Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.

Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Here, you can find free sustainability lessons to use in your class and upload your own lessons to share. Be sure to rate the lessons you use and leave comments for your colleagues!

All of GEF's lessons and programs are offered at no cost.  Become a member to support GEF and enjoy member only benefits! 
Join button_03

Professional Development

GEFinstitute LOGO_WEB GEF Institute offers affordable, online sustainability courses eligible for professional development or academic credit.
Give your resume a boost!

Sponsor a Teacher

Support educators in your community by helping them earn a Certificate in Sustainability or take an online course. Find out more about sponsorship!
Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Going in Cycles: The Life of an Aluminum Can

Lesson Description:
  • To give students a better understanding of aluminum, a nonrenewable but recyclable resource they use every day.
  • To review the concept of cycles with students.
  • To give an overview of the life cycle of aluminum and aluminum cans.
  • To introduce the concept of closed-loop recycling as it pertains to aluminum cans and set the stage for learning about lightweighting.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

Time Needed:
Part One: 30-35 minutes Part Two: 30-35 minutes
Standards Addressed:
  • Subject areas: science, social studies, language arts, math, citizenship
  • Skills: discussion, observation, cycle recognition, problem solving, inquiry, sequencing, persuasive reasoning, kinesthetic concept development, research, reporting

Materials Needed:
  • Dead leaves in several stages of breakdown (or take a short trip to a wooded area near the school to collect layers of earth and leaves)
  • Chalkboard or flipchart (prepare drawings of cycles ahead of time)
  • World map for identifying sources of bauxite ore and aluminum production
  • Science notebooks for drawing cycles
  • Clay for model can making exercise
  • Aluminum can recycling handout
  • Science notebooks for drawing cycles

School or Group:
Greenville County Government Online
Contact Email:
Located in: Social Studies

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools