There are many activities educators can do in the classroom to celebrate Earth Day and help students understand environmental issues that the world faces today. The Earth Day Network has developed a toolkit that people can use to get started. Other activities include:
- Hold a fundraiser to donate to different environmental organizations or efforts, such as The Canopy Project which helps to plant more trees around the world.
- Use school funds to purchase seeds, trees, flowers, and other plants to plant around the school. Organize a Gardening Committee to maintain the garden and plants throughout the year.
- Have students organize an event to clean up trash in a local park or playground area.
- Have students research the contents of different products, including those made of certain chemicals, metals, papers, and plastics, to determine which ones are the safest for the environment.
- Have students organize a recycling program in the school where classes are encouraged to recycle paper, plastic, and cans. Hold contests for classes that recycle the most materials.
- Conduct a Jeopardy-like game or similar challenging game involving facts about the Earth, the environment, and Earth Day.
- Have students work in groups to research an environmental issue and come up with a campaign to try to win a million dollar grant to tackle the issue. Students will not only practice research skills but also can practice presentation and debate skills.
- Teach children about the benefits of compost and determine what food scraps could be used from the cafeteria as compost.
- Have students research endangered animal and plant species and how their loss could affect the overall environment and planet. Have students work in groups to come up with a campaign to save the animals and their environments.
- Have students create posters, poems or songs about Earth Day.
- Teach students about the water cycle and how important it is to preserve. Have students determine how changes in weather patterns and global warming might affect the water cycle.
- Have students create several art projects related to Earth Day, including natural collages, painted rocks for a garden, bird feeders, recycled material sculptures and musical instruments, and self-made paper.
Whatever activities you choose to do, be sure students are engaged and become aware of environmental issues. By doing so, they can develop a respect for the environment and a desire to help save the planet for themselves and future generations.