Dig into Earth Day

April 22, 2014

Earth Day is an annual event that raises awareness of the importance of protecting the environment. It is celebrated each year on April 22 in the United States and across much of the world. In some countries, it is celebrated on the day of the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

First celebrated in the U.S. in 1970, the event was instrumental in gaining support for the series of environmental legislation that passed through the U.S. Congress in the 1970s, including the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Endangered Species Act (1973). A global Earth Day was organized in 1990 and observed by some 200 million people in more than 140 countries.

Earth Day’s many activities highlight growing environmental concerns, including Global Warming, the importance of conservation, recycling, reducing consumption, and energy efficiency.

What role do schools play in Earth Day?

Educators are critical in building students’ background knowledge in how science, history, and society relate to Earth Day. In addition to introducing students to key ideas around conservation, ecology, pollution, and environmental protection, the school setting provides students with a forum to ask questions about controversial topics and do research to gain more knowledge. It’s also a chance to expose students to "green" practices.

To celebrate Earth Day, we've created three lessons.

Lesson 1: Why Earth Day?Setting the stage through reading and thinking

Lesson 2: Global WarmingHow does it work and what can we do?

Lesson 3: Teaching Earth DayA partnership