Student Activities

All Grades

Field Trip to Sims Municipal Recycling (Grades 3-8)
Want to show your class or green team where the metal, glass, plastic, and cartons recycled in NYC are sent? Schedule a free tour of the brand new Sims Municipal Recycling facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn! Seeing is believing, and your students won’t forget this incredible experience.

Recycling Class Contract
An agreement that students and parents sign. Students pledge to study the environment, and parents sign to say they will cooperate with green homework tasks, such as a recycling journal. Created by the Academy of Urban Planning, Brooklyn.

NYC Department of Sanitation (Grades K-12)
Order the free NYC Teacher's RRResource Guide, developed with the NYC Department of Edcuation, and RRR comic books developed with Marvel comics.

Grades 3-7

At Home Chose to Reduce Project
Students chose one thing to reduce at home each week and write journal entries about their successes and challenges implementing the change.  In class, they form groups and create "Do You Know?" posters.

Lesson Plan: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Students learn the meaning of Recycling, Reducing and Reusing through analytical reading and construct an object out of recycled materials.  The scientific method is used to write the step-by-step process. Created by PS/IS 308, Brooklyn. 

High School

Green Design Project 
Students pretend they are architects, and come up with a series of design changes to make their school more environmentally friendly. They then grade their projects according to a rubric.
Created by Frances Perkins Academy, Brooklyn.

Advocacy Action Kit
This kit is designed to channel student efforts into creating a customized recycling campaign for your middle or high school. The kit's sections are divided into multiple weeks and can be adapted to accommodate time constraints and needs of your school.

Green Teams

Student Recycling Script
A presentation for Green Team Club members to introduce themselves and the purpose of their club. They explain how to use their new recycling bins, in the classroom and in the cafeteria.
Created by P.S. 16 Staten Island.

Waste Audit Guide
Ever wonder what's in your school's waste? This hands-on activity helps students assess their school's waste in order to think of ways to reduce it. The results can be incorporated into the school's recycling plan, or even into lessons and activities.

Recycling Rating Chart
Green Team members go around the school and rate the success of the recycling program. They do a survey by classroom to ensure each has bins, and rate the level of contamination.

Advocacy Action Kit
This kit is designed to channel a green team, club, or classes' efforts into creating a customized recycling campaign for your middle or high school. The kit's sections are divided into multiple weeks and can be adapted to accommodate time constraints and needs of your school.

Upcycled Milk Carton Craft (Grades 2-5)
Have fun teaching students about recycling and upcycling by turning an empty milk carton into a coin wallet! This instruction sheet takes you through the step by step process to make this fun craft.

Recycling Fact Assigment (Grades 1-5)
Sustainability coordinator at P.S. 101 Queens introduced a homework assignment that encouraged students to gather information about recycling. The document can be printed on letter size paper and cut into strips. Each student is given a strip and a week to complete the assignment. A week later each student picked one fact to read aloud along with their solution. The students' facts will be considered for morning announcements to the whole school! 

For Classrooms

All Grades

HEART: Promoting Humane Education (Grades PK-12)
A great listing of free, downloadable lesson plans on issues ranging from recycling and pollution to energy, and environmental choices.

America Recycles Day (Grades K-12)
Take a recycling pledge, find an event, or download materials to help your school organize and celebrate this awesome day.

NBC Learn (Grades K-12)
Through a partnership with the National Science Foundation, teachers and students can have access to a variety of climate science and recycling related videos and NBS news archives.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (Grades K-12)
Information on education camps, centers, and programs.  Actitivies for students and lesson plans for teachers on wildlife, insects, recycling, conservation, and more.

Steel Recycling Institute (Grades PK-12)
With a focus on recycling, solid waste and natural resource management, you'll find a variety of lesson plans, worksheets, and hands-on activities. 

Elementary School 

Upcycled Milk Carton Craft (Grades 2-5)
Have fun teaching students about recycling and upcycling by turning an empty milk carton into a coin wallet! This instruction sheet takes you through the step by step process to make this fun craft.

Recycling Fact Assigment (Grades 1-5)
Sustainability coordinator at P.S. 101 Queens introduced a homework assignment that encouraged students to gather information about recycling. The document can be printed on letter size paper and cut into strips. Each student is given a strip and a week to complete the assignment. A week later each student picked one fact to read aloud along with their solution. The students' facts will be considered for morning announcements to the whole school!

