Children are the future and helping them learn how to care for the world is so important. There are so many engaging Earth Day activities for upper elementary kids you can implement in your classroom to educate them on the problems our planet is facing. Taking some time to allow them to learn about them, learn about solutions, and problem solve themselves is important. Here are a few engaging Earth Day activities for 4th and 5th graders.
1. Share a Read Aloud
Reading a picture book is a fun, engaging, and impactful Earth Day activity to start of your unit. It provides a shared moment that opens up the dialogue among students.
Earth Day read alouds can focus on the beauty of our world, problems it is facing, or people who have started a movement to make a difference in trying to keep our world as healthy as possible.
2. Share Videos
You can provide students some background knowledge by sharing some Earth Day videos with them.
Brainpop has a video on Climate Change that you can share with students if you or your school has a subscription.
SciShow Kids has a 20 minute video that encompasses many of the topics covered around Earth Day including habitats, endangered animals, the effect of pollution, what happens to garbage, and much more.
TedEd has a video that explains what happens to plastic bottles when they are thrown away.
NFSA Films has a video that shows how students in a school in Australia change the world in just a few minutes each day. It's a fun and clever way to show elementary school students how they can make small changes that make a big impact.
At the end of the video they ask, "What can your class do?" It's a great lead into starting something at school that can have a positive impact on our environment.
Provide the students with an opportunity to dig a little deeper and do some group or independent Earth Day research. This allows them to understand what some of the problems we are facing are and the gravity of certain situations a little better. It also allows them to think of actions they can take in their everyday lives that can positively impact their world.
The research doesn't have to be complicated. As a matter of fact, it can be a simple search of the types of pollution our world is facing that can be done in one class period.
Introduce students to some of the Earth Day vocabulary words they may come across as they continue to read, research, and learn about environmental problems.
This can be done in a daily format by introducing one word a day during the week of Earth Day. It can also be done as a whole lesson at the start of the week or before you have students begin to do some research on their own.
Teaching students to think outside the box is a valuable quality. Showing students that reusing and repurposing old materials can not only help their creative and critical thinking skills, but it can also help them make an impact in the world. It teaches them that old things can once again be made new when used for a different purpose.
These traits can be fostered through an Earth Day project that has them use old materials to create something new.
Start off by having students think of things that are usually placed in the recycling bin such as paper, boxes, egg cartons, etc. Have students think of other things they can use the items for such as crafts, decor, or their favorite...games.
Then have students create something with reusable items in their household.
Try coming up with a theme for the projects. Some ideas are:
- have all the students make bookmarks made of cereal boxes and then have them donate them to other classrooms as an act of kindness.
- create a game and then have a classroom carnival day.
- making math manipulatives that can be used in class during a lesson.
6. Share and Write Earth Day Jokes
Have some fun sharing some Earth Day jokes or puns with your students.
Here are some examples:
- What's a trees least favorite month? Sep-timberrrrrrr!
- What do oceans say to each other when they meet? Nothing, they just wave.
- How are pirates eco-friendly? They follow the 3 arrrrrrs.
- What do you call it when worms take over the world? Global worming.
Try having your students create some of their own and share them with the class.
I hope these ideas and list of Earth Day activities for upper elementary kids has inspired you and helped you find some engaging activities you can share with your students. Now go out there and CHANGE THE WORLD!