Celebrating Earth Day!
Help students get into the global spirit with earth-friendly projects.
1. Water Garden
Try this: Scientists are studying ways to use hydroponics where resources are scarce. To create your own "water garden," remove a young house plant from its pot. Gently tap off the dirt and rinse the roots until the soil is gone. Next, place the plant into a pot (with holes) filled with an inch of clay pebbles. Spread the roots over the pebbles. Add more pebbles until the plant is supported. Place the pot into a saucer. Pour a nutrient solution (available at gardening stores) over the pebbles and let it drain into the saucer. Add more nutrients and water as they evaporate.
Then, read: Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening by Laurie Carlson
2. Green Gang
Try this: As a class, brainstorm ways your school could be more "green." For example, switch to air dryers instead of paper towels or organize a Walk to School Day. Pick an issue and band together to address it. Your green gang could hold a bake sale to raise money, decorate posters, or film a public service commercial to show to other classes. Students can also hand out "Gotcha! Green Awards" to other students they catch doing something Earth-friendly, such as turning off a light.
Then, read: The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth by John Javna
3. Trash to Treasure
Try this: Thomas Edison said, "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." Challenge students to prove this point by turning trash into treasure. Begin by asking students to bring in a variety of odds and ends from home or recyclable ite ms such as cardboard tubes or plastic containers. Pool the items and encourage students to invent a new tool or piece of art. Display these inventions in the hallway so other classrooms can be inspired.
Then, read: Look What You Can Make With Dozens of Household Items! by Kathy Ross
4. Recycled Sit-Upons
Try this: Ask each student to bring in an old T-shirt, which they can decorate with a green theme or leave plain. (This project works better if the shirts are not adult-size.) Each student will also need two to three dozen plastic grocery bags. Sew or glue the bottom hem and sleeves closed; leave the neck hole open for now. Wad up grocery bags and stuff them into the shirt until you reach the desired fullness. Sew (or glue) the neck hole closed. Students can used their new pillows on the floor or to cushion their chairs.
Then, read: Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
5. Soapy Tension
Try this: Many insects rely on water's surface tension to travel, and other animals depend on those insects for food. Detergent can easily affect these stream ecosystems. To demonstrate this, fill a clean bowl with water. Use tweezers to lay a paper clip on the surface of the water (this may take practice, but the paper clip will float). Next, add one or two drops of dish soap to the water. Because the detergent weakens the tension, the clip will sink.
Then, read: Planet Earth: 25 Environmental Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kathleen M. Reilly