If you are a virtual teacher looking for an innovative way to engage students on Earth Day, look no further.
Start by sharing a video about the first Earth Day. The Environmental Movement and the First Earth Day will warm up your class for the holiday. Then, lead the class in a fun and interactive activity. These simple activities are perfect for virtual teachers to use in their lessons because teachers can either use the activity digitally, as a demonstration, or with individual physical projects using minimal materials.
By: Playful Learning
- Clear plastic cup
- Permanent marker
Instructions: Pour water into the cup and mark the water level with a sharpie. Tape the cup to a sunny window. Each hour, mark the new waterline to show evaporation.
By: Playful Learning
- 2 Clear plastic cups
- Hot water
- Ice cube
Instructions: Pour hot water into one cup. Cover with the second cup upside down. Place the ice cube on top and watch a cloud form.
By: Playdough to Plato
- Sandwich size zip-top bag
- Permanent marker
- Blue food coloring
Instructions: Decorate your zip-top bag to show the clouds and sun shining over water. Pour ¼ cup of water into the bag with a few drops of blue food coloring. Seal the bag. Tape the zipped bag to a sunny window and watch throughout the day to see the water evaporate, condense into fog, precipitate into drops and collect again in the bottom of the bag.
By: Teach Beside Me
- Blue, green and black markers
Instructions: Create your own Earth fractions by cutting 6 circles out of paper. Decorate the circles like the Earth. Keep one circle intact as one whole. Cut the next circle in half and label each side with ½. Continue cutting and labeling the sections. Then, use the fractions to add. One ½ and two ¼ equal one whole, etc.
By: The Chaos and the Clutter
- Different colored towels
- 2 Boxes
Instructions: Fold each towel in half and stack them on the ground. Place one box on each side of the stack. Demonstrate plate movement by pushing the boxes (continental plates) toward each other to force the stack of towels (sediment) to form mountains.
By: No Time for Flashcards
- 3 containers
Instructions: Label one container “trash,” one container “recycling,” and one container “compost.” Cut out pictures of recyclable, compostable and trash items from the magazines. Explain what makes an item trash, recyclable or compostable. Sort the items into their correct disposal categories.
By: Kitchen Counter Chronicles
- Poster board
Instructions: Paint the student’s foot and stamp it in the middle of the poster board. Explain the things that impact a person’s carbon footprint. On the left side of the board, invite students to write ways we contribute to the earth’s carbon footprint. On the right side, write ways to reduce the carbon footprint.
- Computer or tablet
Instructions: Invite students to explore Your Plan, Your Planet to see how their usage of “stuff, water, energy and food” affect the circular economy.
By: Every Star Is Different
- Google slides or powerpoint
Instructions: In a slideshow, show several different examples of pollution like smog, litter and chemical dumping. Invite students to guess if it pollutes the land, water or air. Then, go through each example thinking of a solution for each pollutant. Encourage creative brainstorming.
By: Thriving STEM
- Plastic shopping bag
- 4 pieces of string
- Small weight
Instructions: Tie one piece of string to each handle attachment on the bag. Tie the other end of the strings together with the small weight. Drop the parachute from up high and watch it drift to the ground. Ask students to make suggestions about how to change its movement. Try dropping it from the top of the staircase or turning on the ceiling fan to see the effects of changing conditions.
Bonus! Take your students on virtual field trips:
Finally, finish your lesson with some fun Earth Day Jokes.
Earth Day is a great way to teach geology and engage students in the conservation conversation. Topics can be simple for early elementary or detailed for high school students, but these activities are a great way to make the day memorable.