45 - 60 Minute Environmental Lesson Plan for Middle School Students

A curated selection of films focusing on environmental issues such as the health of our oceans, the need for proper sanitation, detrimental effects of deforestation, and mining practices while showcasing individuals, including youth, who are making a positive difference.

45 - 60 minute lesson plan Middle School
Credit: MY HERO

Total run time of films is approximately 28 minutes.

MABON ‘The 8 year old activist’

Jack Davies

Our world has a serious ocean plastics problem. There are now a higher number of plastics in the ocean than the number of fish. (4:39 minutes run time)

Ocean Hero Spotlight

Jessica Vance

Oluwaseyi Moejoh from Nigeria and Heather Brockbank from the Bahamas share their stories of ocean activism. (4:20 run time)

Every Drop Counts

Produced by:Actuality Media

Cada Gota Cuenta gives a dynamic insight into just how detrimental the contaminated water in Guatemala can be on its population. (9:55 minutes run time)

The Secret of Trees

Produced by:Albert Maysles

What do trees know that we don't? 13-year-old inventor Aiden set out to find out. (3:35 minutes run time)

Plastic Plague

Produced by:Jody Lemmon

Plastic pollution is threatening the ocean's ecosystems, but we can work together to prevent further damage! (4:46 minutes run time)

Discussion Questions and Activity Suggestions

1. Plastic is harmful to our waterways and oceans. What are some things you can do to make a positive difference in solving this problem?

2. Both Oluwaseyi Moejoh and Heather Brockbank are young activists making a positive difference in their communities. They each talked about the need for better waste plans and how that is connected to the health of oceans. How are sanitation and the health of the ocean connected?  (Extension activity: Check the websites of each girl included in the film. What progress are they making?)

3. Aiden noticed a possible connection between trees and harnessing solar energy. How can increased solar energy help the climate?

4. Why is environmental education important? 

To Extend this lesson: Have students think about what they can do to reduce the use of plastic at school and at their homes. Encourage them to create an action plan and share their story with MY HERO. 

Environmental Activists Making a Difference: Films Total Run Time Approximately 20 minutes

Rainforest Action

Will Parrinello

In 2020 Nemonte received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize and was named to Time Magazine’s Top 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. (8:30 minutes run time)



Nemonte Nenquimo, Ecuadorian Waorani Indigenous leader, whose Indigenous campaign and legal action resulted in a court ruling protecting 500,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory from oil extraction. 



Wangari Mathaai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement, was a Kenyan social environmental,  and a political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Wangari Maathai Tribute Film

Produced by:Collaborative Partnership on Forests

To commemorate and honor the life and work of Professor Wangari Maathaai, founder of the Green Belt Movement. (6:51 minutes run time)

One Woman Roadblock

Produced by:Mill Valley Film Group

A former tribal chief, Marilyn Baptiste led her native community in defeating proposed gold and copper mines that would have destroyed Fish Lakea source of spiritual identity and livelihood for her people. (4:57 minutes run time)



The daughter of the Xeni Gwet’in chief, Marilyn Baptiste learned early about values and the importance of protecting the land. She demonstrates that a one-woman roadblock is powerful enough to stop even the most intimidating of mining companies. 

Discussion Questions

1. Each of the women featured in the films made a positive difference in their communities. What character traits do they share that made their efforts successful?

2. Do some research. What environmental issues are people working to eliminate around the world?

3. Create a list of environmental issues you are concerned about. What can you and other students in your school do to make a positive difference in the environment?

Example of Students Making a Difference with an Eco Club.

Eco Club

Michael Fenner

A student's passion for going green. (2:21 minutes run time)



Be inspired by the story of students who decided they wanted to make a positive difference in their community and started the Eco Club. What are the benefits of a club like this in schools? What can you do at your school to make a positive difference for your community?

Organizer created on 6/14/2022 4:10:44 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 3/28/2023 12:54:19 PM by Laura Nietzer