Smithsonian Science for Global Goals "Environmental Justice!" in Canada

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals "Environmental Justice!" in Canada

Project Background:  

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is working with educators and young people to build knowledge and skills around global and local environmental justice issues! We invite interested classroom teachers, informal educators, and community members to join and take part in this project, implementing the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals community research guide, Environmental Justice! How can we create healthy environments for everyone?   

This project is made possible through the generous funding of General Motors Canada, and in collaboration with local Canadian educators and educational organizations.  

Project Participants:  

This project is specifically being implemented in Canada with a focus on rural and remote communities, but all are welcome! We encourage educators who serve Indigenous youth to join. The Environmental Justice! guide is designed to be used with students aged 11-18. The term “Educator” can be used quite broadly to refer to classroom teachers, informal educators, and community members, who are all welcome to join. 

Registration Link: 

Registration closes September 15! 

Virtual professional development will take place on September 18 from 5-8pm Eastern Time 


Registration Information

Registration is free. The final deadline to register is September 15, 2023. Please use this link to register: 

Project Timeline

September 15, 2023: Final deadling for program registration. All participants will receive access to an asynchronous Moodle course that they can use to learn about the Environmental Justice! guide.  

September 18, 2023, 5:00-8:00pm: Synchronous professional development on the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals Environmental Justice! guide. 

September-October 2023: Participating educators implement the Environmental Justice! guide with their students. Students will: 

  • Discover: Use existing knowledge to discover more about how you and your community feel and think about the environment.
  • Understand: Gather and analyze information to better understand the environmental justice issues facing your community.
  • Act: Determine and take inclusive actions to make your community environmentally just.
  • To best showcase this process and the actions taken, student groups will be asked to make a video. Videos can be in any language, and educators will be provided with some criteria for student videos.

During the implementation process, educators and students may receive optional support from the SSEC and GM Canada through coaching, mentorship, feedback, or local opportunities for engagement.

October 2023: All participating educators and students will be asked to submit their videos for review by a panel of experts. Some videos may be showcased in conference presentations or social media campaigns. 

October 2023: Participating educators will be invited to an in-person convening to share their experiences using the Environmental Justice! guide 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What language will the training be in?  

Answer: The Smithsonian-led training will be conducted in English in May. Provided there is enough educator interest, the August training can be held in Canadian French as well as English.   

Q: What language are the student-facing materials in?  

A: The Environmental Justice guide is available in English, Canadian French, Spanish and Arabic.  

Q: How long does it take to implement the Environmental Justice! guide with students?  

A: The guide can be completed in a minimum of 8-10 contact hours with students, but educators have found the most success in implementing it over the course of 15-20 contact hours. This does not include the time that students may need to complete their videos.  

Q: Is there a specific timeline during which implementation should occur?  

A: No. We have kept the project open-ended so that it can be done with students in the last month of the 2022-2023 school year, over the summer, or in the first part of the 2023-2024 fall semester. We recognize that for many classroom educators, this project will be in addition to their standard curriculum, so we are working to make the implementation as flexible as possible.  

Q: Is there any student or educator assessment as a part of this program?  

A: SSEC will administer a teacher- and student-survey at the end of the program.  

Q: Who can participate in this project?  

A: Educators serving students aged 11-18 may register for the program. All students’ parents or guardians will need to sign a Smithsonian-provided waiver to participate fully. 

Q: What are the benefits to participating educators?  

A: By participating in this project, educators will receive high-quality professional development aligned to the SSEC’s Environmental Justice! guide. They will have the opportunity to build community with colleagues around Canada who are working to implement the same guide. Participating educators will use a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning and will have the opportunity to apply for an in-person meeting of participating educators at the end of the program.  

Q: What are the benefits to participating students?  

A: Participating students will have the opportunity to discover, understand, and act to find solutions to environmental justice issues in their own local community. They will get to connect with local and global experts working on environmental justice topics and will eventually get to showcase their work through a video that will be shared with experts, students, and educators around the world.