Earth Day: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices

Earth Day presents a special opportunity to connect classroom curriculum with real-world experience, not only in science but also for lessons in math, language arts, social studies, art, and more. With so many outstanding resources available on the web related to environmental concerns, TeachersFirst's editorial team has hand-selected this group of "Editors' Choices" for their potential to engage and involve your students in both the understanding of scientific concepts surrounding Earth Day and in environmental activism for any time of the year.

TeachersFirst has many more reviewed Earth Day resources if you wish to browse a longer listing. You can also narrow your search to a specific topic for earth day or a certain grade range using our keyword search tool in the left column of this page. Be sure to read the tips to optimize your search of our reviewed collection.

Whether you seek ideas for a community service project for Earth Day or ways to use innovative technologies to bring the environment into your classroom, our editors have found "the best of the best" to meet your needs.

 

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Freecycle - The Freecycle Network

Grades
K to 12
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Need a bookcase or rug for your classroom or home office area? Perhaps you have extra, personally-purchased classroom supplies that you no longer use. There is a solution to both ...more
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Need a bookcase or rug for your classroom or home office area? Perhaps you have extra, personally-purchased classroom supplies that you no longer use. There is a solution to both dilemmas--Freecycle! Check this site to see if there is a local Freecycle group in your area. With 4,336 groups and growing, there's a good chance one is in your neighborhood. Twenty five states currently have participants. This grassroots, non-profit network's aim is to get unused 'stuff' into the hands of someone who can use it, and most importantly, they want to keep it out of our clogged landfills. Teachers are the most resourceful people on earth, and Freecycle is here to help fuel that creditable reputation. Membership is free -check it out!

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your class as an idea for Earth Day or being "green." Encourage your school service club or student council to consider launching a Freecycle project. Be sure to list the link on your class website, so parents can freecycle too.

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The Recycling Game - BBC

Grades
K to 1
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This interactive recycling game challenges students to determine if various items are made of plastic, glass, or paper. Students simply click on the items and drag the items into one...more
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This interactive recycling game challenges students to determine if various items are made of plastic, glass, or paper. Students simply click on the items and drag the items into one of three bins (plastic, glass, or paper). spoken voice and word choices are British, so you may see some puzzled faces when the student first hear the terminology, but the illustrations will help them recognize the objects. And you will have a chance to talk about vocabulary in different parts of the English-speaking world. The website features a Teachers/Parents link that provides general standards for this interactive game. The entire activity requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Remember to turn on speakers or attach headphones for this activity. This website is a perfect "ready to go" learning center, especially around Earth Day. This challenge is a wonderful companion to teaching students about the importance of recycling.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Your Ocean - National Maritime Museum

Grades
4 to 9
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Don't miss this wonderful website - perfect for environmental awareness. This "student friendly" website is divided into 4 distinct sections - your energy, your waste, your stuff (products...more
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Don't miss this wonderful website - perfect for environmental awareness. This "student friendly" website is divided into 4 distinct sections - your energy, your waste, your stuff (products that come from the oceans), and your climate. The website is designed to use with students ages 11 - 14, but could be adapted for other ages. There are interactive games, quizzes, and a wealth of information. The website even provides students with simple tips and actions they can do to save energy and protect the environment.

Be aware that this site was created in the UK, so you may notice some minor spelling differences. Some of the interactive games and quizzes require Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): climate (92), earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This website would work as a group activity (on an interactive whiteboard or projector) or as a cooperative learning activity for small groups to complete together. This is also a good choice for Earth Day activities. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the sections of this site and create a blog entry demonstrating what they learned.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dr. E's Energy Lab - U. S. Department of Energy

Grades
2 to 12
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If you have any hesitation that students think energy is 'uncool,' think again. Tinker Bell delights the younger students with her short video clips about energy. They will spend oodles...more
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If you have any hesitation that students think energy is 'uncool,' think again. Tinker Bell delights the younger students with her short video clips about energy. They will spend oodles of time exploring the many facets of this site. Click on the various types of energy from the homepage to start the exploration. Interactives, lesson plans, crafts, printable sheets, and tons of information that we all need to know to survive on this planet is handily available here. The Game link includes "Funergy," "Energy Quest," and more! Visit the Teacher's link to find over 350 lesson plans and activities (with standards). The activities are divided into three levels (grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12). While some of the Dr. E's activities look like they are intended for a young audience, don't be fooled. Heavy information for the high school student is housed behind the "cutesy" cover. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

