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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this resource to plan great activities, lessons, and events for students leading up to Earth Day. For example, search the Weather + Climate page for videos and information about water shortages, drought, climate change, and resources. Use the articles and reports to pique student interest, use short videos in the classroom, and find great websites and programs linked from the page. Use these resources not only for a greater understanding of issues but to create awareness campaigns for change in the home, school, or community. Partner with local groups (conservation or not) to create action plans and events, and provide opportunities for change in the community. Challenge your students to create brochures, magazines, or posters of information learned using Lucidpress, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 5
In the ClassroomTry using this interactive with students as an introduction to a lesson on recycling. Students can make guesses based on what they may already know about recycling and reusing to complete the activity. Teach the lesson on the three R's of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Then have students revisit the activity to see if their scores improve. An extension based on this activity could be to have students research freecycle.org (reviewed here) with their parents. Student could put their unwanted toys or outgrown clothes on freecycle.org with their parents help, or do an outgrown clothes drive for Goodwill or other such organizations.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch each event listed to learn more about the opinions, circumstances, and facts surrounding each event. Use the timeline as a springboard into discussions of various environmental topics. Challenge small groups of students to finish the timeline up to the current year. Use a tool such as MyHistro Interactive Timeline, reviewed here. Use other applications such as Google Earth or sites that provide pictures and articles from past events. Compare air, water, or other pollution by viewing information or pictures from yesterday and today. Create campaigns of environmental issues. Use multimedia or conventional posters, websites, and podcasts to pass on important information. Have your students create an interactive online poster using Adobe Spark, reviewed here. Have students create podcasts using a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to identify viewpoints, advantages, and disadvantages to using either paper or plastic. Plan a "paper or plastic challenge" in conjunction with Earth Day or your recycling unit. Consider surveying not only your classes, but also the school, parents, and greater community as to their habits. Gather data from your local supermarket. Compare with data from around the country or the world and identify reasons for the differences in the results. Use the information to create a debate for or against each resource. Create a campaign to educate others about the use of paper or plastic. Create a design for a bag that can be created simply and cheaply. Take photos of students' bags and have students narrate the photos using UtellStory, reviewed here. Sell these bags with the message for sustainability. Find support from your local supermarket. Research recycling in your area.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Ecosia along with other search engines for the same information and compare the results and order of the most popular searches. Share the informative video with your class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Discuss differences in search results, display of information, and other factors. Use as examples in media and internet safety classes.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUseful in classes on economics, ecology, consumer living, sociology or current events, the film would provide a wonderful discuss lead-in on topics ranging from consumer decision making to the environment. Because the site operates under the "Creative Commons" copyright agreement, you can download your own copy of the film for educational use or order a DVD copy.
Grades2 to 9
In the ClassroomThis is ideal for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Due to the ability to easily pause the video, students can take notes directly from the whiteboard. Create a guided note sheet to accompany the interactive by capturing the screens into PowerPoint slides or a smart notebook and put blank text boxes over the writing so that students can enter the information as they watch it. This is a great one to save in your favorites for an Earth Day activity! Have student create their own "tree stories" using digital pictures of a tree they know and narrating it on Slidestory, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site is a perfect addition to Earth Day activities! Incorporate literacy skills into the site by having students read the silly blogs of each character. Extend into a writing assignment by having students create their own personal Green characters and write their own blogs for each episode.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis outrageously green site can serve as a guide for Earth Day activities. Extend it further and start a class project that could expand throughout the entire school and community. Share the interactives and other ideas on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Highlight some of the "100 Ways to Act Green" in your classroom. List this site on your class website for families to use at home. Have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and complete a simple video sharing their findings. Share the videos using a site such as Teachers.tv (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse this site to earn about layers of the soil and organisms found there. Analyze soil core samples from areas in the community to determine soil composition and view some of the soil under a microscope. Use information from the site to identify environmental concerns in your or other areas. Have the students work with partners and try out the interactive challenge. This site could bring new meaning to "earth" day!
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomFire up the projector or interactive whiteboard to use this site when beginning a unit on natural resources, agriculture, environment, green living, or cultural comparisons. Ask your students to research other items that might be included in the comparison besides newspapers, potatoes, gas, etc. Have them make charts or online presentations to display consumption information in a similar fashion. Save this site in your favorites to use for Earth Day.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomTeachers should begin their planning at the "For Teachers" link. The link provides standards, detailed activities, enrichment activities, and more! Be sure to try an interactive whiteboard or projector for this unique educational activity. This activity would be great for Earth Day lessons! Have older students complete a multi-media project about the toxins they learn about (blog, wiki, or video).
Grades3 to 6
tag(s): recycling (57)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to share with their families. Have students research and create their own quiz about other household items and how they should be properly disposed of.
Grades4 to 7
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Read the history of Earth Day together. Have cooperative learning groups explore different ways to "take action" and then create a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Why not challenge students to create a video to share with the class using a site such as TeacherTube (explained here).
Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomHave cooperative learning groups research the many links and activities at this site. Challenge groups to create a multi-media presentation: blog entry, wiki, PowerPoint, web page, or video.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to "spruce" up Earth Day or your study of plants and trees! The Teacher's Guides are basically ready-to-go units of study. Some of the activities are more interactive than others. If you are looking for a more "technology" friendly activity, consider having students create a wiki guide to the various trees in their hometowns (or around their school). Or have them create a video "Tree Tour." Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site for mining for information and examples of waste management and energy production. Use this site for background information and practical applications of what students have researched. Use examples to audit local businesses, residence practices, and waste management procedures to offer solutions. Use information to compare and contrast different environmental practices in terms of effectiveness, cost, and sustainability. Have students create videos to demonstrate their knowledge. Share the videos on a resources such as SchoolTube SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 8
Be aware: recently, this site started to offer certain features of the Teacher's Lounge to "members only." Membership is FREE, but does require an email address. The link for students does NOT require membership to access the interactives, information, or printables. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.