Celebrating the planet on Earth Day isn't just for the science classroom. We offer thoughtful Earth Day activities and curriculum ideas for every subject.Apr 12, 2021
In 1970, the first ever Earth Day was celebrated to increase awareness of human impact on the planet. Since then, science teachers across the globe use the April 22 holiday to deliver lessons aimed at helping students become good stewards of the world. Now more than ever, creating authentic learning around Earth Day isn’t just for science teachers; regardless of what subject you teach, there is an appropriate way to incorporate Earth Day activities into your curriculum.
Here are a few ways you can celebrate Earth Day for every subject. While these lessons can be done in isolation, uniting them as a series of interdisciplinary assignments is a great way to increase the impact of your Earth Day curriculum.
Science: A Closer Look at Carbon Emissions
There are myriad ways to craft a science lesson around Earth Day. For the sake of collaboration, a lesson on the impact of human life on our physical earth is key. This is a topic that lends itself particularly well to educational videos explaining the impact that carbon emissions have on the land, seas, and ozone layer. Take students one step further by exploring what creates emissions, encouraging them to identify examples in their own lives.
Math: Calculating Energy Usage
Incorporating Earth Day into your math classroom doesn’t need to be a complex equation. An easy place to start is with equations involving water, fuel, and electricity usage. Take things to the next level by introducing units of solar energy harnessed depending on time and location. An advanced group could be challenged to calculate, numerically, the impact of carbon emission-reducing activities.
Reading: An Impactful Reading List
Earth Day may seem like an easy topic to tackle in a reading classroom. However, having a targeted reading activity can help paint a bigger, cross-curricular picture. Introduce articles on government policies that impact the earth to help educate students on the current efforts to help preserve the planet.
Social Studies: Relating Earth Day to the Everyday
The social studies classroom provides the perfect environment to revisit the policies from the reading classroom. Facilitate a Socratic seminar that allows students to discuss the policies they’ve learned about, encouraging them to relate their thoughts and opinions not only to the information they learned from reading, but also to the things they experience on a daily basis. If you’re jumping into this lesson without reading about policy in another classroom, simply introduce a short reading as a segue into your discussion.
Writing: Tying It Together — and Putting It on Paper
The writing classroom is the culmination of this Earth Day extravaganza. Task students with writing a comprehensive Earth Day essay. In the essay, ask them to discuss a policy they do/do not agree with and why, and a policy they would propose. Finally, ask students to identify changes they can make in their everyday life that would create healthy change for the planet, complete with the math/numbers that support that choice.