Curriculum ideas for Earth Day 2021

Whether teaching online or in person, there are many ways teachers can celebrate Earth Day with their students this year!

Since 1970, schools and communities across the country have celebrated Earth Day, holding educational events, clean-up projects and other activities to help kids learn about the planet and ways to protect it. With schools across the U.S. navigating numerous logistical challenges to safely educate children, teachers have had to be especially creative this past year.

Environment America wants to support teachers as they prepare their lesson plans for Earth Day. To that end, we’ve pulled together a set resources that can be used in virtual or in-person classroom settings.

Video presentations teachers can share with their students

Our Wisconsin state director, Megan Severson, shares a history of Earth Day, and describes an activity suitable for the whole class. The video is followed by a set of discussion questions for the class. There are videos for grades kindergarten to third; grades fourth to sixth; and grades seventh to 12th.

Grades K-3: Making a self-portrait out of foraged materials
Grades 4-6: Making a bag out of an old t-shirt
Grades 7-12: Conducting a home energy audit
Fifty One Activities Kids Can Do for Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day’s 51st birthday, we put together a list of 51 environmental activities kids can do to celebrate Earth Day. Each activity includes links to activity descriptions. Share the list with your students and ask which ones they would like to do.

The list, which links to further information on subjects throughout is broken down into six different areas: Learn about solutions to climate change; learn about ways to reduce waste; learn about plants; learn about waterways, parks and conservation; learn about and protect birds, bees and other wildlife; and create a healthier home and community.

Activities range from making your own solar oven from a pizza box to creating a bird feeder out of an apple, peanut butter and birdseed. Educational opportunities vary from calculating your family’s carbon footprint to making your garden or neighborhood pollinator friendly.

Green Kids videos

Sometimes learning can be self-guided. For kids at home around the country, making their own videos is a good way for them to nurture self-reliance and creativity. For students who want to share their work, demonstrating how to do some of the Earth Day activities and other environmentally friendly tasks is a great opportunity!

Check out these videos for inspiration.

Curriculum ideas on plastic pollution and energy use in the home

Teachers can download additional educational resources from Environment America. 

Games and other resources

Download even more fun activities and games from Environment America.

If you document all the environmental activities you’re doing, be sure to tag Environment America on social media!