Earth Day is fast approaching, and we all know spring is a busy time for teachers. Between state testing, culminating projects, and feelings of exhaustion, adding one more thing to your plate is most likely the last thing you want to do. But don't worry. I've got you covered with two hassle-free digital-friendly Earth Day activities that are literally ready-to-go. 🙌
The virtual field trips I'm sharing here can be assigned as independent, self-paced activities, or conducted whole-group with the teacher navigating the trip and serving as the "tour guide."
Here's the scoop.
If you teach upper elementary, I've put together an Earth Day Virtual Field Trip in which your students will learn about the availability of natural resources, the occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate that have influenced human activity. Sounds like a lot, but I've created this virtual field trip in an organized way so that your students travel around the world and explore using Google Earth as they learn about:
:: The Great Barrier Reef (coral bleaching)
:: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (ocean plastic pollution)
:: Amazon Rainforest (deforestation)
:: Dehli, India (air pollution)
:: Mozambique, Africa (freshwater access)
:: The Arctic (shrinking sea ice, drilling)
This virtual field trip is a great enrichment activity, but it's also strategically aligned with many standards so you can be sure your students are learning while they have an opportunity to "play" with Google Earth.
And yes, your students will take an underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef using Google Earth. It's super cool!
I've aligned this activity with the Next Generation Science Standards for Earth and Human Activity. It's also aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Reading Informational Text. And I've also aligned this activity to the Washington State Geography Standards, but it can easily cross-walk to many different state social studies standards. I've also shared all of the standards in the teacher notes, so you can hand these to your principal if you teach in a school where you submit lesson plans.
I decided to create a virtual field trip all about Sustainable Communities. This can be used as a stand-alone activity, or if you wish to extend your Earth Day 2022 learning beyond the day itself, this would also work well.
This trip looks at:
:: What are sustainable communities?
:: Earthships, New Mexico (self-sufficient living & upcycled materials)
:: Biosphere 2, Arizona (largest closed earth system)
:: Zero Waste Town, Japan (impact of recycling & community policy)
:: Solar Power Complex, Morocco (clean energy & reduction of imports)
:: Ecovillage, Scotland (eco-friendly living & misconceptions)
This activity is also aligned to the NGSS and CCSS as well as the Washington state geography standards.
Check out what teachers are saying:
"I used this the week of Earth Day with my 5th and 6th grade social studies scholars. They loved the Google Earth field trips and were greatly impacted by learning about the problems around the globe we are facing. We ended with designing digital PSA posters using Design Cap. Each scholar chose the initiative/topic that impacted them the most to design a poster to bring awareness. They were so good I am printing them off in color to decorate my classroom with!" -J.H.
"This is one of my favorite purchases! My students loved the Earth Day tour and we are getting ready to do the Sustainable Cities Tour! Couldn't be happier!!" -FL
"Great way to relax and have fun learning after state testing." -H.H.
Earth Day Bundle
I've put together a discounted bundle option, as many teachers find that after completing the Earth Day VFT, their students are asking for more. Isn't that such a great feeling!! You can find the bundle by clicking on this link.