Need Teacher Resources for Virtual Classes?
September 01, 2020
Lisa Beach

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this academic year will look decidedly different for many students and teachers around the country. Some schools plan to offer traditional, in-person classes with modifications (such as requiring masks and social distancing measures), others will offer virtual instruction so kids can learn safely from home, and still others will go with a hybrid of both to accommodate the various needs of families and communities.

So, whether you’re a teacher holding classes virtually this semester or a parent looking to enrich your child’s new routine, you’re probably looking for some good education resources that can be adapted for current and changing circumstances. Fortunately, NEEF can provide you with several free and low-cost options! Some of the resources and activities are well suited for synchronous learning, others asynchronous project-based assignments that can be shared using your favorite digital tools like Flipgrid, Padlet, Seasaw or the Google suite of apps. NEEF’s collection of educational resources has something for everyone!

Climate Superstars Challenge

NEEF's Climate Superstars Challenge (exclusively for grades 6-8) happens in October. This 10-day online challenge gets kids excited about the environment and how they can play an active role in caring for its future. During this annual event, middle school classrooms complete short tasks geared towards environmental literacy and energy efficiency. 

Even though the competition is only open to full-time teachers, the Climate Superstars Educator Guide is full of information and resources that parents can use with their kids at home. The guide is free to download!

Learning Expedition Toolkit

NEEF’s Learning Expedition Toolkit is a student-centered planning guide that can be used for enriching pod or family field-trips now or class-field trips in the future. The toolkit is also available in Spanish. Free to download!

Environmental Education in Nature Guide


Public Lands Engagement: Focus on Environmental Education in Nature

Download a copy of our Environmental Education in Nature Guide for some great ideas on how to bring environmental education in your next public lands event or outdoor classroom. Developed in partnership with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, this guide covers key strategies for planning and executing successful environmental education activities on public lands of all types and sizes. Filled with real-world examples, tips from experts, featured resources, and other tools, the guide will help families and classroom teachers integrate fun educational activities into recess or non-screen time.

Though the Environmental Education in Nature Guide mainly focuses on in-person engagement, many of the activities in the guide can be adapted for virtual classrooms. For example, students can participate in scavenger hunts and take pictures of each item, or they can use app-based programs like Leafsnap and SEEK by iNaturalist for citizen science-based activities. The guide also includes activities that students and their families can conduct at home or in a socially distanced manner, such as wildlife viewing, stargazing, and learning about household recycling and composting.

Environmental Education at Home

Finally, NEEF has compiled an amazing array of environmental educational resources for children of all ages on our EE at Home page. Here you’ll find educational apps, citizen science projects, activity guides, educational projects, virtual tours of museums and national parks, and helpful infographics. Plus, you’ll discover books and activities available for purchase through the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA).

Watershed Sleuth Challenge

The Watershed Sleuth Challenge is a gamified research project on watersheds (a land area that drains to a central location, such as a lake, river, or ocean). The activity taps into kids’ desire to earn badges and “level up” as they make their way through this three-part course.

Introduction to Upcycling

Virtual instruction might make it hard to get classroom supplies into the hands of your students. To the rescue—NEEF’s upcycle project ideas! These hands-on projects allow students to create something new using common household objects they can reuse and/or repurpose from home. Project ideas range from birdfeeders and planters to toys and reusable bags.