Green Schools for Teachers

Utilizing the School Building as the Ultimate Learning Laboratory

All schools can be the epicenters for sustainability and when a school transitions to more sustainable practices, a rippling effect occurs that impacts the entire community. Integrating sustainability education into our schools and our communities is paramount in order to secure a healthier and safer world for the present and future generations.

This site provides resources for teachers to develop sustainablilty curriculum utilizing the building as a lesson plan to fostering a higher level of sustainability awareness and understanding as well as applying green teaching practices through all content areas. It is intended to align core curriculum content standards and promote the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) of sustainability. Creating sustainability curriculum is a valuable tool for school districts and can inspire the next generation of learners to understand the green building industry, earth systems, climate science, clean energy technologies, green collar careers, and promote sustainability as a way of life…not as an option.

The purpose for developing curriculum is to teach the technologies that promote sustainable building practices in K-12 education and provide the opportunity for students to explore, discover, and understand their surrounding world and how to balance societal progress without sacrificing the environment. Another purpose for designing curriculum that mirrors building systems will be to align the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines from the US Green Building Council and national curriculum standards so it can be integrated as an interdisciplinary approach in any classroom. Curriculum designed uses LEED which connects the green building industry with environmental education and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Another important focus will be to combine the building systems and outdoor environments as a context for learning. Connecting students with the process for transforming their school to become a green building is a way to increase student involvement with real-world situations and introduce student’s 21st century skills that will prepare them for blue, white and green collar careers of the future.


Teachers develop Instructional Designs using LEED categories:
  1. Sustainable sites;
  2. Water Efficiency;
  3. Energy, and Atmosphere;
  4. Materials and Resources;
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality;
  6. Innovation and Design.

  • Pre-K to 4th - It is suggested that activities be Inquiry-Based, and serve as an introduction to the student's local environment and to the natural world (place-based learning).
  • Middle School - A Project-Based Learning approach is utilized, and the LEED process is introduced through lessons. Students in the middle grades learn the connections between building systems and resource conservation.
  • High School - Activities and lessons are presented using a constructivist, Problem-Based Learning approach. This method allows students to make discoveries, through authentic investigation, beginning with a real-world scenario. Students learn about the interconnectedness between materials, technologies and the design built world.

For more information contact:


John Henry
STEM & Sustainable Schools Specialist
LEED Green Associate
NJ School Board Association (NJSBA)
413 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08605
o - 609-278-5288
c - 609-330-9218

Dr. Michael Skelly
Founder and Co-Director - Sustainable Learning Systems LLC


Mark Swiger
Marshall County Schools
John Marshall High School
USGBC WV Green School Advocate
1300 Wheeling Avenue
Glen Dale, WV 26038
Founder and Co-Director - Sustainable Learning Systems LLC

Created, July 2009

Last Modified, January 2012