5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Older Students

Five ways to celebrate earth day with older students

Our planet is something that we often take for granted. Many of us are reminded to take care of it when the weather becomes warmer, and Mother Nature allows us to come outside and enjoy everything our Earth has to offer. April 22 is when we celebrate our delicate planet. Here are some ideas for you to use to celebrate this holiday. Remember that even though Earth Day is April 22, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start any of these ideas right now. 

#1: Talk to your administration about starting a recycling program: We started one a few years ago. It has started slowly, but I feel it is making a big impact. As convenient as plastic bottles are, they are overtaking our landfills. Even if you can start by just recycling plastic water bottles, it will make a big difference. In my school, each classroom has a cardboard box that we decorate. Students put their used plastic water bottles in this box when they finish them. Once a week, students come around and collect them. They are brought to the custodial office, where they remain until pickup.
Start a recycling program with your students
#2: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: This is an important topic that many people are not aware of. In our oceans, several gyres are filled with plastic. While the one in the Pacific Ocean gets the most attention because it is double the size of Texas, at least five others are growing in size. Students need to be made aware of this to recycle and make changes to prevent more of these gyres from growing or multiplying. Check out the TedTalk that you can show your students by clicking on the link. You can find other lesson ideas here. 
The great pacific garbage patch activities for ocean pollution
#3: First Earth Day Video: As long as I can remember, we have celebrated Earth Day, so our students probably feel the same way. Teach students about how and why this holiday came about using this PBS Learning video and lesson.
#4: Project Based Assessment: Get students thinking about their planet with this inquiry-based activity. Students will learn about five significant problems our Earth is facing; endangered species, land pollution, air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation. Students will choose one problem to research further and then come up with a solution to the problem. Once students have devised their solution, they will choose a method to present to the class. Each class will vote on the best solution to win the Mother Nature Award. This fun activity will bring more awareness to our planet’s problems while encouraging students to become activists and build upon their problem-solving skills. Find out more about it here
#5: Plant All the Things: One of my favorite activities to do with my students, yes, even middle school students, are to plant and watch things grow. No matter their age, they love doing this. Whatever you choose to plant, you can bring in so many other skills. Observations, inferences, research, measurement, data collection, just to name a few. If you are unsure of where to start, check out this link to help you come up with some ideas. There are basic ideas to more complex filling in every niche and need
Whatever you decide to do for Earth Day, what is most important is that you do SOMETHING. Our planet needs our help to ensure that it will be here for years to come. What will you do? Let me know in the comments below. 

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