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Earth Day: What a Wonderful World!!!

Earth Day: What a Wonderful World!!!

I am very excited about this unit because I feel that it is extremely important to teach children to take care of our Earth! I have some real neat activities to offer. As with all my units, please check back often as I am always working on my pages!!!

My Earth Day Unit Ideas!!!

Launching the Theme

To introduce the theme, share the book Aunt Ippy's Museum of Junkby Rodney A. Greenblat with the class. Children will delight in meeting Aunt Ippy, founder and director of a musum dedicated to showcasing discarded treasures. Indeed, Aunt Ippy, who never throws anything away, elevates the practices of reusing and recycling to a fine art!
  • After you have read the story, try one or more of the following activities:
  • Pollution Patrol

    Your kids can go on a "pollution patrol" scavenger hunt to look for different types of pollution and signs of potential pollution right in their own community.

    1. Begin the activity by asking the group what kinds of things come to mind when they think of pollution. List their ideas on a chart.
    2. Briefly explain pollution. Don't forget to add water, air, and noise pollution as well as land pollution!
    3. After explaining pollution, ask children if they want to add anything or delete anything from their list.
    4. Tell the group that they will be going outside to look for some of the types of pollution that you talked about.
    5. Before taking the children outside, show the kids some examples of pollution "evidence" they might gind on their hunt. You might bring in things such as an empty beverage can, some litter from a fast-food restaurant, an empty container of household cleaner and other trash. Or you could show pictures of cars, smokestacks and so on.
    6. Once you are outside, tell the kids that they should rely on their senses to help them locate and identify pollution. For example, they might smell exhaust, see oil spots on the road or hear a noisy plane.

    Note: You could have the children work in teams, with each team focusing on just one form of pollution. Different teams could search for pollution they can see, hear, or smell. Or they could look for pollution on land, in water, or in the air. Each time someone comes across some pollution, discuss where it came from and what effects it might have on wildlife and the environment.

    Clean Up Your Act!

    By starting an antipollution countdown in your classroom, you can help your kids become aware of what they can do to fight pollution.

    10! Chart Your Course
    Make a chart with the three headings "Problems", "Causes", and "Solutions". Put it where everyone can see it. Explain to the kids that they'll be taking part in a pollution countdown to help reduce pollution and that they will be using this chart to record the steps they take. Tell the kids as they proceed with the countdown, they'll learn about a variety of pollution problems and ways to help solve them. Have the kids take turns updating the chart as they follow each step of the countdown.

    9! Antilitter Bugs!
    Have the kids keep an eye out for litter both in and outside of the classroom. Tell kids to be sure they clean up when paper, pencil shavings, and other litter collect around them. Have kids come up with ways to reuse the things they pick up in class. Construction paper scraps, for instance, make good bookmarks. Kids can reuse such materials to create colorful "litter patrol" buttons to wear or signs to put on their desks.

    8! Cleaner Cleaners!
    Tell your group that people use many products every day that can cause pollution. For example, mny cleaning products contain toxic ingredients, such as ammonia, that can contaminate water supplies when washed down the drain. Have kids find out if any of the products they use at home or in the classroom contain toxic ingredients. The kids can also check with the maintenance staff to see which products are used and whether these contain toxic chemicals. Then have the kids come up with a ist of recommended alternatives to the toxic products currently used.

    7! Plant Power!
    Explain to your children that indoor air pollution can be a big problem in some buildings. That's because pollutants from glues, new carpeting, toxic cleaning products and other sources can become concentrated inside poorly ventilated buildings. Tell the kids that some kinds of houseplants absorb certain air pollutants and help improve indoor air quality. Some of the best pollution absorbers are philodendrons, gerbera daisies, golden pothos, and spider plants. You can ask a local garden center to donate plants or cuttings of these plants and have the kids take turns caring for them.

    6! Light The Way!
    Explain to the kids that every time they flick on a light switch they're using electricity. And this use is probably contributing to pollution because most electricity is supplied by coal-, oil-, or natural-gas-burning power plants, which emit harmful materials into the air. Point out that by using less electricity, they can help reduce pollution. Have the children design eye-catching mini-posters to put mear light switches to remind people to turn off lights when they're not needed.

    5! More Energy Alerts!
    There are probably lots of other ways to save energy in your classroom. One way might be to have the maintence staff caulk drafty windows. Have childreb hold ribbons up to window edges to check for leaks. If their ribbons wave, there 's energy to be saved. You can also contact your local utility company to see if they will send a representative to talk to your children about conservation.

