From weather phenomena to natural disasters, our natural world covers a vast expanse of intellectually stimulating topics. Topics that are far too vital to the health and future of the planet to be relegated to Earth Day alone. At Promethean, we are committed to environmental responsibility. To learn more about our sustainability efforts, visit our Social & Environmental section of our website.
Let’s celebrate Earth Day 2023 by sharing some of the many ways educators can incorporate an environmental theme into their classroom activities. Whether working with a fully in-person classroom or a hybridized remote model, Promethean’s expansive catalog of edtech solutions includes the right product to meet your classroom needs.
Earth Day – then and now
What we now call Earth Day began in the late 1960s with a dingy America steeped in pollution. Decades of environmental hazards had built up and smothered the cities: smog, trash, leaded gas fumes, industrial waste, and other toxic chemicals were causing problems in both rural and urban areas.
These were symptoms of an economy that had undergone a tremendous industrial transformation in a relatively short time. While technology was rapidly advancing, the social and political norms surrounding it were having trouble keeping up.
Then, in 1969, a junior senator from Wisconsin took the nation’s environmental concerns head-on. Senator Gaylord Nelson was inspired by the anti-war movement and spurred by a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara.
Working with concerned college students and sympathetic media figures, Senator Nelson – along with a young and spunky activist named Denis Hayes – celebrated the first official Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970.
Within a year of Earth Day’s conception, the federal government created the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within five years, the federal government would go on to pass a number of crucial laws aimed at protecting and enriching the environment, including the Clean Water Act.
Now, over 50 years since the conception of Earth Day, more than a billion individuals worldwide recognize and celebrate the holiday. It serves as a reminder of the past fights for the climate, as well as a call to action for a modern audience.
The struggle for a clean environment continues every day – and there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. Let’s look at some of the ways educators can engage students on Earth Day.
5 Earth Day activities for the classroom
For students in a traditional classroom setting, Earth Day provides a unique opportunity to get active and get outside. These are just some of the creative and engaging ways educators can motivate their students to develop a life-long love and appreciation for their environment.
1. Act like Greta
Greta Thunberg has made huge strides in the world of youth environmental activism. A household name, Greta serves as an inspiration to climate-motivated youths all across the world by putting her beliefs into action.
Get your students to follow her lead by reading an article on Ms. Thunberg. Then, have your students create their own protest signs with slogans about saving the planet.
2. Take a field trip
Late April’s warm weather presents a special opportunity to take students on an outdoor ecological adventure. Some inspiring and cost-conscious options include wildlife sanctuaries, botanical gardens, and even the city recycling center.
Take the opportunity to teach children about the importance of sustainability and ecology while giving them an up-close look at nature’s incredible bounty!
3. Build a planter
What better way to teach students about growth and transformation than to involve them directly in the process?
A classroom planter provides students with a chance to grow and nurture their very own plants. Educators can share lessons on topics such as botany, the water cycle, plant nutrition, and genealogy.
Here are a few of our favorite planter ideas:
4. Set up classroom recycling
Teach students about the mechanics of recycling and why it’s so important. Get students in the habit of thinking critically about their trash as you take them on the journey from the factory to the landfill.
You can purchase or rent a copy of the educational story The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling so students can visualize how everyday products are made, used, thrown out, and reused.
Afterwards, ask each student to write down three or four ways that they can reduce their trash output. You can ask students to share their ideas on your classroom ActivPanel. Having them stand beside the board and explain their ideas to the class is a great opportunity to foster confidence and public speaking skills.
5. Make a compost bin
This activity is great fun for those students that love to get their hands dirty. Using things like old food, organic waste, and plant refuse, students can build a composting bin and get a first-hand look at the process of decay and decomposition.
We recommend sectioning off an area of the schoolyard for the compost pile, which you should place inside a large container, like a trash can with a lid or a wooden pallet bin.
Supervise students as they place items inside the bin, including non-meat and non-dairy fruit and vegetable food scraps, ground clippings, brown paper products, and other items listed in this handy resource, What to Compost vs. What Not to Compost.
3 Earth Day activities for remote or hybrid learners
The number of hybrid classrooms and remote learners has skyrocketed, leaving educators in a difficult position. Delivering the same quality of education to a student working remotely as one would an in-class student can be very difficult – especially when a classroom is made up of both types of pupils.
For Earth Day 2023, Promethean has developed some unique ways to involve your remote learners. These hybrid learning activities ensure remote students are given the same level of attention and opportunity as their in-person peers.
1. Explore a virtual field trip
Using an interactive smart panel like Promethean’s ActivPanel, educators can bring their remote students along on exciting, highly-detailed virtual field trips. These stunning videos put students right in front of some of nature’s most breathtaking flora and fauna and many other engaging topics.
Sync these top-rated field trips (all thanks to The Nature Conservancy) on your ActivPanel:
- Borneo: The Symphony of the Rainforest
- The Coral Reefs of Palau
- Wild Biomes: America’s Rainforests and Deserts
- China’s Great Forests
2. Make a collage with recyclables
This activity tasks students with scouring their homes for anything that might be repurposed: recyclables, bits of broken toys, torn clothes, and other knick knacks.
Give the students a limited amount of time to collect as many of these baubles as they can and have them arrange and present them as dioramas.
3. Play an online game
Hybrid classrooms greatly benefit from the use of virtual educational games. Promethean’s ActivInspire enables educators to coordinate games between their in-person pupils and their remote learners.
There are even programs like Every Day is Earth Day that offers lessons pertaining specifically to the environment.
Promoting environmental initiatives in education
As a firm in the field of education and technology, Promethean has an unwavering dedication to a safe and productive world for future generations. While Earth Day marks only one day out of the year to celebrate the planet, our commitment to the environment is year-round.
You can also request a demo today to see the Promethean ActivPanel in action.