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 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."
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.
In the ClassroomThere is SO much to look at and explore, so browse through the offerings, create a plan for your students based on their age and ability level, then mark the site as a favorite on classroom computers. Upper elementary students can use it as an independent learning center. Younger children may need help with some of the text, so consider using an interactive whiteboard or projector and exploring the activities as a class. Click on "Downloads" on the bottom left to find printables, including coloring sheets of Canadian wildlife and various ecology-related worksheets and lesson plans. Click on the 'games and activities' tab and use the interactive whiteboard or projector for whole class eco-minded fun. ESL and ELL teachers, don't miss the 'teacher' section for a cache of activities written for your ELL/ESL students. Interested students will use this one for hours, so some directions will be important for classroom use.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomRemember 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomIf 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, replacing pen and paper or enhancing the technology use in your curriculum demonstrating their knowledge? Try using Seesaw, reviewed here, for younger students and Telegra.ph, reviewed here for middle school and high school students.
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).
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 challege them to transform their learning and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Try using Adobe Spark for K-12, reviewed here, or Sway, reviewed here. Why not ask students to redefine their learning using one of these video tools (click tool name to see review): Vizia, Animatron, Powtoon, or Kizoa. Then, have students share it 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.
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).
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site has countless uses in the classroom of various grade levels. Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. With younger classes, use this map to teach about map legends. Use this when studying ecosystems, environmental issues, economics, current events, world birth and death rates, pollution problems, and conservation. Leave the site open for a few hours for students to see the changes. This site is an excellent resource for research projects on countries throughout the world.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare 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.
Grades5 to 12
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.
In the ClassroomYounger 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.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomShare 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).
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomUse 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.