How Can We Decrease Our Impact on the Earth’s Climate at our School?

In this design challenge lesson students explore the Denver Public School District’s solid waste plan and discuss how their school can save or decrease emissions by reducing solid waste at our school.

Context for Use

This is the first lesson in the Climate Resiliency Education Design Challenge Unit. These design challenges are meant to follow the middle or high school Climate Resiliency Education units and to have students come up with real world solutions.

A large truck dumps trash into a landfill.

Goals Header
What Students Will Do

Students will come up with a plan to reduce their school's solid waste.


  1. (10 minutes) Video: Watch CNN's Colorado is using piles of rotten food for fuel video and discuss Notice and Wonderings.
  2. (10 minutes) Sharing Initial Ideas Discussion: Generate ideas for this lesson based while looking at the DPS key strategies slide.
  3. (15 minutes) Introduce DPS solid waste plan and generate questions.
  4. (10 minutes) Categorize and prioritize the questions in order of importance.
Illustration of two people high-fiving in a work environment

Get involved and stay up-to-date with CIRES CEEE.