Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum

Guided by California's Environmental Principles and Concepts, the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum consists of 85 engaging units that address core academic standards in science, history–social science, and English language arts.

The California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum is a powerful, state board of education-approved instructional resource that helps educators teach to state standards in science* and history–social science using the environment as context.

We partner with California’s Office of Education and the Environment at CalRecycle by contributing strategic planning, hands-on implementation support, and resources.

In a survey of over 16,000 teachers using the EEI Curriculum in their classrooms:

  • 98% reported their students were engaged or very engaged by the Curriculum
  • 99% are sure the Curriculum is helping them teach Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy
  • 97% of teachers who work with English language learners report that the Curriculum effectively served the needs of their students
  • 99% plan to continue using the Curriculum in future years
  • 99% would recommend the Curriculum to other teachers

By introducing topics of study including local geography and species populations, air, water, and energy, and resource management, the EEI Curriculum is an engaging and effective tool for students to see the relevance of science and engineering to their lives.

Ten Strands is also proud to partner with CalRecycle’s Office of Education and the Environment in a unique professional learning offering for teachers: the Teacher Ambassador Program. The Teacher Ambassador Program enlists master teachers using the EEI Curriculum to lead workshops introducing content, pedagogy, and best practices to teachers who are interested in using the environment to teach required standards in core subject areas—such as science and history–social science.

The Teacher Ambassador program includes:

  • The webinar program EEI Live!, which provides guided professional learning for teachers and administrators highlighting the EEI Curriculum and the issues that matter to educators—such as the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, and student engagement. Teacher ambassadors lead and present the webinars, which are archived and available to any teacher at any time.
  • In-Person Workshops, which provide hands-on professional learning using the EEI Curriculum. Teachers benefit from seeing inquiry-based instruction modeled, and gain experience by practicing with lessons from the curriculum. The workshops encourage teachers to use the environment as a basis for teaching, and connects them to teacher ambassadors who act as mentors.
  • The Teacher Ambassador Retreat, which Ten Strands and Office of Education and the Environment hold annually for current and new teacher ambassadors. Here, the peer-to-peer focused professional learning includes modeling and sharing best practices, identifying challenges and proposing solutions, guest speakers, discussions around current and upcoming standards and instructional requirements, and brainstorming how to extend the EEI Curriculum to create bridges to environment-based learning beyond the classroom walls.

*The EEI Curriculum includes 40 science units that were created prior to the adoption of the California Next Generation Science Standards. Although these units were written for California’s 1998 science standards, they contain engaging resources (including visual aids, readings, activities, and maps) that are still relevant and, if thoughtfully integrated, can help support lessons and units of study focused on California’s Next Generation Science Standards. To learn more about how the EEI Curriculum can support the teaching of Next Generation Science Standards, as well as the Common Core State Standards, visit the California EEI Correlation Guides webpage.

Our partners in this work:



California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) brings together the state's recycling and waste management programs, and maintains a tradition of environmental stewardship. CalRecycle's vision is to inspire and challenge Californians to…

State Education and Environment Roundtable

The State Education and Environment Roundtable provides professional development programs to meet the needs of schools and districts. Their programs are highly interactive, and are designed to help teachers achieve standards-based learning goals…