This month saw the 45th anniversary of Earth Day! Focusing on the needs of our precious planet has resulted in many environmental success stories that we can celebrate in the classroom. In March, a record amount of solar power was supplied to California’s power grid. Cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, are making safer bikeways and promoting bike-sharing programs to get people out of their cars. And communities across the country are finding was to protect our forest, lakes, and rivers. Share an accomplishment in your community before introducing the following environmental resources and lessons to your students.
- The Urban Water Cycle – Your students are probably learning about or are familiar with the water cycle, but are they aware of the effects cities have on the water cycle? This website provides information about humans’ influence on the water cycle. http://www.sswm.info/category/concept/water-cycle
- Renewable Energy – Learn about renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar power and biomass. http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=renewable_home-basics
- The Power of Solar – Introduce the power of the sun by building a pizza box solar oven. http://energy.gov/eere/education/downloads/build-pizza-box-solar-oven-0
- Conserving Water Through Art – Get your K-4th grade students thinking about ways to conserve one of our most important natural resources – water. http://www.earthday.org/sites/default/files/Conserving%20Water%20through%20Art%20K-4_Lesson%20Plan.pdf
- Energy Efficiency – Students Grades K-8 will compare a compact fluorescent bulb with an incandescent bulb to learn how energy efficiency helps the environment. http://energy.gov/eere/education/downloads/comparing-light-bulbs
- Footprint Calculator – Calculate your impact on the environment by answering questions about the food you eat, the energy you use, and the waste you produce. http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator (older students) or http://meetthegreens.pbskids.org/features/carbon-calculator.html (younger students)