Earth Day Turns 40, Offering Teachable Moment

By Erik W. Robelen — April 08, 2010 1 min read
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With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day just two weeks away, I thought I’d pull together a few resources for those hoping to make it a teachable moment (not that schools should only be concerned about environmental education once a year).

First (according to my Google search) is the Earth Day 40th Anniversary Curriculum Unit, courtesy of the Earth Day Network. It introduces a broad history of the environmental movement with resources for a variety of users.

Meanwhile, the Green Education Foundation is promoting a global day of service, with the goal of getting schools and youth groups to plant 10,000 gardens under its “Green Thumb Challenge!” You can access lesson plans, activities, and gardening instructions at the site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a special Web page devoted to Earth Day 2010, which includes a link to suggested lesson plans on climate change, ecosystems, air pollution, and other topics.

PBS Kids! is presenting a new line of eco-friendly episodes on April 22 in its “Share the Earth Day” celebration where families can learn about earth science.

Seventh Generation, a company that makes environmentally friendly home and personal-care products has provided free electronic lesson plans for teachers, including a lesson that allows students to measure the carbon footprint of their families.

I’m sure there’s plenty more out there, but hopefully this is a good start.

Finally, if you just can’t wait two weeks to start celebrating all things green, next week is officially National Environmental Education Week.

And OK, I can’t resist. In case you’re wondering what other issues are now the subject of a national awareness day, week, or month in April, here’s a sampling:

• Youth Sports Safety Month
• Administrative Professionals Day (formerly Secretary’s Day): April 21
• National Playground Safety Week: April 25-30
• National Oral Health Month
• Facial Protection Month
• Consumer Awareness Week: April 19-24.

And that’s only a slice of the April celebrations, according to ePromos.

Oh, by the way. Happy National Window Safety Week (April 4-10).

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.