Earth Day is on April 22 and this year’s theme is "Restore Our Earth" which emphasizes natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to help restore the world’s ecosystems. Since its inception in 1970, the intent of Earth Day is to care about the natural world through proactive preservation measures and actions. Clearly there is more work to do but there are fun and easy activities to start with in the classroom. Here are seven of our favorite, and fun, Earth Day activities:
- Nature Scavenger/Treasure Hunt
Hunt for items in nature such as four different types of leaves, two types of flowers, a rough rock and a smooth rock, a bird’s feather, something that smells good, etc. The fun includes not only the “hunt” but sharing and comparing the different items found – nature’s treasures.
- Keep the Campus Clean
Pick up litter on the school grounds (and/or home depending on the learning environment). Provide pairs of students with gloves and at least two different colored bags – one for trash and one for recyclables. Afterwards, discuss what was found and have small groups collaborate on what the school can do to keep the school grounds clean (ex. provide recycling bins, start a cafeteria compost bin, reward students “caught” recycling, etc.).
- Game Time!
Create simple games to reinforce the importance of recycling and preserving the earth. For example, play Scrabble using only words related to these topics (upcycle, compost, cans, reuse, energy, etc.). OKTOPUS collaboration software has a game feature – GameZones – which includes games such as Trash Sort and Recycle Categories. These games are best played on an interactive flat panel display where any game can be played in separate areas or zones.
- Upcycle Recycled Treasures
Upcycling means to creatively reuse materials that would otherwise end up in the trash bin. For years, teachers have used the small, empty milk cartons from school lunches as pencil containers (after a good rinse and time to decorate). Paint empty veggie and soup cans to be flower vases or paintbrush containers. Rinse and wash baby food jars and use them as tea light holders. Upcycling sparks imagination and fosters creativity!
- Plant a Tree, Flowers, or Veggies
A traditional Earth Day activity is to plant a tree or start a flower or vegetable garden. Students can observe and track seed growth, record observations, and compare with classmates. If starting a garden, students can compare the growth rates of different seeds. The Labdisc Portable STEM lab also has simple lessons such as Planting Trees to reinforce this concept.
- Conduct an Experiment
Conduct a simple experiment that emphasizes earth preservation via energy conservation, recycling, composting, etc. MyStemKits has complete lessons and activities focused on related concepts such as Planting Trees, Seed Dispersal Kit, Seed Stations, and Wind Farm Kit. By incorporating hands-on STEM-focused activities, students will have a greater opportunity to strengthen key skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.
- Create a Diorama
Have students create a diorama using items found in their yards or school grounds emphasizing the theme ‘Restore the Earth.’ Encourage students to tell a story or promote a call to action with their dioramas. The completed dioramas can be placed around the room for a museum walk.
Try one of these fun ideas for Earth Day and watch how fun and learning go hand-in-hand. For more Earth Day ideas, visit earthday.org.
Learn more about what Boxlight has to offer to enhance your Earth Day, and beyond, lessons. Go to boxlight.com.