Learning about the environment shouldn’t be limited to science class. Show students how to become eco-allies through environment activities in any subject!
Teachers who use environment activities in the classroom promote student conscientiousness regarding how to care for the planet. Whether learning about solar energy, combating ocean pollution, or planting a tree, teachers can use springtime 2017 and beyond as the perfect opportunity for environment activities in their classroom.
1. Schedule a School Cleanup
Though recycling has become part of daily life in the United States, more can be done to promote efforts to reuse certain waste products, while shedding light on the dangers of litter. Unfortunately, much of the litter found in playgrounds, on sidewalks, and lying by the roadside will travel to the world’s oceans. The amount of plastic waste in the oceans is estimated at more than 5 trillion pieces, a number that continues to grow. Speak with administrators and colleagues to organize a cleanup day, during which all members of the school join together to collect litter around the grounds for recycling. Whether aligning the cleanup with an environmental day, such as World Water Day on March 22, or simply during a normal school week, request reports from students in which they review their experiences and propose additional group environment activities for the future.
2. Discover the Dangers of Bad Bleaching
As scientists continue to monitor the effects of climate change and global warming, STEM students should focus on learning about coral bleaching. In December 2016, Scientific Reports released a report regarding how coral bleaching is threatening reefs as climate change continues to shift the environments around the world and global warming continue to heat waters where reefs exist. Students can examine coral bleaching using environment activities, such as mapping reef locations (geography!), monitoring daily sea surface temperatures (statistics!), and answering questions regarding their work through NASA Data’s “Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean.”
3. Feel the Migration
Mapping the migration patterns of animals is integral to remaining informed regarding the world’s ecosystems and inhabitants. Each year, different animal species relocate for summer and winter seasons, seeking the most comfortable climates in which to live. Through its Massive Migrations activity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Foundation explain migration habits of animals and allow students to choose from a list of migratory bird species to study travel habits, reproduction, feeding, and habitat. Students are then challenged with questions and additional resources for further study.
4. Learn About Nature — Live!
The popularity of virtual field trips is growing, as experts in different STEM concentrations around the globe recognize the opportunity to educate students from anywhere in the world. In partnership with the Prince William Network, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service produces FSNatureLive, a webinar series that introduces students to flora and fauna in different regions to forge a relationship that will lead to conscientiousness and conservation. Join GrasslandsLive on May 17, 2017 from Colorado’s Pawnee National Grasslands. Resources are also available in Spanish for teachers who work in bilingual classrooms.
5. Conduct a Retail Eco-friendly Audit
In the past, STEM Jobs has discussed conducting a waste audit with students, but there are other, similar environment activities that allow students to examine how their daily habits affect our world. Ask students to make a list of the top five to 10 products they use each day. Once these lists have been finalized the class will contact the companies to inquire about any sustainable manufacturing practices they follow and environmental causes they support. Through engaging students in these environment activities, teachers show students that they can make informed decisions by conducting a bit of research and accepting the responsibility of reaching out to manufacturers for answers.
This year, use environment activities to teach students the value of investigating how humans affect the planet. Use environmental celebrations, such as Arbor Day on April 29 and Earth Day on April 22, to assign environment activities that will instill in students an interest in learning about and protecting the Earth. To learn more about environment activities and inform students about fascinating, admirable careers in the field, pick up the Early Spring 2017 issue of STEM Jobs!