Activities that challenge students to think about how we can take better care of the environment
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
The dangers of over-consumption and pollution are reviewed and some activities are suggested to help engage in solutions for taking better care of the environment and our planet. Students are asked: What can you do to take better care of the earth so it takes better care of you?
- Listen to the selected story to gather information to use in class discussion
- Participate in and contribute to class discussions
- Complete one or more of the suggested activities
Step 2: Students are asked to complete some of the following activities individually, in groups, or as a class to demonstrate their understanding of the new concepts they have been learning concerning taking care of our environment.
- Create a list of words that remind you of pollution and words that remind you of a clean environment. Sort the words.
- Have students think of one way they can help to keep the air, water and land clean. Illustrate and write a sentence with each idea on one picture or on three separate pictures. Display under the title "What Is Your Pollution Solution?"
- Have students contribute to a class book "Protecting our Natural Resources". Here are some ideas to get you started: Take a short shower instead of a bath. Turn off lights when you are not in the room. Turn off water while you brush your teeth. Use both sides of your paper. Keep the heater low in the winter and wear a sweater if you are chilly. Pick up litter from the ground. Purchase items that do not have excess packaging.
- Hang up a large piece of butcher paper and label sections animals, birds, fish, flowers, forests, water, air, etc. Have students cut out pictures from magazines and glue in the appropriate section. Title the project "We Love Our Earth!"
Supporting All Learners
All students are able to participate in class discussions and corresponding activities in corresponding to their level of understanding. Each student also had a partner to think-pair-share for post-reading discussion. During think-pair-share each student has time to share and to listen to each other's comments and ideas.
Have students plant seeds and care for a plant they can eventually take home to “clean” the air in their bedroom or another room in their home.
If you can, get your hands on a copy of “I Need the Earth and the Earth Needs Me.” This video was designed to help students appreciate the value of, and their role in, protecting the earth. Narrated by Colleen Dewhurst, it was produced by General Motors in cooperation with the US. EPA. It has great images of clean and polluted environment with simple repeated text. It is for grades K-4 and doesn’t promote GM or any agenda; I have used it for years to enhance my student’s discussions on pollution. I don’t think it is available for purchase, I believe it was sent to schools across the nation when it was produced. If your own school library doesn’t have a copy, check your district’s library or professional media center.
- Ask students to go on a nature walk around their home and to bring in some things they find in nature. Egg cartons make great nature collection holders. Students share what they discovered on their nature walk.
- Families complete a "Family Planet Pledge" and students can share the ideas their family came up with.
The _____________family pledges to help protect the environment. We promise to try our best to do the following:
To make less trash we will try to _____________.
To save energy we will try to_____________.
To protect wildlife we will try to_____________.
To conserve water we will try to_____________.
Students should understand how human pollution affects our health and the planet’s health negatively. Use follow-up activities to discuss ideas about how to care for our environment.
Any of the lessons suggested activities would create opportunities for authentic assessments on the concepts presented.