Jump to the Content

Educational Resources

Students around the world learn about the Ecological Footprint
in elementary, secondary, and university classrooms.

Footprint Calculator

From sociology to ecology, students in a wide variety of classes are assigned to use our online calculator to measure their personal Ecological Footprints, discover their biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what they can do to tread more lightly on the Earth.

Every semester I have my students calculate their Footprint, change their lifestyle for one week to decrease that Footprint, then compare the results and how it would impact the number of people that could sustainably exist on the planet. Students are shocked when they discover their results. The fact that it is personal and tells them how many planets we would need if everyone on the planet lived as they do drives home the issue better than I ever could in lecture.

ADAM GREEN, Program Chair for Environmental Studies, Director for Center for Sustainability, Santa Barbara City College
Calculator Blog Posts
We need a new Footprint Calculator!
Are you one of the two million people who used our Ecological Footprint Calculator last year?If so, you know it’s value and impact. You also know an update of the...   More ›

Footprint Explorer Open Data Platform

Our new Ecological Footprint Explorer opens up our National Footprint Accounts data for anyone to explore and download. Updated every year, the National Footprint Accounts track human demand and nature’s capacity to meet that demand for more than 200 nations. Educators can use the data platform in lesson plans on sustainability as well as statistics.

Curriculum

Lessons for different educational levels and ages

Footprint Futures Module

Footprint Futures is a university-level teaching module for exploring the sustainability challenge facing human economies. The module consists of a student-driven exploration into what the optimal scale of material demand is for a national economy, using real country examples. More specifically, it asks: What would be a given country’s optimal Footprint compared to the country’s biocapacity by 2050?

Understanding Sustainable Living

The World’s Largest Lesson is a collection of lesson plans and other teaching resources related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by world leaders in 2015 to to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and stem climate change. The Understanding Sustainable Living lesson was developed for ages 11-14 to address goal #12, Responsible Consumption and Production. The lesson plan features the Footprint calculator and profiles of four children around the world for class discussion.

Activities

Hands-on activities and videos to learn about the Ecological Footprint, climate change, and what we can do to create a sustainable planet.

The Fish Game

You have 10 days to catch as many fish as you can. The money you make from these fish will need to support your family for the next month. Each fish nets $2. The Fish Game, created by the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, helps kids and adults better understand resource constraints and sustainability. Play the game online and find out how to make the most out of your resources!

More Fun Activities

Footprint Drawing: Suggest ways to reduce your Ecological Footprint in a drawing like the one by a seventh grader at right.

Recycling Game: Play a game and learn the basics of recycling.

Trashy Stationary: Don’t trash your trash, when you can recycle it into beautiful cards and stationery!

Videos

Watch a videos about the Ecological Footprint, climate change, natural resources, and more. Our curated collection features a TEDx talk, Bill Nye, Concerned Kittens, and National Geographic Kids.

Additional Resources

Teaching with Ecological Footprints curriculum from Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

Kid-friendly article on the Ecological Footprint, with link to Footprint calculator for children, from KQED Quest.

Learn the Climate Change Basics from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Engage students in learning conservation techniques at home and at school with a lesson plan from the National Wildlife Federation for grades 4-6.

Find out what’s causing sea-level rise in a classroom activity from NASA for grades 2-8.

Graph global temperature trends with NASA’s Classroom Activity for grades 5-12.

Manage your energy budget with a lesson from PBS LearningMedia for grades 6-12.

A hands-on, inquiry-based, curriculum for year 9 or year 10 students on global warming and renewable energy from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Terracycle curriculum lesson sets from The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.

Resources from Germany

German website on nature and the environment for children from Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB).

Weekly teaching lessons on timely environmental topics from BMUB.

Dowloadable classroom materials on environmental topics, including biodiversity, renewable energy and climate change, from BMUB.

Create your own classroom activity and tell us about it so that we can share it with our community!