Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Conservation Classroom Presentations

Part of my job as a Resource Conservation Manager for a school district is working with students.  With school budgets shrinking, there are fewer teachers and assistants to help coordinate staff and student Green Teams.  It's sad really, because teachers don't have the time to talk about recycling or energy conservation when they have no staff support.  Because of this reduced time, I am often used as a babysitter (for lack of better words) so the teacher can grade papers or whatever.  When teachers aren't actively participating in the presentation, some students put in less effort and goof around and disrupt the class.  From a presenters standpoint, it's inconsiderate of the teacher to not discipline the students and it's a waste of my time.  I push forward though and still visit classrooms with only a few being bad eggs.  For the 2011/2012 school year, kindergarten classrooms average 28-32 students and a high school classroom class size averages 37-45 students.  Teachers really do feel stretched and having outside presentations takes away from extra tutoring time with students.  A friend recently asked me to post information about my presentations.  Below you will find powerpoints, presentation outlines, coloring sheets, and games.  Some of you may feel inspired and use the materials, but please let me know if you do use them (general courtesy to the creator's time and generosity).

Pedal Power
This presentation is by far the most popular request from teachers.  I have even taken it to conferences and after school programs for other school districts.  I created this bicycle generator from scrap materials found on school district property.  Only the wires, voltage meter, and plywood were purchased to complete the ensemble.  Even the motor was taken for an old floor scrubber being scrapped for parts.  Because this project was virtually free, it only conducts DC power (AC power would require an inverter which costs a lot of money).  Here is an outline of the presentation.

This hands-on presentation is mainly for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.  Students are given energy efficiency and energy source workbooks provided free from Energy Star (  All students have an opportunity to ride the bicycle that generates electricity to a fan, a pair of lights, and a water pump.  I made posters for the energy sources and ways to conserve.  I cover up each item on the posters and have the students guess the correct answer.  The presentation covers: 
-how electricity is made
-where our energy comes from (renewable vs. nonrenewable resources)
-why it's important to conserve energy
-examples of how to conserve resources

Join the Lorax!
This 20 minute presentation for grades K-2 is based off the book, The Lorax by: Dr. Seuss followed by a book discussion and ways we can help the environment.  Energy Star ( graciously provides Lorax-themed posters and activity books free of charge through their website.  These are given to classrooms as a reminder about the book and how to help the environment.

    Be a Recycler!
This presentation is for grades 2-3 and teaches: 
-The 3 R's
-Why we recycle
-What can and cannot be recycled
-Examples of how we can reduce our waste
-Disposable vs. durable matching game

Here are some coloring sheets I give students.

This presentation is for middle and high school students.  Students are given a worksheet a few days before I come to their classroom.  I show a powerpoint, and then do a family feud game. The powerpoint addresses these main points:
-Difference between non-renewable and renewable resources
-Definition of sustainability
-World population and consumption by region
-Lifecycle analysis
-Prevention vs. recycling
-Solid waste hierarchy
-Reducing waste and making choices
-Inspiring others to reduce their waste

The Buzz on Bees and Pollination
The honey bee presentation is not work-affiliated but very popular among the younger students learning about bugs and pollination.  This past week I had the pleasure of presenting to an after school class. Students really enjoy seeing me dressed in my coveralls and head net.  I pass around my smoker, bee brush, and a frame of drawn comb with capped honey.  Each student can dip a pretzel in a jar of honey to eat.  To keep things simple, the power point slides do not contain a lot of words.

Coloring Sheet
Color Sheet 2


jenn merfee-t November 7, 2011 at 10:26 PM  

These activities are so thoughtful, creative, well presented, and inspiring! As I was reading through your presentations, I pictured sharing these same topics with the young children in my life. Perhaps this is what I needed to finally use the ecology curriculum I created. I love the inspiration and excitement with your simply resourceful ideas and can't wait to share them with young inquisitive minds!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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