Earth Week Activities, Ideas, and Inventions

Earth Week is upon us.  It's the one week per year we think about protecting our planet!  Here are some ideas to get you through the week.

1.  Take your students on a Nature Walk.  Seriously!  This is simple and easy but it can give students time to focus on their surroundings and explore.  Just be careful for ticks.  Take it a little further and have kids bring paper, pencils, and clipboards to record animals, bugs, and plants.  There are numerous ways that information can be explored back in the classroom.  This is on my list for the week.

2. Create bird feeders with pine cones and peanut butter (of substitute with something else sticky in case of allergies).

3.  Build a diorama with things students have found out in nature.

4. Watch the Lorax.

5. Soda bottle bird feeder (and many more).

6. Coffee Filter Earth.  Draw, color, and spray.

7. Read The Giving Tree to your class.  Try not to cry.

8.  Pick a video from Discovery Education's YouTube page.  There are tons to pick from and filled with so much information.

9.  Bill Nye the Science Guy:  Garbage Episode.

10.  Visit the Earth Day website for a weeks worth of lesson plans on climate change.

11.  Even if you don't do anything specific remember to talk with your students about the importance of Earth Week.  It kind of matters.

If you're looking for a little Project Based Learning that's not listed above you can grab my Earth Day Invention PBL.  Students brainstorm ideas and create an invention that will help make the world a better place.  My daughter just finished hers and she created a machine that takes oil water and turns it into juice.  She calls it The JuiceMaker!   I'll let her have the first glass.


Rainforest Alliance Website: Kid's Corner

The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization that focus efforts on conserving biodiversity sustainable living.  They work in countries around the world with farmers and businesses to create a "world where people can thrive and prosper in harmony wit the land."  You can visit their site, Rainforest Alliance.

Included in their site is a cool feature called the Kids' Corner that's filled with all things conservation, rainforests, and learning in between for kids of ALL AGES.

There's a collection of lesson plans for grades K-8, with each focusing on a different forest/country around the world.  There's also online games, an app ($0.99), and printables for teachers to grab and go.  They've even aligned their lessons to CCSS and NGSS (and have pdfs of it all).

Kid's Corner has a large selection of animal facts, research elements, virtual storybooks, and simple activities.  My favorite is their large selection of coloring pages featuring unique hand drawn animals and plants from the jungles.


Found the Gold Freebie Hop

Welcome!  You have Found the Gold.  Unlike the old Irish tale of the unicorns missing Noah's boat because they were playing--you, my friend, did not play around.  Now--you are getting paid (in the form of freebies). 

Some freebies are limited, others are not.  It would behoove you to run through this entire hop and pick everything up.  Be fast.  Be furious.  Or be fast and furious.  Just don't be too fast, too furious.

There's almost twenty blogs great blogs along this hop and I'd even suggest following every single one for classroom ideas, innovative ideas, technology features, organizing, and engaging your kids. Hopefully we can give you a little spark of inspiration.

So go ahead, start moving right along.  After all, what is better than free?

Kids catch a leprechaun, make wishes, and then write about it.
St. Pat's might be over, but we've got a whole week's worth of activities to celebrate.

For your next stop head over to Angie at Lucky Little Learners


SNAKES: PBL Actvity and Symbaloo Board

Research stinks for young kids on the internet.  It's vast, ridiculously complicated, and easy to end up watching cat videos.  That's why I'm such a fan of Symbaloo.  I can drag and drop links all onto a single board for the students to use and make research simple (but effective).

This is exactly what I've done with our next research project for some of my boys:  SNAKES!  Yessssss, everyone'ssssss favorite reptile now has their own Symbaloo board with links to articles, listicles, uber-kid sites, and videos from You Tube and National Geographic.  I've almost filled up the board with a very wide variety of topics about snakes from habitats, invasive species, and information on their toxicity of venom.
Check it out below.  If you're new to Symbaloo, make sure you take a couple of minutes and see how it works.  It might just change the way you teach researching and/or computer work.  I love it.

One of my favorite features is that each link opens in a new window.  When a kids finished they just close out the window and they're back to the main page.  It seems to speed up the process just a bit.

Direct Link:  SNAKES Symbaloo

Snake Search: Around the World is my newest Project Based Learning packet that I'm using to tie in this Symbaloo board.  You can check it out HERE.

It's a combination of specified research and individual learning/choosing.  There are over 20 activity pages for students to search around the world for all things snake-like.  Included are activities as simple research on prominent snakes, how to take care of a snake as a pet, the invasive Burmese Python in the Everglades, and designing enclosures at a zoo.  It's a mix of everything only with the crippling venom of a pit viper.

If snakes aren't your thing (which is okay because frogs and I don't get along) check out one of my other PBL units below.

Even if you're not a fan of snakes, check out how easy Symbaloo can work for you.  You don't even have to make your own boards--you can just use someone else's.  


Legend App: Animate Your Text

Legend is a cool little app that just popped onto the market.  It will immediately turn your text into an animated video/gif/Instagram post.  It debuted a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch it during a free period (now it is $1.99) but I would recommend it for anyone who wants a simple and effective way to share animated text.  If you like little pretty moving text images--this is for you (and me).

This one above is in gif form and works a little better for importing them within a blog post like this, much faster--but the quality s a little smaller.  Below you'll find a video that's I've uploaded to Instagram.  Again, I apologize for using comic sans.  It works well too, but you've got to fool around the embedding (I'd love to make it a little smaller).

The current offering they have are a bit limited, but you do have the ability to mix and match color, patterns, and movements.  I'm guessing since this is still so new there will be more and more updates-but I got it for free so I really can't complain.  This app is basically build for Instagram.  There's a choice to move you videos straight there (which is a nice feature).  Check it out in the App Store here.

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