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Curriculum and Activities Focused on New Mexico and the Southwest

Climate Change Activities

Climate Innovation Challenge

New Mexico teachers of 4-12th grade students are eligible to participate in the Climate Innovation Challenge organized by CAVU in Santa Fe. Participating teachers receive curriculum, training, and supplemental classroom support to guide students through the development of a project focused on climate change adaptation and then produce a video about their project. Students compete in a student showcase, and students with the winning projects receive cash prizes and other awards. The associated curriculum is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.


USDA Southwest Climate Hub

The USDA Southwest Climate Hub education materials, developed by the Asombro Institute for Science Education, include several units for 6th-12th graders that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. Within each unit, the lessons can be conducted in sequence as a module, or they can be completed individually as standalone lessons. The lessons teach current climate research through fun, hands-on activities that require only minimal, inexpensive materials. There are many free resources online for each lesson, including educator guides with step-by-step instructions, handouts with answer keys, and slide presentations. These rigorous activities have been thoroughly tested with students and reviewed by educators and scientists.


Water and Wildlife Activities

Bosque Education Guide

The Bosque Education Guide is an interdisciplinary curriculum about the Middle Rio Grande Valley ecosystem. The curriculum provides classroom-based and field activities for students grades K-12. For the central activity, students construct a model of the Middle Rio Grande and then manipulate the paper and cloth pieces to demonstrate human impacts over the last two hundred years. Later, they “restore” the ecosystem.


Green Schools: Project Learning Tree

The GreenSchools program provides a set of tools K-12 for students to analyze data and design a student-driven project to cut your school’s costs, improve student health and nutrition, teach STEM subjects, promote civic engagement, and acquire skills for the careers of the future. Environmental Education of New Mexico (EENM) is the Green Schools coordinator in New Mexico.


New Mexico Audubon  

Birds of a Feather Explore Together teaches children about the myriad habitats and wildlife found throughout our state. Students learn about bird behaviors and habitats, with an emphasis on riparian bird species, in addition to other animals and plants that are located in New Mexico. Participants also learn about bird nesting by examining real bird specimens, eggs, and nests. Audubon also offers summer camps.


New Mexico State Wildlife

This site offers curriculum focused on New Mexico Wildlife and wildlife management and their connections to many academic content areas. The majority of curriculum targets upper elementary and middle school grade levels.  There are a few lessons (Gone Fishing, Desert Bighorn, Rocky Mountain Bighorn) that are adaptable for grades 6-12. All lessons are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and current NM STEM-Ready Science Standards.


Maxwell Museum: Curriculum and Learning Kits 

Check-out kits on a variety of anthropology topics from the southwest and around the world are available.  The Learning Kit El Agua es Vida, Acequias in New Mexico helps students understand one of the most important consequences of climate change in the desert southwest, the reduction of our water. Traditional life here has revolved around the use and care of our precious water supply, which is the topic of this kit. This loaner kit with a teacher’s guide is designed for students in grades 3-8 with modifications possible. The units cover New Mexico history and culture, geography, science, creative writing, and more. The kit includes the story The Mother Ditch, by Oliver LaFarge, a historical account of an acequia community, a flash drive with historical photos and music, and four lessons.

River Source Youth for a Secure Water and Climate Future

In this online course for high school students from River Source, students improve their civics literacy and advocacy skills. Developed during the online 2021 NM State legislative session, this curriculum highlights current issues in water, climate, wildlife, and outdoor economics through a four video series of conversations with local experts. Resources are provided to help students amplify their voices in the New Mexico legislative process.


Sandia Mountain Natural History Center Curriculum and Activities

The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center offers free downloads of high-quality curriculum and activities for elementary through middle school students. Many are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. Educating Ecosystem Explorers: An Endangered Species Curriculum is a comprehensive curriculum of middle school lessons about five New Mexico Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Wildlife Visits to Sandia Mountain Springs provides middle school students with the opportunity to learn all about a local spring and the wildlife that frequent it.


Professional Development

Asombro Institute for Science Education

The Asombro Institute for Science Education provides K-12 teacher workshops focused on a variety of science topics in southern New Mexico and online. Asombro workshops usually include a stipend and free materials. Check their website for the latest offerings. Asombro programs are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.

Environmental Education of New Mexico

EENM  provides professional development, communication, and partnership for environmental education. Members are environmental education professionals in STEM, government, higher education, K–12 education, non-formal education, early childhood education, science education and business, and many other sectors.


Project Learning Tree 

Project Learning Tree (PLT) offers online educator trainings. Trainings are offered regularly at sites throughout New Mexico. View upcoming PLT trainings. These workshops are designed for educators, parents and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12 and include curriculum materials. Curriculum materials are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and other national standards (National Social Studies Standards, Excellence in EE Guidelines, and Girl Scout Program).



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