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Grade: all
Subject: other

#281. Earth Day Activities: "Earth Protectors"

other, level: all
Posted by Kathleen Carpenter (kat@teachers.net).
Materials Required: See lesson
School: Plainfield Memorial School
Activity Time: two to four weeks
Concepts Taught: Environmental awareness

Earth Day activities are actually the culmination of about 3 weeks-one month of projects. I begin by introducing the classroom globe, discussing the Earth as our home which we share with many other living things. We talk about what people can do to hurt and help the earth (introducing the concepts of pollution, conservation). I read "Whose Forest Is It?" (Creative Teaching Press) in which forest animals and a human all claim, "This is my forest" until a wise owl points out that it is everyone's forest. This leads us to a discussion about sharing natural resources with earth's creatures, and our responsibility to be "earth protectors".
Each child receives a mini-globe keychain (Oriental Trading Co.). The key chains remain in the children's cubbies until Earth Day. Die cut paper key shapes are sent home. Each time the child or family performs an "earth saving act" (cleaning up litter, conserving water, paper, etc.), the parent helps to write on a "key" what the act was, then sends it to school to be discussed during Circle Time then placed on the child's key ring.
During this period we learn about ways to conserve: shut off water while brushing teeth, use only three cranks of pape towel for hand drying ("One, two, three, Save a Tree!), recycling materials into crafts, reducing trash (we collect and stomp on empty plastic milk jugs..with caps on to discover the air pressure that forces the cap off when we reduce the jugs), re-using things like plastic spoons, etc.
We also learn about the dangers that trash can pose for animals, and collect plastic six-pack rings to cut up so that they cannot choke an animal.
We learn songs related to the theme: "Happy Earth Day To You!!" (tune of"Happy Birthday", just substitute the words "happy earth day" for "happy birthday"), "We've Got the Whole World In Our Hands" (while passing an inflatable globe around the circle), and "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" (To the tune of The More We Get Together": "Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, recycle. Reduce, reuse, recycle, it's easy to do. 'Cause your world is my world and my world is your world, Reduce, reuse, recycle, it's easy to do!")
We collect puppets to represent forest creatures and act out the story, "Whose Forest Is It?"
On Earth Day, we invite parents, have a playground cleanup, the children perform their songs and the play, "Whose Forest Is it?" Children are presented their keychains to take home with the reminder that "earth saving must be a life long project." Then we enjoy a healthful (our bodies are a natural resource that we must take care of) picnic prepared bythe families.
This year I would like to build an igloo out of empty plastic milk jugs as a recycling activity.
Kathleen Carpenter