Students explore how saving energy helps the environment and then brainstorm ideas to help their families save energy and reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Skills supporting learning standards: brainstorming, informational text writing, participating in group discussions
- Copies of the “Earth Day Challenge” student activity sheet
Using the Activity Sheet
1. Ask students the following questions to get started:
- What kinds of things need energy, such as electricity or gas, to work? (Answers may include lights, appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, ovens, phones, TVs, air conditioners, heaters, elevators, cars, buses, subways, trains, etc.)
- Where does the electricity we use to power machines, lights, and other things come from? (Explain that electricity is a secondary source of energy. It’s made from other types of energy. Electricity can be made from fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, or coal, or from renewable sources like wind and solar power, etc. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, and once they are used, they can’t be replaced. Renewable sources build up again naturally and much more quickly.)
- What does conserving energy mean? (To use less energy.)
- How can using less energy help the planet? (Explain that creating and using energy can cause pollution. Renewable sources create less pollution than fossil fuels. Using less energy can help reduce the amount of pollution we create. Saving energy can also help us conserve or keep more of our natural resources, such as fossil fuels.)
- How can we conserve energy? (Answers may include: turn off the lights when you leave a room, unplug chargers after using them, turn off TVs and computers when done using them, turn off water while brushing your teeth, etc.)
- What else can we do to conserve energy and natural resources to help Earth? (Explain that it takes energy and natural resources to make many things we use. For example, trees are a natural resource used to make furniture and paper. We can help save energy and resources and reduce pollution by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Reduce or use fewer things so we create less trash; reuse things such as plastic bags and paper instead of throwing them away; recycle paper, cans, and glass bottles so that they can be made into new things, etc.)
2. Copy and distribute the activity sheet. Review the instructions as a class. Students will work in teams to complete the challenge and brainstorm activities and meals for their families that don’t require electricity, gas, or heat to create. In addition, they will brainstorm tips to help their families save more energy and reduce, reuse, and recycle.
3. Invite student volunteers to share their lists.
Books to Explore
Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers
Every Day on Earth: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours by Steve Murrie and Matthew Murrie
You Can Save The Planet: 50 Ways You Can Make a Difference by Jacquie Wines