This Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. It’s a time to think about our effect on the planet and care for Mother Earth. When I was in the classroom, my students already cared greatly about conservation. Some students actively chose to be vegetarian while others volunteered for trash cleanups around the town. Chances are your students care about this too! Although Earth Day is a once-a-year holiday, it’s something to discuss year-round. Here are 5 ideas to foster a conversation about conservation to help create a new generation of environmentalists.
Begin the Discussion
For those students who may need a little extra nudge into thinking environmentally, a class discussion is sure to do the trick! In my experience, having an open discussion with your students on the matter will help them understand the “why” and give them a defined sense of purpose. Introduce the topic of conservation, for students who may not be familiar with it, and let the kid-focused discussion blossom from there. You will be blown away by the points your students raise.
Investigate and Research Your Community
Students may have questions about what their own community does for the environment. What are recycling procedures? What local organizations already exist to help? Your students may be blown away by what they find. Give your students time to research and present their findings with a team. From there, another great conversation can organically happen on what the city does well and what could be improved. Depending on where you live, your class may see a need and be inspired to enact change themselves. Like I said before, many children naturally have an incredible love for the environment around them.
Establish A Green Team
If your school doesn’t already have one, there’s no time like the present! The schools I worked at previously had this and it was something that students looked forward to every week. Once a week, have a team of students go around to each classroom and collect the recycling bins. They, independently, are in charge of sorting by type and getting the items ready for recycling. This can be done at the school or classroom level. Again, it helps students be in control of the conservation efforts.
Host A Litter Cleanup
With your class, break up students into teams of 4 or 5. Have these teams go around the school and pick up litter that they may find. This will include wrappers, bottles, scrap pieces of paper, or discarded school supplies. It will help keep your school clean and gives students a chance to have fun outside of the classroom. If you’re willing, consider making it into a contest. The team that collects the most can win a special prize!
Compost For Beginners
Do you notice a lot of vegetable and fruit peels being thrown away in the school cafeteria? Maybe that means it’s time to give composting a try! There are so many incredible conversations that can springboard from composting. Why should we compost? Why is this beneficial for the environment? What are ways your school can decrease the amount of waste? After a few months, your class can use the newly made, rich soil to plant a garden.