Leadership in Environmental Action Projects (LEAP)

Students collecting recyclablesLeadership in Environmental Action Projects (LEAP) is a student action program that reduces, reuses and recycles trash from schools and communities and informs people about local solid waste and resource issues. LEAP uses student/community partnerships and cooperative learning to achieve these goals. The St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District, using landfill tipping fee surcharges, funds LEAP.

Teachers can bring LEAP waste and recycling lessons to their school as one-time, on-demand lessons. 

Note: If you're looking for more one-on-one support, check out our Student Action Projects.

LEAP On-Demand Lessons

LEAP on-demand lessons are one-time outreach programs that cover a variety of waste topics. Classes last 30–60 minutes depending on the topic and age of students.

These lessons are free of charge to public and private schools in City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Virtual options are available upon request.

Contact Kassie at kknight@mobot.org to bring a LEAP program to your school!

See available lessons below or download a comprehensive list of LEAP lessons.


Sustain Game (K–12)

Sustain Game
Grades K–12

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.
  students in a huddleIn this hands on game, students will balance taking the resources they need to survive against preserving some resources for future generations.

Essential Questions: How can I better understand my role in using natural resources sustainably? What does it mean to use resources sustainably?

Living the 3Rs (K–5)

Living the 3Rs
Grades K–5

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.
  Crumpled up paperThe 3Rs are a great way to conceptualize actions that help the environment. In this lesson, students will discuss what can and cannot be recycled, as well as ways to reduce and reuse these items.

Essential Questions: What can I do to reduce waste and conserve resources?

Decomposer Detectives (K–5)

Decomposer Detectives
Grades K–5

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  worms in soil held in child's handsComposting is a great way to teach about life cycles. In this lesson, students learn the basics of composting through hands-on exploration of an active vermicomposting (worm compost) bin.

Essential Questions: How can humans mirror natural processes to reduce waste and live more sustainably?

Making Recycled Paper (1–5)

Making Recycled Paper
Grades 1–5

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  Student making recycled paperStudents work through the process of making paper from scrap paper. This exercise helps students better understand the recycling process of turning waste into new products for the market.

Essential Questions: How does the recycling process help conserve natural resources?

Full Circle Stories (4–8)

Full Circle Stories
Grades 4–8

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  students and teacher sitting in a circleExplore the definition of sustainability and how students can use stories as a way to encourage others to be sustainable. Students will write a creative short story about the adventure of one item from production to recycling or disposal.

Essential Questions: How can story telling help people understand the impact of their actions? Can creative stories inspire people to change their daily behavior?

Garbology 101 (4–8)

Garbology 101
Grades 4–8

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  person walking with trash bagStudents use a 3D tabletop model to explore the engineering and design of modern landfills in order to better understand where our garbage goes when we throw things away.

Essential Questions: How does the waste we generate impact us and our environment?

HHW or Safe? (4–8)

HHW or Safe?
Grades 4–8

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  bucket of household cleanersThrough a discussion and interactive product sorting activity students will be introduced to the topic of household hazardous waste and the impacts of these products to human health and the environment.

Essential Questions: What responsibility do consumers, like myself, have in protecting human health and the environment from hazardous materials?

Recycling Science (6–12)

Recycling Science
Grades 6–12

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  Hands sorting plastic bottle capsLearn how Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and manufacturers use science and engineering to separate and recover materials. See how physics and chemistry are creating a more sustainable world!

Essential Questions: What role do science and engineering have in creating and managing waste?

Green or Greenwashing (6–12)

Green or Greenwashing
Grades 6–12

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  Cleanser containersIn this program, students are encouraged to put on their critical and conscientious consumer thinking caps! They will be equipped to evaluate product labeling with a series of informed questions and empowered by their opportunity to make impactful choices as consumers.

Essential Questions: What steps does it take to become a more conscientious consumer? What tools and techniques do advertisers use to convey their ideas, messages, and beliefs?

Sustainability Shark Tank (6–12)

Sustainability Shark Tank
Grades 6–12

Call (314) 577-0281 to schedule.

  students working togetherAre you ready to use your creativity to create a new recycled product? In this class, students will learn about the three-legged stool of sustainability and use that framework to develop a new product out of recycled material.

Essential Questions: How can businesses adapt to serve social, environmental, and economic needs?