Will our state survive the next 100 years?

Every state is uniquely great. From coastlines to mountains to rolling prairies, our landscape is diverse. In this project, students will become aware of the need for a sustainable world by focusing directly on their own state’s sustainability. They will use their creativity to design a book about their state that informs readers how small changes can develop a more sustainable world. Finally, they’ll publish their book and sell it for a charitable cause.

Imagine if thousands of kids just like yours were able to promote sustainable practices and become agents of change. What an incredible force for good!

Project Plan and Resources

Learning Targets


Lesson 1: Students understand the importance of sustainability.

Lesson 2: Students expand their understanding of the importance of sustainability.

Lesson 3: Students learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Lesson 4: Students conduct research to gather relevant information about their state.

Lesson 5: Students create an infographic that represents their UN Sustainable Development Goal.

Lesson 6: Students create a rough draft of their state book pages.

Lesson 7: Students revise their writing to improve upon their ideas.

Lesson 8: Students use technology to create a published book.

For lesson descriptions, download the project overview.

For K–8 content connections, download the content correlations.

Online Resources

Interactive Games and Activities

  • Fish On! Card Game*
  • Fish On! Math Activity
  • Fish On! Simulator
  • State Book Pages Template
  • Wear It, Share It Game
  • Would You Rather…? Game

Websites and Videos

  • Book Creator
  • Google Slides
  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Video: Nature Now
  • Video: The Future is Now
  • Video: The Lorax Read-Aloud
  • Video: The World’s Largest Lesson
  • Video: Tragedy of the Commons*
  • Video: UN Sustainable Development Goals – Overview
  • Video: What is Sustainable Development?

Additional Resources

  • 5 Steps to Making an Infographic Resource
  • Book List
  • Editing and Revising Nonfiction Checklist
  • Home Letter
  • Infographic Examples
  • Kid-Safe Search Sites
  • Nonfiction Text Features Resource
  • Press Release
  • Reflection Journal
  • Scientific Explanation Resource
  • State by State Research Map*
  • Student Book Planning Page
  • Student Self-Assessment Rubric
  • Teacher Assessment Rubric
  • Tragedy of the Commons Vocabulary Review 
  • Virtual Student Edition

All lessons include:

About the Author

Paul Solarz

4th Grade Teacher
Westgate Elementary School
Arlington Heights, IL

Each Blue Apple Project Includes:

Paul Solarz

4th Grade Teacher
Westgate Elementary School,
Arlington Heights, IL

Hi! I’m Paul Solarz and I’ve been teaching at Westgate Elementary School in Arlington Heights since 1999. I’m a vocal advocate for student-centered teaching practices and a focus on twenty-first century skills attainment. My students spend time each week pursuing personal interests during Passion Time (a.k.a. Genius Hour) and maintain personal ePortfolios of their work in class. I’ve published a book entitled, Learn Like a PIRATE which gives teachers ideas for empowering students to collaborate and become stronger leaders while effectively leading the classroom. In 2015, I was named a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey GEMS Global Teacher Prize, and was also named the 2014 Educator of the Year by Illinois Computing Educators.