If energy is a subject you teach in your classroom, there are several pages at this site that would work well on a projector or interactive whiteboard. You will want to explore on your own to find all the teaching materials and activities, since there is SO much information. Share this site on your teacher web page during your energy unit, since many activities can include parents, as well. The alternative fuels, renewable energy, and conservation sections are also ideal for Earth Day activities. Have students use this site to research energy. Why not have students create blog entries demonstrating their knowledge?
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Climate Chaos - BBC

Grades
4 to 10
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must...more
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must visit this website. At the website you will find interactive activities and games, guides and information about numerous topics, quizzes, votes, and chats! This site is frequently updated. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Share this one on an interactive whiteboard or projector to help your students to understand the effects of global warming. Include the link on your teacher web page as you study weather, climate, and environmental concerns. This site would also make a great "scavenger hunt" for students to learn the basics about global warming. Ask each to write some questions for the hunt, then have the whole class try it! Have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and create a multi-media presentation.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Recycle City - Environmental Protection Agency

Grades
2 to 6
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As Earth Day approaches, take your students on a visit to Recycle City for a virtual, hands-on experience with reducing and reusing waste. To get started, click on any part ...more
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As Earth Day approaches, take your students on a visit to Recycle City for a virtual, hands-on experience with reducing and reusing waste. To get started, click on any part of the city, and discover what residents and businesses have done to improve their environment. The site includes a "Dumptown" interactive which gives students a taste of what it would be like to be a city manager in charge of selecting community programs for cutting the amount of waste destined for the landfill. Click on the Activities link to find information for teachers and classroom activities. This site requires Shockwave and Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. As they independently explore, challenge students to make up their own "scavenger hunt" (complete with questions and answers) of places they feel are worthwhile to visit in Recycle City, then swap with a classmate. Have students write fictitious blog entries from the perspective of the city manager (updating residents on changes and improvements in the city).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kids' Planet - Defenders of Wildlife.

Grades
2 to 8
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Approach writing, reading, technology, and social studies through the lens of environmental science. Use the printable units and lesson plans (found at the Teacher's Table) for...more
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Approach writing, reading, technology, and social studies through the lens of environmental science. Use the printable units and lesson plans (found at the Teacher's Table) for direction and content, then allow students to play the related "Wild Games" as an enrichment activity. Click on the "Defend It" or "Cool Stuff" links to find creative ways for kids to take part in wildlife conservation. Students can explore an interactive map of the world to discover the status of more than 50 species. A great Earth Day resource! This site requires Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Java. You can get all three from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): conservation (127), earth (228), earth day (112), endangered species (38), environment (317), species (29)

In the Classroom

There are many ways to incorporate this site into your Earth Day plans (or a unit on conservation or wild life). Save this site in your favorites, so students can visit often. Take advantage of the ready-to-go units of study. Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for student research projects.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Earth Day Groceries Project - The Earth Day Groceries Project

Grades
K to 8
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Have your students decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day! The "Earth Day Groceries Project" is cost-free and one of the largest and oldest projects on the Internet. The project,...more
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Have your students decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day! The "Earth Day Groceries Project" is cost-free and one of the largest and oldest projects on the Internet. The project, managed by Mark Ahlness (a third grade teacher in Seattle, Washington), challenges students to decorate paper grocery bags for Earth Day featuring environmentally friendly messages. There are four steps to the project, all well-explained on the site. Be sure to visit the Project Starter Kit link. This link includes a PowerPoint presentation about the project, screensavers, project details, and more.

tag(s): creativity (108), earth (228), earth day (112)

In the Classroom

Use this interdisciplinary activity to integrate art, creativity, community service, science, and Earth Day events. Share the PowerPoint presentation with your class on a projector or interactive whiteboard to get students motivated about the project.

Display pictures of some of the bags on your class website. Provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website; challenge parents to make this a family activity.

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Earth Day - Kaboose

Grades
K to 5
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If you are looking for Earth Day activities in your elementary level classroom, don't miss this interactive site! Features of this site include Earth Day crafts, recipes, learning about...more
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If you are looking for Earth Day activities in your elementary level classroom, don't miss this interactive site! Features of this site include Earth Day crafts, recipes, learning about the history of the holiday, several interactives (all related to the environment), printable pages, quizzes, and more. There are links for both classroom and home activities.

