Young Learners and Online Project-Based Learning: Building an Eco-House

Young Learners and Online Project-Based Learning: Building an Eco-House

It is a pleasure to feature this guest post from Milica Vukadin (Alice) from I’ve always enjoyed reading her articles or hearing her ideas on motivating young learners to get involved in environmental matters, and I love the way they are so practical and always get students out and about!

Project-based learning sounds scary and like there is a lot of planning involved, but educators start pressing the panic button when they have to do it in distance learning (at least this is how I picture it in my mind). This post will share a full CLIL unit with 3 interactive digital materials, exclusively for ELTsustainable, so feel free to reuse the materials in your classroom. The end of the article will discuss the final project, but if you are interested in the whole unit, it will be linked down below.

These materials are suitable for teenagers and intermediate or advanced young learners. The unit can be conducted online or face-to-face.

Listening Activities, Brainstorming, Sorting Energy Resources

With this lesson you will:

1. Brainstorm where does our power comes from?;
2. Listen to the audio and discover what were the most used energy resources in 2019;
3. Watch a video to check the answers;
4. Explore an interactive graph;
5. Sort the energy resources into 2 groups (renewable and non-renewable).

Concept Review, Listening and Reading Comprehension Activities

Let’s learn more about the 4 basic types of renewable energy resources and do a fact-check.

Every page has at least 2 mistakes!
Try to fact-check the given information and share the mistakes you found in the live lesson.
Don’t forget to complete the interactive vocabulary review!

Exploration, Debate and Designing a Sustainable Home Project

In this lesson you will:

1. Explore renewable energy resources in your closest community;
2. Add reliable resources and report back to the class;
3. Have an interactive debate with a spinner;
4. Start developing a plan for your own sustainable home following the given steps.

If you want to read the full article, go to, because we will share only the final project here.

The project: Develop your own renewable resource plan for a house located in your city/town/village

The students were separated in breakout rooms and they had a task to brainstorm and collaborate in order to make a plan for a sustainable home.

Explore the renewable resource plan questions

Questions to help you develop your plan:

  • Which type of energy could fit their environment the best?
  • How will the energy source affect the surrounding area?
  • What is the problem that the invention is trying to solve?
  • Are there any negative impacts on the environment?
  • What can be powered in the house with this renewable energy resource?
  • Explanation of how the plan is more advantageous than other renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

Green features to think about:

  • Building site and using the sun as much as you can;
  • Passive heating (sun, windows, floor materials);
  • Geothermal energy;
  • Energy-saving home appliances;
  • Motion-activated lights;
  • Solar panels;
  • Rainwater collection.

Collaborate with other students

Chat with other students and see who lives in a similar environment as you if you want to pair up, or join a group.

Sustainable house design with different tools

Create a sketch or a model during the lesson, and then present your main idea in a few sentences. You can do this via audio, video, or text. Post the picture and your idea in the Let’s design the Edmodo group to get feedback.

You can use:

  • (picture or infographic); 
  • Screencastify to record your screen on your computer while you explain what you planned; 
  • Any screen recording app for your phone + notepad on your phone if you wish to draw; 
  • Use a floor planner to plan out your house! 
  • Good, old fashioned pen, paper, markers! 
  • … or get even more creative! Use dough and recyclables to make a 3D map and have fun!

Homework project time!

Continue with the development of your renewable resource plan for a house. Make a video using your sketch/model + text OR audio + text with pictures. Present the project in a video or in audio and practice speaking skills. Upload it as a separate post in the project designated folder on Edmodo. 
Draw with any online tool you select, draw by hand, or create a 3D model with dough and recyclables. The sketch needs to have a textual explanation, and the specific parts/machines of the renewable energy resource need to be marked in the house.

Alice’s online school with free monthly workshops (with a ‘green’ twist) for children all around the world

Alice started this program last year and the program includes having four free workshops every month. She focuses on using drama, storytelling, music, game-based learning, contextual grammar learning, and environmental education to make learning English seamless and engaging. Her passion is CLIL and all of her workshops are thematical.

About Alice

Milica Vukadin (Alice) is an English teacher with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, with a double minor (English teaching methodology for young learners and Serbian language teaching methodology). She is also a young but published academic researcher, teacher trainer, and material designer.  

She is passionate about using storytelling, drama, and music in her language workshops. Her other passions include interculturalism and environmental education. 

What activities would you use to introduce renewable energy resources to your young learners? Are there some activities you like? Is there a way to make your English lessons more sustainable? Write in the comments or via the contact page.

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