​Service Learning: Connecting Classrooms to the Community

Service Learning makes a difference! The community benefits from students who use science and mathematics to implement a campus-wide recycling program or a club that leverages technology and engineering to design a school garden. Register today for one or all of our Service Learning programs!

  • Traveling Scientist visit to your school to help your class or club start a Service Learning Project (1 to 3 visits)
  • Field Trip that includes an onsite Service Learning Project
  • Large Group events where students can collaborate with mentors and other students
  • Membership with the Youth Stewardship Council
At Inside the Outdoors, students who participate in our Service Learning program and the Youth Stewardship Council use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts to address environmental issues in our local communities.
These programs:
  • Prepare students to be college and career ready with project-based field work to connect classroom lessons to real life experience
  • Build 21st century skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and team work
  • Allow students to work side-by-side with mentors, peers, and community leaders
  • Are available for any middle/high school class or club

Contact our office for additional information on these opportunities!


​Alternative education students work with Boeing mentors to apply classroom STEM lessons and Inside the Outdoors E-STEM Field Trip concepts to design shade structures for a local environmental education site After an E-STEM Field Trip and Service Learning project at their school,  alternative education high school students pay it forward by teaching Boys & Girls Club youth about the importance of recycling and donating recycling bins to the club
Students work as a group on a Service Learning project to install a teaching garden at their school. The garden is used for E-STEM outdoor classes for high school students, alternative education classes, and special needs programs Student leaders engage youth from several schools in a leadership development and 21st century skills workshop

Key Elements of Service Learning

High quality Service Learning includes the following seven elements to create powerful teaching and learning experiences.
  1. Integrated Learning: Informs the academic curriculum and content; the life skills learned through Service-Learning projects outside the classroom are integrated back into classroom through alignment with academic content standards.
  2. High Quality Service: Responds to a real community need, is age appropriate and well organized; establishes goals and objectives for both service and learning.
  3. Collaboration: Partners can be community based organizations, parents, other schools, or recipients of the service.
  4. Student Voice: Students actively participate in choosing, planning, reflecting upon, an evaluating the service project.
  5. Civic Responsibility: Promotes students’ responsibility to care for others and provides an understanding of how they can impact their community.
  6. Reflection: Establishes connections between students’ service experience and academic content standards; reflection occurs before, during and after the service project.
  7. Evaluation: Measures progress towards both the learning and the service goals of the project.

Service Learning Projects Ideas

Five Simple Service Learning Projects

  1. Make posters on the importance of water and how people can conserve water. Post them around your school or do a presentation for other classes.
  2. Conduct a survey of your classroom/school to see what you can change to help the environment.
  3. Write a letter to the governor or city officials concerning an environmental issue that is of interest to you and your class.
  4. Start a recycling program/campaign at your school. Collect materials that can be recycled and make a poster of these items and place them around your school.
  5. Research household products and the hazardous chemicals they contain. Start an awareness campaign about non-toxic alternatives.

More In-depth Project Ideas

  1. Clean up a park or vacant lot in your neighborhood.
  2. Organize a beach or park clean up.
  3. Adopt a local habitat (steam, river, park, beach, etc.). Clean up a portion and help to maintain it. You can also figure out where the pollution is coming from and start an awareness campaign to help prevent it.
  4. Create a “Green Tip” segment for your schools morning announcements. (This can be a simple 1-2 sentence green tip. They can be looked up on the internet or in books.)
  5. Organize an e-waste collection drive at your school, www.wmorangecounty.com/env/ewaste.asp.
  6. Plant a community garden at your school using native and other drought-tolerant plants, www.cnps.org.
  7. Plant trees on your campus.
  8. Create a waste survey to be filled out by students and/or community members. Compile the results and start a public awareness campaign based on your findings. Some ideas include making fliers, posters, or a public service announcement.
  9. Start a public awareness campaign about the ways that community members can prevent pollution (land, water, or air).
  10. Work with your local water district to create a water conservation campaign. Create a way to measure the effectiveness of the campaign, www.mwdoc.com
  11. Start a compost at school for your school garden.

Service-Learning is a philosophy that encourages all of us to see young people as a community's resource. Together we are responsible for educating youth.

For additional ideas and curriculum integration, visit www.servicelearning.org.