meea logo


MEEA helps educators inspire Missourians to care about, understand and act for their environment.


Support MEEA

facebook icon twitter icon

Environmental Literacy Questions

Environmental Questions

The questions cover ten topics with about 30 questions for each grade band: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. They are available as spreadsheets or set up as multiple choice questions in document form.

Earth Quest

A game of environmental knowledge covering ten topics over four grade bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. The game board and game cards can be printed out. Just add dice and game tokens and you are ready to go.

On-Line Quizzes

The quizzes cover ten topics over four grade bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Select a topic and quiz and the program randomly selects a set number of questions from the question bank.



How to Use the Questions

Any way you like! But please provide attribution and/or a link where appropriate so other folks can have a chance to use the questions themselves.


  1. use as pre-tests to find out what your students or audience already know about a topic
  2. use as pre- and post-tests to assess learning after a lesson, field trip, lab or other activity
  3. use them to design a lesson, activity or worksheet, by taking the answers as your target for the lesson plan
  4. use them to assess your own knowledge of a topic and to identify strengths and weaknesses in your understanding
  5. use them as a game (see Earth Quest)
  6. search for errors to help make this a better question set (see Errors)
  7. use them as a template for creating your own questions by adding to a topic or starting a new topic



The spreadsheets include columns for number, question, correct answer and two or three distractors. There are also columns for the main topic and sub-topics and occasionally, explanations for the answer or links to additional sources of information.

1. Air Pollution
2. Biodiversity & Habitat Loss
3. Climate Change
4. Critical Resources
5. Energy
6. Human Health
7. Matter
8. Tech, Tools, Skills
9. Waste
10. Water Pollution



Each document contains all the questions for a particualar topic and grade band. The correct answer is always A. We provided documents instead of pdfs so that users could pick and choose their own questions, reorder the questions and answers, and edit or add questions as they wish to suit their own purposes.

Topic Grade Bands
1. Air Pollution K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
2. Biodiversity & Habitat Loss K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
3. Climate Change K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
4. Critical Resources K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
5. Energy K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
6. Human Health K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
7. Matter K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
8. Tech, Tools, Skills K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
9. Waste K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
10. Water Pollution K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12


About the Questions

The goal of generating the 1200+ questions in this set was to identify the scope and depth of environmental knowledge that students should know at the end of each major period of schooling. In the end, it is an attempt to define what an educated citizen should know about the environment.

The first ten topics were selected from the major topic areas of the Missouri Environmental Literacy Standards. Reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Math and ELA Standards and national Social Studies standards, along with surveys of children's non-fiction literature, school worksheets and topical websites helped determine the particular sub-topics and math and reading skills for each grade band.

Our goal is to add to the topics over time. Suggestions are welcome. Email Jan Weaver with your ideas.

The questions were written by Jan Weaver, currently Executive Director of MEEA, and formerly Director of Environmental Studies and Associate Director of the Honors College Science Sequence for the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The work was supported by an EPA Environmental Education Grant. However, MEEA, and Jan Weaver specifically, assumes all responsibilty for any errors in the questions, whether factual, grammatical or spelling.



We welcome feedback about the questions, their age appropriateness, correctness, even spelling and grammar! Please share any thoughts, comments, or corrections you have with me at

Things to keep in mind!

1. Some audiences may be too young for qualifying statements. For example, in the K-2 questions we made an effort to keep questions and answers to one syllable words and sentences to less than ten words. This means there was quite a bit of generalizing. If you can improve accuracy without sacrificing brevity, suggestions are welcome!

2. The issues the questions are based on are a moving target. New knowledge from research or changing environmental conditions may make some questions out of date. We will try to review the questions every year or so, but updates are welcome!