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5 No or Little Prep Green Games

Are you looking to raise environmental awareness in your classroom, but you just don’t have the time? You’ve come to the right place! In this post and part two coming soon, we’ll be bringing you some activities that can be used in almost any class with little or no prep.

Let’s start with the 5 ideas below that will get your class talking about the planet. All you need is a whiteboard, some scrap paper, and five minutes.

1. Environmental Board Races (A1 - C2) 

A simple idea you can use with all ages and levels. Write a word related to the environment on the board and get two teams to write a word for each letter. You can either use a specific lexical set or allow complete freedom for students to express themselves. It’s a wonderful way to expand and review students' vocabulary.

A: Beginners (Pre-A1) Kids Class:

B: Upper intermediate (B2) Teens Class:

 2. Simple scrap paper ideas

 A. Snowballs (A2 - C2)

Ask learners to use a piece of scrap paper to write what they do to help the planet on (e.g., “I recycle plastic at home”). Learners then screw up the paper into a “snowball” and throw it at the teacher. Once the "snowballs” have been collected, the teacher hands them back at random. Learners then go around the classroom and find out whose “snowball” they have by asking questions. Such as “Do you turn off the tap while you brush your teeth?” or “Do you recycle plastic at home?” This continues until all of the snowballs have been returned.  

B. My own Sustainable Development Goal (B1 - C2)

Get learners to write down something they would like to change about their own unsustainable behaviour. Stick it to a notice board or in the front of their notebooks. Make sure students frequently refer to their goal and see if they are trying to make the change.


3. Numbers from worldometers (A1 - C2)  

To practice big numbers, you can use statistics from as an opening and closing routine. In just a couple of days you’ll have kids and adults alike using numbers they didn’t even know existed, while simultaneously raising their awareness of the huge impact we’re having on the planet. 

Start of class (15:00 Wednesday 16th March): 1,063,238 (one million, sixty-three thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight hectares of forest lost this year.

End of class (16:00 Wednesday 16th March): 1,064,225 (one million, sixty-four thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight) hectares of forest lost this year.

Difference: 3, 135,126 (three million, one hundred and thirty-five thousand and one hundred and twenty-six hectares).  

As an update, as of April 8th at 15:30 we had lost 1,390,611 (one million, three hundred and ninety, six hundred and eleven) hectares of forest land. That’s over 250,000 hectares of forest lost in under 1 month.

A more positive way to do this is to check the number of trees planted by before and after class.

4. Higher/Lower (A2 - C2) 

Another wonderful way to practice numbers is to get students to guess certain facts, simply using higher or lower. 

To play this game, student A has the information and asks a question. Student B must try and guess the answer. Student A will answer ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ until student B has the right answer. For example:

Student A: How many litres of water are required to produce 1 litre of cow’s milk. 

Student B: 20 litres? 

Student A: Higher! Much higher! 

Student B: 1,500 litres? 

Student A: Lower. 

Student B: 900 litres. 

Student A: That’s right!


Other facts and figures

  • Time for a plastic bottle to degrade: 400 years 
  • Percentage of cosmetics containing palm oil: 70% 
  • Percentage of plastic to have been recycled, EVER: 9% 
  • Number of coffees sold in disposable cups per year: 14.4 billion 
  • Percentage of the Earth covered by water: 71% 

This also proved the learners with a great learning opportunity to find their own facts, and make sure they aren’t fake news.

Many of these activities they can be easily adapted to a “non-green” setting, but that’s not what we’re aiming for here.

5. Rapid Spidergram (A2 - C2)  

Simply write a word on the board related to the planet and get students to run up and write ANY word related to it. 

 This activity obviously isn’t exclusive to the environment and can be used at any time to check and see just how much vocabulary our students have retained. It’s also a wonderful way to give each student the chance to learn from each other.

Those were our first 5 activities. Hopefully you’ll get as much out of them as we do. Stay tuned because coming very soon are the next 5!

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