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EcoConnections classroom workshops - Secondary School Programs

EcoConnections classroom workshops

The FREE classroom workshops described below can be presented in person or virtual and adapted for different grade levels and class period lengths. To schedule or for more information, please contact Triangle Associates at 206-583-0655 ext. 111 or

In class or virtual secondary classroom workshops 2022-2023

Workshops can be delivered in person for your classroom or through a variety of online platforms and featuring a live presenter. Whichever presentation style you choose, the EcoConnections workshops are designed to be interactive, engaging and offer a unique way to support student learning. All workshops include discussion around both environmental issues and human considerations such as equity and social justice. Supporting materials include integrated worksheets, interactive follow up quizzes, and an introductory video.

The workshop and instructor were fantastic. I would not have the time or resources to put together such a wonderful activity/presentation

High school teacher

Successful virtual presentation features included clear connections to learning target and standards, - this was done in an engaging and easy-to-follow manner with active animation and student participation - they really got it!

Middle school teacher

Lots of hands-on for students combined with a knowledgeable staff person. Good combination of student-directed and teacher-directed.

High school teacher
secondary classroom workshop
Students explore how their purchase, use, and disposal of materials contribute to their carbon footprint.

Focus on life science and ecosystems

Biodiversity in Our World (grades 6-12) – How might our use of natural resources and disposal of waste affect biodiversity? Students actively engage in a discussion around our use and disposal of natural resources and the impact that has on ecosystems and biodiversity. This workshop uses real-world examples of habitat loss, pollution, and population growth to highlight the negative impacts of overconsumption. Through hands-on activities, students gain a clearer understanding of our everyday impacts on natural systems and biodiversity. Class will learn and discuss actions and choices that can have positive impacts on the natural world.

The presentation included discussions of the quality and type of recyclables, compostables and what is simply garbage, knowing the significance of the relative quantities helped students gain perspective on the importance. Our presenter linked human impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem services. She helped students understand the reality of solid waste management as well as connect the levels of biodiversity to different types of land use. The presentation was interactive and the students responded well.

High school teacher

Hands on, self-paced, kids enjoy it and they don't know where their trash goes so that is a new learning for them. Great instructors.

Middle school teacher

Biospheres (grades 6-12) – How does the closed system of a biosphere compare to Earth? Students work in small groups and observe small-scale model ecosystems to understand the relationship between biotic and abiotic factors and resources in natural cycles. Students discuss how their daily consumption and disposal of resources affects ecosystems, with an emphasis on ways to minimize impacts.

The workshop helped bridge the ecological concepts we have been learning to actions that students can do to help our local & global ecology.

Middle school teacher

The virtual tour of the biosphere in the workshop was very interactive… the Kahoot was fun and interactive, and it was a great summary of everything we learned in the workshop. I found the worksheets that accompanied the workshop very valuable; they helped me organize my notes from the lesson really well.

Middle school teacher

The biospheres were very engaging and linked well to standards covered in class.

Middle school teacher

Focus on earth systems and human activity

Consumption Junction (grades 6-10) – How does recycling conserve natural resources and help to reduce human impacts on ecosystems? Students will study the product life cycle of an aluminum can from its bauxite source to the recycling bin, students learn about the time, energy, and natural resources used to make an everyday product, the resulting climate change and damaging environmental impacts, particularly on global communities where bauxite is mined. The workshop ends with actions we can all take to limit our consumption for a more sustainable future.

This is an AWESOME workshop! It is well paced, applicable to student life, engaging, and a good balance of direct instruction and activity.

Middle school teacher

Earth Impact: Overconsumption or Sustainability? (grades 8-12) – How and why do we choose what to buy, and what impacts do these choices have on our planet? Rotating through lab stations that examine overconsumption and our ecological footprint, students explore product life cycles and recognize the ecological impacts their choices have on the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Students use critical thinking and analytical skills to assess the “earth impacts” of various consumer goods, with a focus on ways to make more sustainable shopping choices and lower their ecological footprint.

My students were very excited to talk about the information they learned. They thought it was very relevant and helpful as they worked on their individual sustainability projects.

High school teacher (virtual presentation)

Loved this workshop! It was a great introduction to the semester for my environmental science class.

