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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Great Interactive Resources for Earth Day

Looking for some great ideas and resources to help celebrate earth day?  Want to break up the testing blues, get kids thinking and writing in an engaging way?

Paper or plastic?

Start a discussion on something that is both relevant to them and authentic.  They may not be able to directly influence gas prices or oil drilling, but they can certainly make wise choices in their own lives.  Start with the simple question “paper or plastic?”

Check out this great interactive lesson “Battle of the Bags.” Videos and interactive sections provide students with different points of view on the Paper vs. Plastic debate.  Assign students a point of view to focus on, have them debate, write persuasively or use it to provide background information for a SCAN session.

Follow that up with a four perspective discussion using the simple SCAN (see the issues, clarify the issues, assess what’s important, now what should we do?) critical thinking strategy built into the SCAN discussion platform at  "The Environmental Debate:  Paper or Plastic" is one of over 100 free scenarios.

Want a hands-on experiment to go with it?  Try out this free lesson to determine “Which kind of trash bag breaks down the fastest?"

Let students see where their garbage or recyclables go on collection day by selecting and following their trail at "Beyond the Barrel" site for kids.

The Story of Stuff is a 20 minute online cartoon that traces our “stuff” from its creation to its cremation.  This video definitely represents one point of view.  Can your students determine what other points of view may be?  Can they pick out the persuasive language used? Use this video to launch a discussion that goes beyond the content.

National Geographic's "Human Footprint" offers a fun interactive site that allows children to see what their human footprint is on the earth.  There is a lot of potential for math lessons here as they calculate the number of loaves of bread or eggs you eat in a year and illustrate the impact of your choices.

Looking for more? has a great selection of links and resources on earth day:  You can find all sorts of great links and resources using their searchable data base of reviewed activities.

You can also find a great list of links and resources for Earth Day at Edudemic.

Earth Day is a great day to integrate technology science, language arts, math and history.  What will you be doing?

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