Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22! You can use this day as motivation to plan activities for your classroom or school that draw attention to the environment and the world around us.
The holiday began in 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson rallied students to raise public awareness about the effects of air and water pollution. He chose the date April 22 because it was between spring break and final exams. Twenty million people from across the country demonstrated for a healthier planet – leading to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.
There are tons of age-appropriate activities you can do with your students to bring awareness to this day. Here are some of our favorite.
Younger Kids (K-4th grade)
Simply start the conversation: “Why shouldn’t you waste water?” and “What are some ways you can use less water?”
Read a nature-centered book together as a class.
Take your class on a walk outside and ask them to notice some things about the space around them – the grass, wind, any animal life, etc.
Middle Kids (5th – 8th grades)
Do a litter patrol. You can do this just on your school grounds, or, with permission, make a field trip of it and visit areas around your community.
Discuss what happens to your trash when you dispose of it and how harmful chemicals find their way into our food and water supply.
Bring your iPad or tablet outside and use one of amaZEN U’s breathing videos to have students calm their inner dialogue and focus on the environment around them.
Older Kids (9th – 12th grades)
Take a field trip and tour a recycling plant to learn about how items are recycled.
Discuss the history of Earth Day and visit earthday.org to read about the goals set for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.
Ask students to bring in all the disposable water bottles they, their family and/or friends use for the rest of the month. This is a great visual of a common household item that can be recycled but often isn’t.
“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” Louie Schwartzberg
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet…Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” Anne Frank