April 22 is Earth Day and there are many ideas to celebrate Earth Day in the classroom. It is important that we teach our students the importance of taking care of the planet and show them ways that they can get involved. Every little action we do can add up to something big! Here are some of the ways that you can incorporate Earth Day into your school day.
1. Celebrate Earth Day with a Spirit Day or Spirit Week
Another teacher and I run an environmental club at our school for Earth-loving third and fourth graders. Each year we sponsor an Earth week spirit week. This is fun Earth Day idea that gets the whole school involved, and at least at our school a spirit week means jeans for the week, too. (A double win in my book!) Our environmental club members help brainstorm different colors and what they represent. Here are some of the colors and themes that we’ve used in the past.
- Blue-Water Conservation
- Yellow-Energy Conservation
- Orange-No waste/low waster
- Tye-Dye-Walking/Carpooling/Riding a Bike
- Repurpose something to wear–Reusing
Once each color is decided, we assign it to a day. Students in the club then look up facts about each topic to share through the daily announcements. Teachers can easily right up a blurb too. It’s an easy and fun way to squeeze in some extra Earth love.
Want to read more about how I plan an Earth Week Spirit Week? Hop over to this blog post and grab a premade schedule for FREE by clicking here.
2. Model Taking Care of the Planet Earth Day In the Classroom and Everyday!
Students notice the routines we have and the way we set up their daily lives at school. If you haven’t been modeling taking care of the Earth yet, Earth Day is the perfect time to start (and keep it going!) Here are some easy ways to model taking care of the Earth:
- Have a student’s job be turning off the lights when you leave
- Make sure to have a recycling bin available for students to use and go over what can and cannot be recycled
- Reuse paper! I have a place for students to reuse paper as scratch paper, but I also make my own copies on reused paper. I keep a “we are reusing paper” page to copy on the back so I don’t confuse any of my students.
3. Spend Time Outside
Why not enjoy the great outdoors to celebrate Earth Day? Have your students bring a beach towel and lay outside while silent reading or bring out a clipboard and work on math outside. However it works, get your students outside! You could use the time outdoors as inspiration for writing a poem or as a chance to practice scientific observation skills.
4. Connect Earth Day to the Curriculum
So much of our curriculum already ties into Earth Day. Do you teach your students about the water cycle, energy, food chains, plants, ecosystems, renewable and nonrenewable resources? All of these topics come up within my students’ curriculum at some point in the year. Depending on the scope and sequence of your curriculum, some of these topics might be taught in April. Maybe you could even move around your topics so that they can be taught in connection to Earth Day. If not, use the day as a time to review previously taught concepts or preview something that is coming up!
Here are some of my favorite Earth Day in the classroom activities I’ve done with students in the past.
- Completing an energy audit during the week. Students can do an energy audit of the electricity used at school and at home. Finally, using their results they can complete different math problems. Their reflections are always so interesting, and it helps us be more conscientious about our energy use. Click here to find the energy audit activity
- I also love exploring recycling, composting, and trash with students. We love writing our own stories about what happens to the same object if disposed of in a different way. Click here to find the garbage, compost, recycle lesson plans.
I’d love to hear about how you are celebrating Earth Day with your students!
Grab the freebie to use when you reuse paper in your class!
Julie from Llama with Class