Earth Day - Hooray!

Today I'm excited because it's my dad's birthday! Sometimes his special day is on Easter, sometimes it's on Earth Day. In any event, birthday blessings, Dad. Here's an Earth Day lesson plan that I submitted for the Georgia-Pacific (#GPEarthDay) contest that Lisa over at Teaching With Soul hosted.

To create an awareness about our responsibility to the earth
To understand what it means to conserve our resources
To integrate citizenship and math
To engage students in a recycling and/or repurposing project

Materials Needed:
●  A copy of the book Earth Day – Hooray by Stuart J. Murphy
●  An example of something that has been repurposed
●  A collection bin
●  A map to look for and identify local parks

Anticipatory Set:
●  Inquire as to why it is important to show responsibility to the earth and be good stewards by recycling and conserving resources.
●  Show your example of something that has been repurposed (ie. a handbag made from empty juice pouches) and talk about costs and benefits of recycling and repurposing.
●  Set the scene for reading the book with this question: What is something you use every day that can easily recycle? Why is it important to recycle?

Step-by-Step Procedures:
1.  After setting the scene with the above set, read the book Earth Day – Hooray aloud. Simple synopsis: Members of a school’s Save the Planet Club meet to clean up for the upcoming Earth Day celebration. Instead of putting cans in the trash, they recycle them and buy flowers with the money to beautify a local part. Their goal is to collect 5000 cans. The Club pools its resources by sacrificing recess time to count and sort cans and by taking after-school field trips to search for cans. They expalnd their efforts by recruiting other kids, handing out flyers, and carrying bags for people’s cans in nearby neighborhoods. Because of their can-do attitude, these students do meet their goal and are able to plant those flowers.

    2.  Review the story for comprehension.

    3.  Announce a class service project that would allow for   some recycling or repurposing in your school. Brainstorm possibilities using a circle thinking map. For example, could students join Capri Sun’s Juice Pouch Brigade and collect empty juice pouches. Each pouch up to 5000 pouches (minus the straw) is worth one cent. Once the goal of 5000 pouches is met, they are worth three cents each. Have the class set a goal and develop a plan for collection of these pouches. Discuss how they are repurposed into handbags and other items. Visit Kraft for all of the details. Let students research other repurposing project. Crayons recycle as well; check out the National Crayon Recycling Program. Or maybe they want to collect aluminum cans like the children in the book did. I believe those treasures bring in about 63 cents per pound.

4. Whatever they collect, use it as an opportunity to bundle and count by 5s or 10s and to chart and graph the progress of the project. This can also be an opportunity to teach place value. 

5.  Finally, decide on which local park your students want to beautify. They may have to make phone calls or write an email to secure permission to plant flowers. Perhaps they could even use the money they’ve made (if there is any) to beautify your own school grounds.

●  Students decide on recycling/repurposing story, set a goal and create an action plan.
●  Project is ongoing until their goal is reached.
●  Money earned is used to purchase flowers or tree.
●  Planting ceremony brings class community together. 
●  Students write reflections about it on the school website or for the community newspaper.

Independent Practice:
●  Students count and bundle their recycled goods.
●  Students practice math by charting and graphing their progress.
●  Students practice their writing and verbal skills by making contact with community officials to request partnership.
●  Students practice technology by using Google Earth.

Optional Enrichment: Students can write ongoing observations and reflections in a service-learning journal.

For more Earth Day activities, visit Apples 4 The Teacher.

1 comment

  1. Happy Birthday to your Dad!!
    Thanks for the book review. I just pinned it!
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