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Earth Day Resources

Earth in Our HandsKids love exploring the world around them, and Earth Day offers a great way to introduce them to environmental science and engineering. The following sampler includes activities, lessons, and resources ranging from starting a school-wide energy audit to “green” buildings, the science behind solar ovens, and sustainable design.

NASA’s Earth Day Resources for Informal Educators includes activities on how to read a heat map. The space agency’s Adopt the Planet campaign invited people around the world to celebrate Earth Day 2017 by virtually adopting one of 64,000 pieces of Earth as seen from space. A personalized adoption certificate featuring data from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites for a randomly assigned location can be printed out and shared.

Earth Day Network has information on its campaigns, such as the 2018 End Plastic Pollution campaign, and a 2017 Climate Week Toolkit for Teachers [PDF] that includes tips for family activities, civic action, and science classes. Click HERE to see toolkits for teach-ins, universities, and others.

NOAA’s Marine Debris Program includes “Trash Talk,” an Emmy-award winning video series aimed at students and teachers, and a citizen-science project on monitoring marine debris that includes a Marine Debris Tracker app developed by the University of Georgia’s college of engineering that lets anyone report and map plastic waste and other coastal litter. There’s also an annual student marine-debris art contest

EPA’s Earth Day site offers lessons for teachers, community service ideas, and a history of Earth Day.

Engineering, Go For It Past Lessons:

See also: eGFI Teachers’ Sustainability Education Resources and eGFI Teachers’ Green Roof Resources

Activities and Projects:

  • Engineering is Elementary’s Plants to Plastics is a free, downloadable engineering design challenge for middle school students from the Museum of Science, Boston on replacing plastics with materials made from plants. Designed for use in after-school programs.
  • Green Education Foundation’s Sustainability lessons and activities and Top 10 Earth Day Projects. Design a walkable route to school, adopt a plant, and other “green team” activities!
  • SENSE IT is a free, standards-based curriculum for middle and high school students that instills technical skills and sense of environmental stewardship by building, deploying, and analyzing data from wireless water-quality sensors that monitor the health of a local river or stream.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day site offers lessons for teachers, community service ideas, and a history of Earth Day. EPA’s Indoor Air Quality initiative offers resources and lessons on air quality and information for teachers about promoting healthy school environments.
  • NASA’s Climate Kids has interactive games, videos, and other fun resources about weather and climate change for elementary school-age children.
  •’s environmental science activities for various age groups.

Citizen-Science Sites:

  • The Cool School Challenge, sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and developed by a high school environmental educator, engages students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions school-wide. Schools that complete the Challenge automatically qualify for a bronze level award through the Eco-Schools USA program!
  • Earth: The Operator’s Manual, developed from research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, includes climate-change lessons, activities, videos of “Energy Heroes,” and a step-by-step guide to cutting home or school energy use, including an energy-use calculator.
  • Project Noah is a site for citizen-scientists (and curious kids) around the world to explore and document wildlife by uploading photos of beautiful, strange, or unknown creatures and finding out what they are.
  • Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project. NOAA’s worldwide project to map and track the flow of plastic and other trash in the world’s oceans includes a Marine Debris Tracker app developed by the University of Georgia’s college of engineering.

Earth Day-themed newsletters, articles, and videos from our eGfi blogs:

Teachers’ newsletters:

Features from our eGfi Students and Teachers blogs


updated 4/21/17

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