Thursday, May 2, 2013

Earth Day '13

Earth Day is my favorite holiday to celebrate with students. Helping the earth and celebrating its beauty is definitely an occasion we can all get behind. Not to mention, it's always a fun getting out of the classroom and doing something different for a change. Here are some of the ways we commemorated Earth Day '13:

Native Species QR Codes

After interviewing the Green Team Advisor, my after school TECH Club students researched and wrote short paragraphs about a few of the native plant species found in the 'forest' on our campus. Students are in the process of turning their writing into QR codes to be laminated and placed on stakes near the plant. After that, their plan is to create a scavenger hunt lesson plan of sorts for other classes to enjoy utilizing our school's iPad mobile lab. Some of the plants they researched include: salal, douglas fir, indian plum, Oregon grape, and rhododendron.

Measurement in the Garden

Teaching a multi-age classroom can sometimes pose problems when it comes to math standards. Our school's community garden was a great place to spend an afternoon while easily differentiating instruction for each student. Before heading out, we brainstormed as a class all the things that we could measure. We created separate categories for length, weight, temperature, and capacity and discussed how possible tasks related to specific standards. Students individually chose 2-3 tasks that would help them practice a skill, and off we went! Students worked together to find the perimeter of different garden beds, the average number of rocks a cup can hold, the lengths of flower stems and blades of grass, the weight of small garden tools, and the temperature of the soil (among other things). During this time I was able to confer with each child, assess measurement skills in context, and provide further instruction as needed. 

Dirt Cakes

This activity is an Earth Day staple. Earth Day happens to also be my birthday (or B'Earthday, as I like to call it) and this is my way to celebrate with my little friends. I have students make a simplified version of the traditional cake my mom always made me using Oreo cookies, pudding, and gummy worms. I make sure to work in multiplication, division, elapsed time, fractions, and measurement skills, too. This activity also emphasizes the importance of reading and following directions, as well as accuracy and teamwork. This year, a few groups also made blue ocean Jell-O with gummy fish for an added treat.

What did your classroom or school do to celebrate Earth Day? I'd love to add to this collection of fun activities for next year! 

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