Nature is filled with countless, extraordinary wonders. A pufferfish that can create brilliant artistic designs. A spider with superpowers that allow it to tackle almost any problem. Crabs who have organized a housing market! Our oceans and forests are brimming with species that spark our curiosity and expand our understanding of the world. So, it’s distressing that so much of nature is in considerable danger.

Pollution, deforestation, and climate change continue to have a negative effect on our planet. Once prosperous ecosystems like the Amazon Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef have been severely damaged. The sheer scale of the work that needs to be done to restore our environment can feel insurmountable. Yet, positive change is possible. Even more encouraging is the fact that it can begin in the classroom with a handful of students!

Going Green

Just imagine if students just like yours were empowered to promote sustainable practices and become leaders of positive change? With the approach of Earth Day, now is the perfect time for educators to introduce their students to environmental lessons that can help them make a real difference. Here are just a few ideas to get going:

  • Create Recycled Art: Turn trash into treasure with a hands-on creative challenge! Have students collect trash items from home to create their treasure — or scrounge around your room at school for forgotten and unused items for students to upcycle. Use this Found Art resource for inspiration. Give students five minutes to identify the items they would like to use and sketch out their design. Then, have them put their creativity to work!
  • Watersheds and Engineering: One of the greatest threats to our water supply is the presence of pollution. Help students understand how difficult water pollution is to stop and gain an appreciation for the importance of keeping our watersheds clean with a challenge. Have them engineer a device to try and keep dyed “polluted” water from contaminating their personal reservoir.
  • Share Stories: Your students may be surprised to hear that a lot of people just like them are using STEM to help the planet. Take a moment to share these stories with your class and introduce them to the individuals making a difference. Meet the former Cohort kid who is helping amphibians in Australia, or read about the man who is regrowing forests. Inspire them to be the change they want to see!
  • Create a Garden: A classroom garden is a simple way to introduce your students to nature while also fostering communication and teamwork. Planting flowers can help sustain pollinators like butterflies and bees which are currently declining from lack of food. Not only will this help the environment, but it will also provide you with opportunities to discuss the importance of ecosystems.
The World of Tomorrow

If you found these strategies helpful, be sure to check out the latest Timely Topic: Earth Day Explorers. These four free lessons are easy to implement and use curiosity to help students celebrate Earth Day. Do one or do them all, the choice is yours! By working together, we can undo the harm done to our world and build a better, more sustainable future for our students. So, let’s do our part and explore this wonderful world and keep it safe.

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