It’s Good to Be Green

It’s Good to Be Green

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

14-18 yrs old

Art and Design

Climate & Environment


Students explore a sustainable building.

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April 7, 2021


  • Citizenship
  • Creativity
  • Project Based Learning

External References

Sustainability City Minecraft World

World to support lesson activities. Direct download.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will… - Explore a green commercial building in the center of the city. - Be able to explain how using natural materials can ensure that a building will have sustainable practices.

Guiding Ideas


For this lesson, students will begin in the school and choose Lesson 3 from the teacher. Students will initially be introduced to two NPCs outside who will explain the building’s heating system. They will then continue through the building and explore all the ways that it uses natural materials and sustainable practices, finishing their journey on the rooftop.

Guiding Questions

What are some natural sources of heat? How can those sources be transferred to buildings? Where does greywater come from? How can it be used?

How is using composting toilets helpful to the environment?

How can using many windows assist in reducing energy costs in a building?

Why should solar panels be used year-round even though winter months tend to not have a lot of sunlight?

Teacher Preparation & Notes

Possible NGSS standard(s):

  • 4-PS3-3: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
  • 4-ESS3-1: Collect and compile information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and how their uses affect the environment.
  • 5-ESS3-1: Collect and compile information about ways individual communities use scientific ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
  • MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing human impact on the environment.
  • MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

The following vocabulary will be used in this lesson and the teacher may want to introduce these to the students beforehand.

  • geothermal energy
  • greywater
  • synthetic wetland
  • water table
  • compost
  • conservation
  • regenerator
  • ventilation

Student Activities

Introduction: The teacher will ask students ways in which they think large buildings, such as office buildings or schools, potentially waste. The teacher will note these ideas on a T-chart (waste on the left side, solutions on the right). Some ideas include the following:

- heating/cooling;
- keeping windows/doors open to let cool or hot air in/out
- overuse of elevators
- greywater waste from sinks, water fountains
- water waste from toilets
- lighting (keeping lights on all the time, not using energy-efficient bulbs)
- paper waste
- not recycling or reusing; always purchasing new items

other various energy consumption:
- keeping electronics plugged in when not in use.
- not using the sleep setting on computers during breaks.
- driving to work or using other transportation.

Once the class has compiled a list, the teacher will separate them into small groups. In their small groups, students will come up with as many solutions for each of their waste ideas as possible.

The class will come back together, and they will add their solution ideas to the T-chart.

The teacher will tell the students they will be exploring a sustainable city building and they should take notes about the problems and solutions they came across.

Minecraft World Exploration:

Students should take notes on what they learn as they complete this exploration. Students will begin their exploration at the school and choose Lesson 3 from the teacher.

From there, students will walk down the street to the city’s sustainable building, initially being introduced to two NPCs that will explain how the building gets its heat and how that heat is used (geothermal energy).

Once in the building, students will skip the elevator to walk up the beautiful stairway to learn about how greywater is used.

Following the greywater through the building (using signs to point the way), students will end up at the synthetic wetland and learn how the greywater is used and drained from the building.

As they continue upstairs, they will learn about composting toilets, a regenerating elevator, and how windows can assist in lighting and heating/cooling.

On the rooftop, students will learn about the heat exchange system for the building, as well as climb scaffolding to view the solar panels. It’s important for them to click the NPC twice at this point, because the second time will get them back to the bus for their ride back to town!


As a class, students will discuss what they learned about how a city building can be sustainable using natural items and less/alternate energy. The teacher should jot down student responses on the board.

If desired, the teacher can first show students the video “Smart Buildings Saving the World” for more ideas.

Students, working alone or with a partner, will create a comic strip that shows a conversation between two people who work in different buildings - one that uses sustainable practices and one that does not.

Performance Expectations

Students will be able to…

- explain what a sustainable building encompasses (PE1).
- explain how certain sustainable practices can be put into place in community buildings (PE2).


  • Citizenship
  • Creativity
  • Project Based Learning

External References

Sustainability City Minecraft World

World to support lesson activities. Direct download.