Step 1: Getting Started
There are many ways to generate ideas for planning a MWEE ranging from an inspiring learning objective that lends itself to field-based learning to a compelling local environmental issue. During this phase, it may be worthwhile to consider existing field trips, outdoor assets at or around your school, and district-, community-, or school-based initiatives for natural opportunities to build off. Exploring and gathering information on local environmental issues, options for field experiences, existing teaching resources, and partnerships with other teachers can also help generate ideas. Working with teachers of the same and different subjects can foster collaboration, connect to multiple disciplines, and engage more students in the MWEE. School district content specialists may also be able to provide access to information, materials, and resources and can be experts in identifying where a MWEE could fit into the curriculum.
Successful MWEEs often involve the support of multiple partners who play important roles in planning, delivering, and/or sustaining MWEE programs. Environmental education professionals from the school district or local nonprofit organizations can often assist with MWEE planning and implementation, including brainstorming MWEE ideas, offering teacher professional learning, and assisting with outdoor field experiences and/or environmental action projects.
“Partnerships provide opportunities for teachers and students to experience the natural world beside those who live and breathe practical environmental literacy on a daily basis.”
- Jonathan Wickert, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Look to your community to provide additional support understanding the local issue. Community-based organizations can support the local context of a MWEE, often bringing cultural and social expertise. Additionally, community partners like businesses, universities, and government agencies can often be called on to support MWEEs by offering time, expertise, and supplies. Remember that while these are wonderful resources, active teacher facilitation for all elements of the MWEE is an important practice so the experience feels cohesive to the students.
MWEE Think Cloud
With so many things to consider, planning a MWEE might seem both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. To organize your ideas, start with the MWEE Think Cloud planning tool. This tool can help you with some initial brainstorming about program ideas, collaborators, and resources and can be used to facilitate planning conversations with partners and team members.