Our top Earth Day Activities to use in your classroom
The best way to give your students a love of the Earth is by going outside and exploring. a great way for students to appreciate nature is by “adopting” a tree. It seems simple but it can be so powerful. Choose a tree in your playground or on your school grounds. Have the students sit in a big circle around the tree and sketch. A simple clipboard and a piece of paper and a pencil are really all you need. Before you let them start, do a little modeling of sketching. You can model sketching for your class by having a running narrative. Tell your class exactly what you are looking at exactly what you are drawing. You will be shocked how taking 10 minutes to guide your students into really seeing the details of an object will have a major impact on how they draw that object. You can have them repeat this activity over and over as the seasons change.
Learn about recycling
Youtube is a great source of information about recycling. Watch a variety of videos from SciKids.to help your students understand what happens after we recycle objects. This video on recycling does a great job explaining how different materials are processed and reused. Earth Day is a perfect time to learn how materials we recycle go from trash to a new product can fill us all with hope. Isn’t that what Earth Day is all about?
Once you watch the video you can offer your students the chance to sort a variety of items in your classroom. This Boom Learning Deck will have your students recycling paper, metal, plastic, glass, and compost.
Earth Day STEM
Stem challenges are a great way to get your students interested in solving problems. Our students will need to feel comfortable identifying problems and developing a solution. Earth Day STEM challenges and the engineering design process gives our students an opportunity to have hands-on practice creating solutions to problems. Let them get creative and then let them build. Having a room full of children building a solution to a problem, testing it out, and redesigning it is the foundation of the engineering design process. It allows students to start to see their future through a different lens. Let’s create a group of children whose answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is “An engineer!”
"Plant" a tree
Creating art is one of the true joys of kindergarten. If you haven’t tried a cooperative art project yet, now is a perfect time. This Earth Day “plant a tree” art project can be completed over the course of many days. I like to give the kids somewhat of an outlive to get started. On day one you can give them the brown paint and let them mix the colors to create different colors and shades of brown. Next, bring in some green and let them paint the leaves. You can do this over many days and make a whole forest in your classroom. Add the art to your dramatic play area and let them become bird watchers or go owling.
Learn about the plant life cycle
Boom Cards provide an easy way to teach your students about the life cycle of the plant. This plant life cycle deck includes a video mini-lesson. Next, your student will have 10 comprehension questions to answer to ensure they understand. Use this deck for a whole group activity or in individual centers. Then give them some hands-on experience planting seeds. One of the easiest ways to grow seeds is by putting lima beans and a wet paper towel in a ziplock bag. They are lite enough to tape to your window and the seeds germinate quickly. Make sure to provide paper and crayons so your students can document the plant growth.
Create a school garden
Having a garden in a corner of your school playground is a terrific way to celebrate Earth Day all year long. Make it a schoolwide celebration and invite your parents to come in and help build a raised bed. Watching seeds grow into plants we can eat is an awe-inspiring experience for kids. Check your local area for financial support for building materials.
Math and Literacy centers
Earth Day literacy centers are a wonderful way to introduce the idea of recycling words. These critical phonemic awareness skills are often a challenge for early readers. Learning to manipulate sounds to create new words can be tricky. If you connect this phonics skill to recycling it brings a whole new meaning to the concept. This Earth Day Nonsense Boom Deck provides your students with a nonsense word (fen) and your students have to throw one letter away to create the new recycled word (ten). This deck provides sound files to help scaffold your students with this critical reading skill.
Earth day math centers
The Common Core math standard K.OA.A.1 requires students to represent subtraction problems with a visual representation. This Earth Day subtraction Boom deck provides your students with a self-checking math center that provides visual representation. Your students move the red x to represent the number being taken away. Next, they complete the subtraction equation.
Regardless of how you celebrate Earth Day, make sure you take some time to appreciate this planet we call home. Celebrate the beauty Earth provides us and show our appreciation by taking care of the Earth.