High school teacher

Four Rs for Our Climate (grades 6-10) – How might our consumption of resources and waste disposal habits contribute to climate change? After reviewing basic climate change science, students explore how our consumption of natural resources and disposal of waste contribute to our individual carbon footprints. Students work in small groups to analyze the product life cycle of an everyday item and develop practical solutions to shrink their carbon footprint through better waste reduction and recycling practices.

The visuals provided with the presentation were effective as well as the Kahoot at the end. It was also effective to have student engagement access points such as the source and sink voting and students typing in answers to some questions.

Middle school teacher (virtual presentation)

I always love that you talk about the Cedar Hills Landfill because this is so relevant for my student, as it is physically in their backyards. This content went well with our carbon cycle unit as we talked about imbalance on the co2 levels in the cycle.

High school teacher (virtual presentation)

The balance of listening, doing, and talking in small groups was great. It really drove home the message about all of the different things we do that impact climate change.

High school teacher

Plastic Pollution and our Oceans (grades 6-8) – Where does plastic come from and what impact does it have on our planet? Students will learn where their waste goes, how that connects to natural resources conservation and ecosystems, and why plastic is an important part of that discussion. The presenter will lead students though a discussion about plastic pollution in our oceans and its impact on people and communities. The workshop ends with actions students can take to rethink and reduce their use and disposal of plastics.

The lesson was impactful and students were moved by the content.

Middle school teacher (virtual presentation)

We have been structuring our Matter Unit to explain why trash ends up in our oceans and what solutions we can find to the problem (exploring properties of matter, phase changes, molecules and atoms, etc.) This presentation made many connections to these ideas and helped students see some of our learning in a way they can apply it and think outside of their school/lives.

Middle school teacher (virtual presentation)

Focus on environmental justice and action

Climate and Communities: Exploring Environmental Justice (grades 9-12) – What is environmental justice and how does it relate to climate change? What are youth activists doing and what can we do as individuals? Students engage in a facilitated discussion of real-world issues through the lens of climate change, communities, and actions. This is a non-linear workshop where the class controls the topics and themes in a build-your-own-adventure conversation around environmental impacts and inequities. A live presenter will facilitate student discussion as they work together to gain a clearer understanding of our effects on the planet and its people, and how our personal choices, and our choices as a society, can make a difference.

I found the specific examples of environmental injustice to be very interesting. I didn't even really know there was an injustice. Now I'm much more aware of the issue.

High school student

Students reacted positively to the content and… the workshop led them to new thoughts about the topic of social and environmental justice.

High school teacher (virtual presentation)

It was a very interesting workshop and we'll laid out to help students think about environmental justice.

High school teacher (virtual presentation)

Food for Thought (grades 6-9) – What are we really wasting when we waste food? This workshop explores the environmental and climate change impacts of food production, disposal, and waste. Students calculate their "foodprint" to quantify their individual waste and focus on positive changes they can make to lessen their environmental impact. While the focus of this lesson is on waste prevention, it can be adapted to include how-to advice for schools that collect food waste for composting.

Another excellent workshop. It really drives home the idea that even if you compost your food waste, you're still wasting all of the resources that went into producing that food.

Middle school teacher

All EcoConnections are:

  • standards-based, aligning with learning standards for science, communications, reading, social studies, and other subjects. All workshops support Next Generation Science StandardsDownload PDF , 400 .
  • engaging and relevant to students’ everyday lives.
  • interactive and discussion focused, with students either working in small groups as they rotate through stations or sharing ideas and questions as a class.
  • critical-thinking-based, challenging students to make connections to real-world issues and think for themselves. introduce environmental justice concepts, encouraging students to connect environmental issues to people and communities locally and globally.
  • action-oriented, asking students to consider how the topic relates to their lives and what steps they can take to make a difference for the environment. We explore personal actions around consumption and waste, as well as actions youth can take to influence systems and stay informed.
  • flexible in length, typically lasting 50 minutes, but also accommodating longer block periods

Additional classroom resources: downloadable materials

secondary classroom workshop
Students engage in discussions and activities as they learn about how their waste connects to the natural world.
King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal

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