Students and teacher talking at a table

How-to Guide

What are Wayfinder Society’s Lessons?

  • Free,
  • Digital, but also printable,
  • Ready to use,
  • Editable,
  • Designed to fit into 1 class period,
  • Based on real-world samples, data, and issues,
  • Adaptable to classroom needs (not prescriptive),
  • Designed together with or reviewed by expert partners who are doing environmental, social, and policy research and advocacy on the ground, and
  • Co-created with educators.


Why we’ve created these resources:

When it comes to environmental education, educators are looking for help with:

  • Finding grade appropriate lessons that are also hands-on and relevant to students everyday lives,
  • Staying up to date with the science and statistics,
  • Finding vetted resources, and
  • Bringing the outside world into the classroom.


How to navigate a lesson:

1. Overview. At the top of each lesson page, you’ll find an overview of the lesson including: appropriate grade levels – on an academic and emotional level, approximate time needed, implementation format options, any needed materials, and editable downloads we’ve provided to go with the lesson.

2. Purpose and Context. This is for your information to provide background information about the lesson, why we think it is an important lesson, and how it fits into the bigger picture of environmental education. We’ve also provided this information in a Google Doc so that you can share it more easily with your students.

3. Instructions. We’ve provided our suggestions for how to use the lesson in a classroom setting. For each lesson we’ve provided instructions for educators on how to prepare for the activity, and what to do in class. Since every classroom’s needs are different, we’ve kept this section minimal to encourage educators to use the lesson content in a way that fits their teaching style and student learning needs. Most of the lessons are centered around one activity, handout, or resource. Some resources are digital and will require a computer to explore, either in groups, individually, or by the educator sharing their screen or casting on a device. We’ve designed the student worksheets, background information handouts, and supplementary materials in Google Docs so that educators can edit them to fit into their curriculum. The handouts can be shared with students by uploading them to an online Learning Management Systems (LMS) or they can be printed.

4. Tips and Suggestions. In this section, we’ve outlined some information to keep in mind, or to help you or your students through the lesson. If after doing the lesson with your class, you have any tips or suggestions that we should add, please comment in the forum lower on the lesson page! We want to keep improving our resources so that they work better for educators!

5. Associated Standards. Here we’ve listed the Next Generation Science Standards, and Advanced Placement Environmental Science standards that each lesson is associated with. Some lessons are more closely aligned to the standards than others, so we’ve won’t include this section if we haven’t deemed it appropriate.


Help us track our reach

In the section “Did you use this lesson?”, please let us know how many students you’ve used a lesson with each time you incorporate a lesson into your curriculum. This will help us track our reach and impact which is so important for us to continue to provide quality resources for free as a small non-profit.


Related Content

Each lesson and toolkit within Wayfinder Society is part of a larger story. Our lessons can be built off one another, used together to help students dig deeper. They can also often be used together with our toolkits designed for hands-on investigation. The lessons can also be combined with community projects and video content in our Student Hub to turn learning into meaningful action.


Our ecosystem of services

We've designed Wayfinder Society to provide environmental educators with whole classroom support.

Ready-to-use lessons with editable handouts

Our lessons are created with experts in the field, founded on 30 years of experience educating about plastic pollution, and co-created with educators. They are based on real world issues, and are hands-on.

Hands-on activity toolkits with materials included

Our toolkits provide educators with out-of-the-box activities that help students explore environmental issues. They include all but the most easily found materials.

Student Hub with Community Action Projects

Help students turn knowledge to action with over 25 project ideas. Students can submit their projects for hourly credits to use on college applications, resumes, and community service requirements.

Community connection and emotional support

In addition to our teaching resources, we're connecting our community through events and articles that highlight and uplift our successes and provide space to share and discuss the challenges.

Funding through mini-grants for fieldtrips and materials

We know teaching effective environmental education often requires extra materials and funding. Get support through Wayfinder Society mini-grants.

How-to guides and insights provide advice

Our free guides and articles cover topics around how to address the challenges with teaching environmental education. They are created from our communities collective experience.

Help us improve our free resources.

By making our resources freely available, we've given up some of our ability to track how our resources are being used. Please help us measure our impact, which we'll use to inform our generous donors, by signing up for our newsletter and completing our end-of-the-school-year survey.

We'll also keep you up to date with new free events, lessons, toolkits, videos, plus community blogs and funding opportunities. 

Thank you!

Success! Thank you for joining our Wayfinder Society community.