Garbology Kids (Grades PK-5)
Where do recyclable materials go?  What happens to trash?  Teachers, parents, and students can learn more and have fun through this great book series.

Marcal (Grades K-2)
A local company that makes recycled paper household products!  Download Marcal's free lesson plans on recycling, trees, and deforestation which meet a variety of education standards.

NYC Department of Sanitation (Grades K-12)
Order the free NYC Teacher's RRResource Guide, developed with the NYC Department of Edcuation, and RRR comic books developed with Marvel comics. 

Elementary and Middle School

Streets Education (Grades PK-8)
Use the streets around your school to actively engage students on the transportation and environmental issues facing NYC's urban environment.

Middle and High School

PBS Presents: Garbage Dreams (Grades 4-12)
In Cairo, the Zabelleen people survive by collecting and recycling garbage.  In a fun online game for students, take on the role of the Zaballeen.  You have eight months to build your recycling empire and get Cairo’s total recycling as high as you can.

Gothamist Neighborhood Trash Map (Grades 6-12)
How well do different NYC neighborhoods do on recycling? Compare refuse and recycling of an average person from each district with this interactive map. Then, students can study is in NYC’s waste stream, and how to recycle even more

US EPA: A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change (Grade 4-12)
A wealth of materials for teachers and students to develop an increased knowledge of solid waste issues as they relate to climate change, and take action! 

No Impact Project (Grades 6-12)
With the film No Impact Man as a guide, students can explore the impact of their everyday behavior on the environment and their well-being, by looking at transportation, consumption, energy, food, and water. 

High School

Alliance For Climate Education (ACE)
How do we measure climate change?  What activities contribute to climate change?  Explore these topics and more with free lesson plans from ACE.  If your school is hosting an ACE assembly then download accompanying lesson plans for before or after the assembly.

Trashed Lesson Plan Package (Grades 8-12)
Comprehensive lesson plans to accompany Trashed, a 60-minute movie on the story of “garbage…American style”.   

Arts and Crafts

All Grades

Materials for the Arts
Materials for the Arts gathers supplies from companies and individuals that no longer need them and redistributes them to educators who can reuse them. 

RePlayGround
Looking for a green design or art project?  Everyday recylables and trash can be upcycled into functional products and art.  Downlaod DIY projects for the classroom or invite RePlayGround to your event! 

Skraptacular
Skraptacular offers unique children's programs based on recycling education for a greener world. Turnkey curriculum invites children of all ages to take an active role in saving the environment and reducing waste, all while having fun.

The Imagination Factory
There's no machinery at The Imagination Factory, and smokestacks don't pollute the air. Instead, we teach children and their caregivers creative ways to recycle by making art.

American Forest & Paper Association (Grades 3-6)
Download a free mini recycling poster created by AF&PA and Scholastic along with three easy lessons covering math, science, and language arts. There is also a short video demonstrating how to make your own paper in class.

Turtle Bank (Grades 2-7)
Save your pennies with this recycled turtle bank. Students turn a plastic salad container into a work of art with this fun lesson plan from National Wildlife Federation Kids.

Plastic Bag Friendship Bracelets
Most people usually think of plastic bags as unsightly. With this project, you can make friendship bracelets that are beautiful, don’t cost a dime, and are helping the environment! This is a great activity for students to watch with the film, Bag It.

Upcycled Milk Carton Craft (Grades 2-5)
Have fun teaching students about recycling and upcycling by turning an empty milk carton into a coin wallet! This instruction sheet takes you through the step by step process to make this fun craft.

There’s nothing like coming out of the cavernous Union Square subway station to a canopy of tree branches covered in spring blossoms, the tents of the Greenmarket visible just beyond.

And then there’s the smell…strawberries.

Now you can make one of these delicious strawberry recipes!

  • Greenmarket

    Our network of farmers markets, Youthmarkets, Fresh Food Box pick-ups, and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Recycle

    We blanket the five boroughs with resources like textile and food scrap collection, Stop 'N' Swaps, and free training to make waste reduction easy for all.

  • Garden

    We build and rejuvenate community & school gardens in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Education

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 66,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.