this learning module includes:
    • A 15-minute video primer on Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis
    • Six five-minute case study video documentaries
    • Worksheets for each video documentary to facilitate course dialogues and student understanding
    • Assignments that can be used to develop case studies on your campus and in your community
    • Additional readings and links to online resources

    This free and publicly available online module can be accessed here 

  • This module was developed with generous multi-year funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. This material is open-source and can be used by anyone for educational purposes.

Web of Life–Great Lakes Version

From Stephenie Presseller, Moraine Valley College

I like activities that really drive home the systems thinking component of sustainability– in that, sustainability is a methodology or a problem solving/solutions generating tool to be applied as we think of things in systems and understand how they interrelate or are interdependent on one another… So I offer a variation of the classic web of life game: And highlight the local Great Lakes Fisheries as a system focus point.

I set it up with a conversation about the great lakes. What do you like about the lakes? What do you think is important about them? Do people use them for recreation, as a means of making a living, to get drinking water, to exploit, to…? Then I list the things the students offer into 3 different columns or circles (social, economic, environmental). Then, applying the Web game strategy I pass out a bunch of index cards. And instead of just plants and animals (yes, they are still included & specific to the great lakes flora/fauna) on the cards, there are also things like “climate change” “sea level” “air temperature” “water temperature” “weather” “commercial fisher-people” “recreational activities” “tourism” “flooding” “stormwater runoff” “water quality” “human health” “erosion” and so on (hopefully they also identified many of these things in their brainstorm). Each of the cards also has a brief explanation on it about what the topic is (they won’t brainstorm them all and some students may not understand some of the terms or how they might connect without a brief prompt). After everyone is connected it’s easy to start to articulate our different systems (social/cultural, economic and environmental) as actually not separate but integrated.