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.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomThese lessons are perfect for use as mini-lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View and discuss activities as a class or create a link to lessons for students to complete on classroom computers. Be sure to provide a link to the site on your class webpage or newsletter for students to use at home. Use lessons on this site as part of your Earth Day activities. Replace pen and paper and ask students to write blog posts about what they are learning using Edublog, reviewed here. Enhance learning by having students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis project is perfect for individual classroom participation, Art Clubs, or after school clubs. Incorporate this project into your math class and have students count the number of cartons used, estimate how many cartons needed, or calculate how long it will take to gather the number of needed cartons. Join in the challenge in conjunction with a science unit on structures or a physics unit at much higher levels. Include as part of your nutrition unit to help students understand the importance of dairy in a healthy diet. Share this information with your PTO/PTA as a possible "makers movement" idea for an evening of fun and learning, even if you never enter the official contest. Let your gifted students (or a school service club) organize and plan a mini-version of the contest within your school, perhaps using the smaller milk cartons from the cafeteria. Make re-using milk cartons a creative event for Earth Day.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomBe sure to save (bookmark) this page on your blog, wiki, or class website for easy access. Provide a link on a classroom computer for ease of access during an ecology unit. Allow opportunity for students to look at the information on the site to find a topic of interest to them for further research. Or choose a project to do together as a class or school in connection with Earth Day. Create an awareness campaign for students to educate others in the community about the science behind nature, why it is important to conserve, and simple actions that everyone can do. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class. For the novice technology user try these two tools to enhance technology use in your classroom: PicLits, reviewed here, or Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. For the more experienced transform the use of technology in your class with Sway, reviewed here, or give students a choice of projects to complete with Genial.ly, reviewed here. Both Sway and Genial.ly will allow your students to create multimedia projects.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomThough originally for residents of Portland, Oregon, anyone, anywhere can use this resource. Use as a start for good ideas and search for additional information for better understanding. Create blog posts, websites, posters, or other media to share ideas with others to create community involvement in sustainable living. Transform technology use in your classroom and have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Adobe Spark for Education, Animatron, Sway, and Beautiful.AI. When researching and discussing environmental issues, be sure to add practical ways for others to DO something. Challenge your students to create their own community of young people at your school to become involved in sustainable living. Use this site for ideas to launch Earth Day initiatives and public service announcements.
Grades2 to 12
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In the ClassroomDuring environmental science units or Earth Day, use this to have students calculate what their own households spend to care for clothing. Have students consider different tips for reducing environmental impact and saving money. As a homework assignment, have students implement two changes for two weeks. Have parents sign off on a log form to verify student participation. (Parents will love the extra help and possible money savings!) Set up your own celebration of "National Hanging Out Day" by having teams of students prepare presentations (the website even provides one) to share with others students and the community.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard and projector to introduce this site. Use the Trash Tracker lesson as is or adapt for your own use. Consider having students work in groups of four, and have each group explore a different expedition (listed by year and selected by you). Have the small groups of students investigate the first several days of the selected expedition together. After that, have pairs take notes about what they learn, using Memo Notepad, reviewed here, then have partners compare notes for the days they investigated. Once they've investigated their expedition, remix the groups so you have one student from each of the different expeditions together. Have them share information and determine what was alike and different for each year. Use a graphic organizer or mind mapping tool such as WiseMapping, reviewed here, to help students keep track of the information. Once done have students access the additional resources pages (the blogs will often have more information for the expeditions), and look at the maps. Older students may want to investigate information about careers related to GIS, Conservation, and Marine Biology by using the link at the bottom of the page.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomExplore this site as a virtual field trip under the sea during a unit on animal habitats, biomes, or oceans. Create a poem, song, or artwork using the images from the viewer as inspiration. Enhance learning and classroom techology use by having students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Transform classroom technology use by challenging students to create a multimedia poster using Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, or Genial.ly, reviewed here, where students will have a choice to create impressive interactive posters, infographics, charts, presentations and easily insert maps, surveys, video, audio and more. Create a poster campaign (digital or traditional) to identify why conservation is important in these areas.
Grades2 to 8
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In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for having students reflect about Earth and Earth Day. Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the GIFs and quotes as writing prompts. Replace paper and pen and have students reflect on the quote and GIF using a blog tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, or Edublog, reviewed here. Extend your use of technology in class and have students work in groups and create posters with their own quotes to be hung around the school. Use an online poster creator, such as DesignBold, reviewed here. Find suitable quotes at The Quote Garden, reviewed here.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomUse this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Use the print sources and images from this site for your bulletin boards. This site is a perfect addition to Earth Day activities. When you have lessons on nutrition, make them real by including the sensory aspects of this curriculum. Try some of the simple recipes in class, or cut and paste to make a classroom cookbook.
Use this site as a jumping off point for growing those parent gifts of sweet potato greens or other small vegetable plants.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomDiscover the forest from the classroom. Find nature sounds and create your own nature podcast or audio recording. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here. Collect leaves from around the area to create your own leaf rubbings and posters. Create animal tracks of domestic animals to view the difference in tracks. Take advantage of the Educator Resources and free lesson plans!
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): ecology (130)
In the ClassroomUse this site to determine how each of us affects the environment. Bring math into the classroom by converting British units to American units. Students can research how each of these categories affects the environment and create action plans for reducing their footprint. Follow the action plans and retake the quiz after to see the change in footprint. Create Public Service Announcements in the form of posters or videos to share information. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomScroll down to a list of suggestions for using this archived webcast in your classroom. Talk about local sites where you might be able to take a team of students to create a local student created "video field trip" to share with other classes both in and outside of your school. See TeachersFirst's complete how-to information to try one of your own.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomHave students work in cooperative learning groups to explore this site. Transform technology use and student learning by challenging students to create multimedia presentations about the biomes. Use Timeline JS, reviewed here; Timeline JS offers the option to upload and add photos, videos, audio, Tweets, and Google Maps making it interactive, or Typito, reviewed here; a video creation tool where you add images and video, add text, choose templates and layouts, and add music to personalize your work, or Genial.ly, reviewed here, which allows you to insert maps, surveys, video, audio and more. With Genial.ly students will have a choice of presentation styles (posters, infographics, etc.). Last, you could use Thinglink, reviewed here, where technology use will range from augmentation (narration of an image) to redefinition (adding media links, explanation, narration). Other options might include creating a wiki or blog.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): african american (104), animal homes (68), animals (318), character education (68), charts and graphs (190), colonial america (106), communities (40), data (151), diversity (37), ecology (130), environment (289), heroes (22), money (177), recycling (51)