Be aware: this site does include advertisements. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), ecology (135), environment (317)

In the Classroom

As you prepare for Earth Day, check out the many resources at this site. Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Set up a learning center for students to explore the interactives on their own. Have small groups investigate a specific topic on this site and report back to the class (a multi-media presentation would be great). Be sure to list this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Green School Project - Green School Project

Grades
K to 12
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Don't throw away those empty printer cartridges; make money by sending them to the Green School Project. This organization helps save the planet by recycling inkjet and laser cartridges,...more
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Don't throw away those empty printer cartridges; make money by sending them to the Green School Project. This organization helps save the planet by recycling inkjet and laser cartridges, cell phones, and PDA devices. It doesn't cost you a thing. They supply your prepaid shipping materials and free marketing materials. The site does require you to create an account (simple and free). Sign up at this site and start earning funds for your school immediately. Although TeachersFirst does not normally review fundraising sites, this project is an environmental lesson and project in one. This site also includes lesson plans, printable worksheets, literature lists, and web resources.

If you are looking for other "green" fundraising opportunities, check out the Greenraising: Eco-Friendly Fundraising site (reviewed here). This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Click on the left link, "Lesson Plans and Activities" for more ideas on teaching students about recycling. Check the site frequently, as they offer 'specials' which translates to more money. If you submit a lesson plan on recycling, you earn a $10 credit. How about holding a 'green' competition to see which classroom submits the most items.

Get parents involved. Make sure they are aware via your website and newsletter about submitting these items to the school. Many parents will be able to contribute items from their workplace that was otherwise destined for the landfill.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Solar Energy Education - Tucson Electric Power Company

Grades
K to 10
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Learn about how solar energy begins and is used by all living things. Areas of the animated information can be clicked to find even more details about the formation of ...more
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Learn about how solar energy begins and is used by all living things. Areas of the animated information can be clicked to find even more details about the formation of fossil fuels, photovoltaic cells, and differences between seasons. A text only version of the site can be accessed. A glossary provides easily understood definitions of many of the terms. Activities for teachers to use include: "Solar Energy Activity," "Photovoltaic Energy Activity," "Solar Thermal Energy Activity," and "Chemical Energy Activity." These are available as an Adobe PDF download. Additional resources are provides as weblinks that can provide additional information. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chemicals (40), earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), fossil fuels (18), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

Use this animated site for students to gain background information about Solar Energy. Students can then work in groups to investigate various concepts from the animation. Student groups can also investigate renewable vs. nonrenewable energy sources following this introduction. Students can create posters using conventional materials or many of the multimedia applications for a digital version. Students can create a pamphlet, draft a letter, or editorial for change in energy policies, etc. With younger grades, share the website on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Ozone Resource page - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Grades
8 to 12
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Use this site to understand the ozone and how it affects our air quality and life here on Earth. Satellite imagery of ozone holes includes an updated daily picture and ...more
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Use this site to understand the ozone and how it affects our air quality and life here on Earth. Satellite imagery of ozone holes includes an updated daily picture and comparison over the last decades. NASA facts listed on the side include an opportunity to learn more about the information presented, watch satellite images from the last 7 days, view animations, compare year-to-date, and look at the annual records since 1979 using "Ozone Hole Watch." Information about the ozone and how it is measured is explained in detail here. "Explore the ozone with NASA" by viewing a short video that outlines the ozone and discusses new research and climate change. Use the "Resources for News Media" to view the Multimedia gallery for pictures of the largest ozone hole on record, the Arctic vortex, and Earth's Atmospheric Layers. Information about ozone depleting chemicals and ozone chemistry is also found here. View video of the ozone missions from NASA. "Ozone Hole 101" provides basic content about the ozone that is easy to understand for students. Read interesting information such as "Ozone levels drop when hurricanes are strengthening" and "Ozone hole is a double record breaker." This site requires Quicktime and animations require Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), ozone (10)

In the Classroom

Students can use the resources in "Ozone Hole Watch" to determine the trends in the ozone either daily or over the years. Further research involving political, consumer, and environmental trends can bring insights into effects on the ozone layer. Using the wealth of material on the site, students can use the information to create a "Handbook of the Earth" (as an example) to understand how the ozone affects us in our current and future lives. Students can also work in groups and be assigned portions of the content to study. They can then present their findings to the rest of the class (using a multi-media presentation). Students can use this information in conjunction with environmental or Earth Day activities in or out of class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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