    4! The Lunch Bunch!
    Talk with your kids about the amount of trash they generate at lunch and snack times. (To illustrate this point, you might want to collect all the garbage your group produces in one day.) If the kids bring their own lunches, they can avoid throwing away a paper bag each day by packing their lunches in reusable lunch boxes or cloth bags. And instead of using disposable drink containers, they can bring drinks in Thermoses or other reusable containers. If your cafeteria uses paper cups, plastic foam plates or other throwaway materials, encourage officials to switch to reusable plates and utensils.

    3! Getting There!
    Have the students list the places they usually go to in cars and discuss whether alternative forms of transportation, such as walking, bicycles, buses, subways, or trains might be options.

    2! Waste Watchers!
    Introduce recycling to your school by having students set up a recycling bin for paper in your classroom. Ask school officials to set up bins in the cafeteria for plastic, aluminum and glass. Students can help educate their schoolmates about recycling by designing posters that describe what can and cannot be place in each recycling bin.

    1! Chart Check!
    As a last step in the pollution countdown, have kids look over the pollution chart to decide whether they solved all the pollution problems listed. Discuss what worked and what didn't, and decide what projects kids would like to continue. Was it possible to eliminate all forms of pollution? The kids will probably find out that it's nearly impossible to completely eliminate pollution- but that doing their part does make a difference!

    0! Blast Off!
    Celebrate the countdown with an antipollution party. Put up decorations made form recycled or reused materials. Instead of using crepe paper, cut strips of used notebook paper or construction paper and glue them together to form colorful chains to hang from the ceiling. Be creative! And be sure to serve party snacks on reusable dishes.

    The Stomp

    1. Introduce the term RECYCLE. Recycle means to use waste materials again by saving them from the trash and reprocessing them into a new product. Describe TRASH as useless items thrown away in the proper place. Explain that recycling is the process of separating useful (recyclable) items from trash (useless items) instead of throwing them away.
    2. Have students identify RECYCLABLE items (e.g., newspaper, beverage cans, plastic containers and glass jars) from trash items thrown away at home.
    3. Discuss the need to properly sort and collect recyclables in the home. Students need to understand that recyclables must be kept clean and neatly stored for the convenience of te family and the RECYCLING CENTER receiving these items. Explain to students that a recycling center accepts recyclables and sends them to a place where they can be made into a new product.
    4. Ask each student to bring in one clean beverage can from home. Tell students to rinse out their can before bringing it to school. Liquid left in cans attracts bees, ants, and other insects. Cans need to be clean. Ask students not to crunch the can before bringing it to school. Collect all of the cans in a bag.
    5. Describe the need to smash cans for recycling. Smashed cans take up less space and are a more convenient size for storing at home, school, or wherever recyclables are saved. Explain that the class is going to stomp on the cans to prepare them for recycling.
    6. Take students and bag of cans out to the playground. Assemble students into a circle; allow at least a shoulder's distance between each student. Ask students to observe the size of the bag of cans before beginning the stomp activity. Demonstrate and explain how the cans are to be smashed. Students are to: a) use only one foot, b) remove the can from their shoe if it sticks, c) retrieve the can if it slips out from under a shoe and d)stomp on the can until it is flat. Students should wear sturdy shoes. Give each student a can. Have students smash the can either one at a time, in groups of 2-3, or everyone all at once.
    7. Ask students to put cans back in the bag and observe the size of the bag now that the cans are flat. Discuss with students the change in shape and size of the cans and the value of stomping cans for recycling. Plan to take the cans to a local recycling center.


    Yucky, Yucky, Poo
    Tune: The Bear Went Over the Mountain

    There's something polluting our water,
    There's something polluting our water,
    There's something polluting our water,
    I'll tell you what it is.

    It is a _______________,
    It is a _______________,
    It is a _______________,
    Yucky, yucky, poo.
    (Hold nose)

    Litter is Garbage
    Tune: The Wheels on the Bus

    Litter is garbage that wasn't put away,
    Wasn't put away,
    Wasn't put away,
    Litter is garbage that wasn't put away,
    In the garbage can.

    I put my garbage in the garbage can,
    The garbage can,The garbage can,
    I put my garbage in the garbage can,
    I'm not a litterbug.

    Litter Free Picnic
    Tune: Skip to my Lou

    We're not litterbugs, no siree
    We're not litterbugs, no siree
    We're not litterbugs, no siree
    We pick up our trash, you see.

    Now playing: What a Wonderful World