6 ways to honor Earth Day

While preparing for Earth Day, our team has been reflecting on the idea of renewal – how Earth Day can be an opportunity to renew our thinking and to see things differently. This Albert Einstein quote felt particularly relevant: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” In that spirit, Along is here to help students consider and celebrate Earth Day. The result? A renewed sense of themselves and the impact of their daily actions. 

Here are six ways to get students in the Earth Day mindset.

#1: Provide context

Help students understand that Earth Day wasn’t always a holiday. It was started in 1970 by a senator named Gaylord Nelson. Senator Nelson was on a mission to place environmental activism at the forefront of people’s minds so he created an annual holiday that encourages people to work together as a community. This call to action has now been taken up for decades. Explain to students that Earth Day is a powerful reminder of the positive change individuals can make when they come together and work for a greater good.

#2: Reflect together

Whether it’s taking a walk at recess, bringing the classroom into the open air, or participating in a neighborhood clean-up, Earth Day is all about sharing outdoor experiences. Use this time as a jumping off point to talk about the importance of environmental stewardship. This gives students a renewed perspective on responsibility and understanding of their role.

Teacher tip: When talking about nature, feel free to share your own outdoor experiences —  either through Along or in the classroom. Be honest and give students the freedom to think of nature how they want to. Whether that’s inspiring, daunting, relaxing or challenging…there’s no wrong answer.  

#3: Let nature inspire every subject

Nature is typically discussed in science class — but it lends itself beautifully to every subject. Find a poem about the forest for English Class; try to capture a leaf in Art Class; learn about the history of the National Parks in History Class. Like Einstein said, students will understand everything better when seen through the lens of nature.  

#4: Keep the conversation going

Follow up on Earth Day themes during your Along check-ins. You can either make up your own reflection question that ties directly into Earth Day or check out our library to find one that’s ready to go. Giving your students a chance to reflect upon what they’ve learned will give them a greater appreciation for the planet we live on and how the planet requires teamwork from everyone involved. 

#5: Embrace creativity

Foster your students’ creativity with a statue-making group project. In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, ask your students to bring in recyclable materials — things like egg cartons, water bottles and cardboard boxes. On April 22nd, ask your class to work in small groups to create a statue that represents their view of Earth Day. This artistic activity promotes teamwork, imagination, and reflection.

Want more activities? Check out this We Are Teachers post on Earth Day activities for every grade.

#6: Make a pledge

Before Earth Day ends, ask your students to create an environmental pledge. Give them time to write down one way they’ll commit to the future of the planet and honor the spirit of Earth Day. This gives students an opportunity to reflect on all that they’ve learned and discussed with their classmates. 

In the weeks following Earth Day, check in with your students through Along and see if they’ve kept their pledges in mind. In the process, you can help them goal-set and provide support and encouragement. Even though Earth Day is just one day, it can help deepen connections and spark habits that last a lifetime.