The Roof Is Growing!

The Roof Is Growing! is a classroom program developed by the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA) to engage and educate middle school students (grades 6-8) about green roofs and their environmental benefits. A green roof is a roof substantially covered with vegetation.

Using an interactive program and a workbook, students gather facts about green roofs. Then, they apply their knowledge by preparing a case for building a green roof on the Frederick Olmsted school auditorium.

Green Roof Education Components

The Green Roof is Growing! program components are:

  Teacher's Guide: A downloadable, print resource to assist teachers with program implementation.

  Website: An interactive program that allows students to gather information about green roofs and their environmental benefits. Students can also learn about career opportunities in landscape architecture.

  Student Workbook: A downloadable, print workbook that directs students through the Green Roof web component and associated activities.

  Field Trip: If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, consider making a field trip to see the green roof on ASLA's headquarters. Sign up for a field trip!

Academic Standards

The Green Roof Is Growing! program is based on Grade Level 6-8 mathematics, science, and geography national standards and benchmarks created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL).

Learn more about the Academic Standards and related Benchmarks.

More Classroom Activities

Get information about the environmental benefits of green roofs and suggested classroom activities.


Use these links to access additional information, resources, and activities that relate to green roofs and associated topics.

Academic Standards

"The Roof Is Growing!" lesson design is based on relevant academic standards for Grade Levels 6 to 8 created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). Local academic standards can be matched to these national standards.

Mathematics Standard 4: Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement

  • Benchmark: Understands the relationships among linear dimensions, area, and volume and the corresponding uses of units, square units, and cubic units of measure
  • Benchmark: Solves problems involving units of measurement and converts answers to a larger or smaller unit within the same system (i.e., standard or metric)
  • Benchmark: Understands the concepts of precision and significant digits as they relate to measurement (e.g., how units indicate precision)
  • Benchmark: Selects and uses appropriate units and tools, depending on degree of accuracy required, to find measurements for real-world problems
  • Benchmark: Understands formulas for finding measures (e.g., area, volume, surface area)
  • Benchmark: Selects and uses appropriate estimation techniques (e.g., overestimate, underestimate, range of estimates) to solve real-world problems

Geography Standard 14: Understands how human actions modify the physical environment

  • Benchmark: Understands the environmental consequences of people changing the physical environment (e.g., the effects of ozone depletion, climate change, deforestation, land degradation, soil salinization and acidification, ocean pollution, groundwater-quality decline, using natural wetlands for recreational and housing development)

Geography Standard 18: Understands global development and environmental issues

  • Benchmark: Knows how the quality of environments in large cities can be improved (e.g., greenways, transportation corridors, pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes)

Science Standard 6: Understands the nature of scientific inquiry

  • Benchmark: Uses appropriate tools (including computer hardware and software) and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret scientific data
  • Benchmark: Establishes relationships based on evidence and logical argument (e.g., provides causes for effects)
  • Benchmark: Knows that scientific inquiry includes evaluating results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical and mathematical models, and explanations proposed by other scientists (e.g., reviewing experimental procedures, examining evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, identifying statements that go beyond the evidence, suggesting alternative explanations)
  • Benchmark: Knows possible outcomes of scientific investigations (e.g., some may result in new ideas and phenomena for study; some may generate new methods or procedures for an investigation; some may result in the development of new technologies to improve the collection of data; some may lead to new investigations)

Art Standard 1: Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines

  • Benchmark: Knows how various concepts and principles are used in the arts and disciplines outside the arts (e.g. balance, shape, pattern)


Use these suggested extension activities to complement "The Roof Is Growing!" lesson.

Cool Cities
  • The Urban Heat Island Effect
    Students learn about urban heat islands, the effects of urban surfaces on urban heat islands, and effects of urban heat islands on energy consumption and air quality. Source: National Geographic Education 
    Plants Help Keep a House Cool!
    Students experiment with using plants as shade blocks to cool a shoebox house. Source: California Energy Commission
Manage Stormwater
  • Monitoring and Assessing Water Quality
    Students employ scientific inquiry to measure the pollutants in rainwater using the project "From the Rain to the Drain." (Scroll down to locate the “From the Rain to the Drain” lesson plan.) Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
    No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces
    Students can learn about how to reduce the urban heat island effect with green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavements, and more. Source: Columbia University Earth Institute
    Watershed Workbook
    The National Park Service created this workbook of science activities to teach students about watersheds and the causes of water pollution. The activities guide students to become environmental stewards and encourage them to take active roles in protecting our watersheds. Source: National Park Service 
    Oregon Field Guide: Green Roofs 
    This video helps students and adults understand the environmentally harmful effects of stormwater runoff and how green roofs can help solve this problem. The video highlights on-going research on soil and plant selection and shows how green roofs are constructed on top of tall buildings. Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting
Clean the Air
Build Habitat
  • Build a Green Roof
    Students learn about the types of projects that landscape architects work on and then create their own green roof using a shoebox Source: ASLA