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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Day Lessons

Lesson 1:  What Does It Mean to Be Green?
Green Idea Posters
  • Ask: What it means to be "green"?  Discuss the comments received.
  • State: We are going to read a book about being "green".  While I read, I want you to think about this new vocabulary word... "green".  After we read, we will discuss the meaning of the this new word.
  • Read Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day by Jan O'Connor.
  • After reading, discuss what being "green" means and write a definition as a class.
  • Brainstorm different green activities.
  • Have the children work in small groups to create a poster for one of the "green" activities.  Each group should work on a different idea.
  • Hang posters in the hallway with the definition for what it means to be "green".

Lesson 2: Why is It Important to Make "Green" Choices?
Leafy Earth with a Small Idea Statement
  • Ask:  Why is it important that we make green choices?  Go over the definition of "green" if needed.
  • State: Today we are going to read a book about some small things that children can do to help the earth and environment.  While I read, listen for some ideas that you could do at home.
  • Read the book, little helpers by Green State.
  • After reading, discuss which of the activities in the book we could do at home. 
  • State:  Are there any other small things you could do that would made a BIG difference?
  • Go for a nature walk to look for leaves.  Try to find leaves that have already fallen from trees.  If you must remove a leaf from a tree, try to limit it to two.
  • Once you return to the classroom demonstrate how to do a leaf rubbing.  Lay the leaves with the vein side facing up.  place a piece of copy paper on top of the leaves.  Using a black crayon, color over the area that has the leaves under it.  Press hard enough that the leaf impression is present, but not hard enough to break the leaf.
  • Have each child complete the above step.
  • Have the children take turns going to a painting station and water coloring over the crayon with blue and green watercolor paint... making a crayon resist.
  • Once the watercolor is dry have each child trace and cut out a circle onto their paper over the prettiest part.
  • Have each child glue his/her Earth onto a 9X9 sheet of black construction paper.
  • Allow each child to type one small idea and print it out.
  • Have the children cut out and glue his/her statement onto the black construction paper.
  • Hang in the hallway or staple into a class book titled... One Small Thing.

Lesson 3:  What is Earth Day?
Earth and Recycle Sign Wreath
  • Ask: What is Earth Day?  Allow children to ask questions and make suggestions.
  • State:  Today is Earth Day.  Earth Day is an important day for our planet.  It is a time to remember that it is our responsibility to keep the earth clean and healthy.  It is also a day to let others know about small changes they can make to help our planet.
  • State:  Today we will being reading, It's Earth Day by Mercer Mayer. This book is about Little Critter and what he learns about Earth Day.  After learning about Earth Day, Little Critter becomes a very "green" kiddo.  While I read, listen to see if you think Little Critter made some good choices.  be ready to explain why or why not and share your ideas.
  • Read the story.
  • After reading, discuss the questions posed during the story introduction.
  • have all children go to their tables.  Pass out paper plates to each child.
  • Demonstrate how to bend the plate in the middle and cut a large X.  Model cutting and turning the paper plate to cut out the entire center portion.  Recycle the center portion as it is not needed for this project.
  • Pass out the coloring pages for the earths and recycle signs.  Have several examples already pre-colored and cut. 
  • Demonstrate how to glue the pictures onto the paper plate in a pattern.  Explain the they may need to make two rows of pictures. 
  • If only one row is needed, demonstrate cutting the extra plate away from the wreath.
  • Have children write a reflection in their learning journals about what they have learn thus far.

Lesson 4: What is Trash?
Listing Ways to Reduce and Reuse Trash
  • Ask:  What does the word recycle mean? reduce? reuse?  Allow children to share ideas.
  • State: Today we are going to read a book called Earth Day Hooray by Stuart J. Murphy.  In this story, children are cleaning up the local part to prepare for the Earth Day celebration.  While they are cleaning up, they realize that the park could use some flowers to make it more beautiful.  Listen to see what the children do in order to pay for the flowers they want planted in the park.
  • Read story.
  • After reading, discuss how the children made money to get the flowers.  Talk about how recycling not only made them money, but how it benefited the environment as well. 
  • Ask:  Is there a recycling center in Round Rock (name of your city)?  What kind of things do you think can be recycled?
  • Lay out several pieces of clean "trash" so that the children can see them.
  • Ask:  What do you think of when I use the word "trash"?  Allow for children to respond.
  • State:  I am going to read part of a story to you about a mouse named Stuart Little that probably feels very similar about trash as guys do.  Listen as I read.
  • Read excerpt from Stuart Little.
  • After reading, discuss why Stuart Little does not like trash.
  • State:  Now we are going to read about another character that feels very differently about trash.  Listen to see how Wilbur feels about trash in the story, Charlotte's Web.
  • Read excerpt from Charlotte's Web.
  • Discuss how Wilbur felt about trash.  Wilbur's trash was a "resource".  Much of our trash can become a "resource" as well.  Compare the difference in the two characters thinking.
  • Go back to Stuart Little and read to find out what happened to him.  Explain that our trash gets dumped on the planet just like Stuart Little.
Lesson 5: What Can You Recycle?
Making Recycling Signs and Sorting Trash
  • Ask:  What did we learn about recycling yesterday?  Why is it important to recycle?
  • State: Today we are going to read Why Should I Recycle by Mike Gordon. While I read, you will be learning about recycling your household garbage at the local recycling center.  You will also be learning about a few other ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce the amount of waste that we dump on the planet.  After reading, we will discuss how recycling is helpful.  We will also list different ways to recycle.
  • Read the story.
  • Discuss how recycling is helpful and make a list of different ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce our waste.
  • Dump out an assortment of trash.  Have the children sort it into four piles: recycle, reuse, donate, or landfill.
  • Further sort the recycled pile into paper, plastic, metal, cardboard, and glass.
  • Discuss the results.  Hopefully, the children noticed that the amount of trash going to the landfill was reduced dramatically by recycling, reusing, and and donating items.
  • Pass out recycling signs you have created and allow children to color and cut out.  OR  Have the children make recycling signs by themselves for use at home. 
Read any additional books you may have collected once a week until you have finished.  Dedicating one day a week to eco friendly activities is a great way to get the children in the habit of taking care of the planet.

A great resource that I used and modified for my lessons was Think Green.  Check it out.  You can view the lessons and share kid-friendly videos with your children as well.

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