4 Ways to Make Earth Day Awesome in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Teaching students about waste, recycling and Earth Day can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here is a super simple guide to help you get started:

1) Introduce the Concept of Waste

Start by talking with your students about why it’s important to be mindful of waste.

One of my favourite concept attainment strategies involves sending students on a hunt for photos.

First, each student goes to Unsplash or another website to find an image that they feel BEST represents the concept of “waste”.

Next, each student is given a partner. Together they must decide which photo to keep. They can only keep one.

Then, each partnership joins another to make groups of four. Once again they must work together to decide which ONE photo to keep.

Finally, small groups defend their choice of image and explain to the class why their chosen image best represents the concept of waste.

You could easily do this activity with the concept of recycling or Earth Day if that better suits your curriculum.

waste concept attainment strategy

2) Introduce the Concept of Recycling

Talk about the benefits of recycling, such as conserving resources, saving energy, and reducing pollution.

This is an awesome opportunity to show students a quick video.

I love this one!

3) Plan for Earth Day

Have your students come up with ideas for how they can help celebrate Earth Day. This could be anything from organizing a clean-up event to creating a poster or skit about the importance of waste and recycling.

I love to celebrate Earth Day with Operation Green Team Challenges! Students complete a series of 4 superhero-themed challenges. Talk about making Earth Day fun!

waste and our world superhero challenges

Another one of my favourite ways to recognize Earth Day in the upper elementary classroom is with an Interactive Read Aloud! Grab my Interactive Read Aloud lesson that accompanies the book Magic Trash – A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art for FREE by clicking HERE.

magic trash interactive read aloud

4) Go Beyond Earth Day

Encourage your students to think of ways they can continue to reduce their waste and recycle more in their daily lives.

One of my favourite Project Based Learning activities is the Trash to Treasure project! Essentially students create amazing treasures from trash. This is a great lesson in reusing.

The showcase for this project is a silent auction where family members can bid on the treasures that students have worked so hard on.

Want to grab all of the handouts for this project? Click HERE!

trash to treasure project based learning for earth day

By following these steps, you can help students understand why waste and recycling are so important and how students can make a real difference.

Looking for some more Earth Day teaching ideas? Check out THIS blog post where I list the top 5 picture books for teaching students about water!

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