As teachers, we have the opportunity to educate our students about caring for and saving our environment. From preschoolers through high schoolers and beyond, it is important to teach our students that they play a huge role in making this world a better place. Even small steps make a big difference when we’re all contributing.
So, what can we do to make the most out of Earth Day 2021? Here is a list of five activities that will get your students involved and actively participating in caring for this precious and fragile planet that we are fortunate to call home.
- Read Books About Our Earth: There are so many books out there that teach students how to care for our planet. A few of my favorites are One Tree by Green Start, One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Check out this book list for more comprehensive reading on sustainable practices.
- Host a Clothing Swap: Did you know that the U.S. alone sends about 21 billion pounds of textile waste to landfills every year? That is astounding. So, consider hosting a clothing swap at your school. Have students bring in clothes in good condition that they no longer want and swap them with each other. Then, donate the clothes that are left over to secondhand stores or organizations that keep them out of landfills.
- Participate in #Trashtag: A couple of years ago, #trashtag went viral. Earth day is a great time to bring that hashtag back. Have students and their families grab a bag and take a walk outside, picking up garbage along the way. Have them snap a photo before and after to show their work, then spread the good work on social media and encourage others to do the same.
- Do Some Research: Social distancing has been challenging for many of us. But one thing we are sure of is that it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. But did you know that social distancing also has contributed to helping our environment? Have students research the impact of social distancing on our environment. Research from reliable sources indicate that there has been a temporary decrease in air pollution across major cities due to decreased transportation, and animals have been coming out to play in places they are not typically spotted. Do these intriguing facts make your students think more about the impact we have on our environment? If so, in what ways? What changes can we make to ensure that we are intentionally doing our part to being more environmentally responsible?
- Ask Your Students: What are some environmental issues your students would like to improve? Have students select a focus issue and develop a plan to address it. How can you support them in making it happen? When students are given a choice in action, it is amazing to see what they can do! Student agency plays a huge role in allowing students to see that they can make a difference.
Become Earth Day Explorers!
At VAI, we have created an inquiry-based Timely Topic that builds student awareness around the issues that negatively impact our environment. Use this free lesson to build appreciation for our beautiful world, and challenge students to do their part to make a difference. Working together, we can preserve this amazing planet of ours and build a cleaner, more sustainable future!