This lesson, perfect for first and second grade learners, will help kids become environmental activists as they think of ways to help the Earth! First, students will brainstorm examples of what it means to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Next, students will partake in a creative art project where they trace their hands and think of way ways they can give the planet a hand. This engaging activity integrates creative writing skills and Earth science.
Students will be able to participate in collaborative discussions with their peers.
Students will be able to recall information from experiences or gather information to answer a question.
Gather the students together in a large circle.
Place a globe or a map in the center of the circle.
Explain to the students that today they will be exploring ways they can keep the Earth healthy and happy.
Explain to them that although people know it's important to keep the Earth healthy and happy, many people still hurt the Earth without even knowing it.
Explain to the students that you are going to have a sharing circle. In the sharing circle each student will share his thought with the classroom. Start by saying: People hurt the Earth by _____. Ideas include: polluting the land, polluting the water, littering, buying too many things, using too much plastic, using too much energy, cutting down trees, etc.
Define tricky or unfamiliar words for students in student friendly language (e.g. pollution).
Allow the students sufficient time to share their ideas.
If a student struggles to think of an idea, help them brainstorm by asking prompting questions, or allowing them time to research ideas online or in classroom books.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling
Ask students to head back to their seats.
Tape up the large piece of paper on the whiteboard.
Make three columns on the paper. Write the words Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse on the top of each column.
Ask the students what the word reduce means. Allow students to share a few ideas, and make sure students understand that reduce means to make something smaller, or less in amount. Explain to the students that when we reduce the amount of water we use, trash we make, or the pollution in the air, that we are helping the Earth.
Under the word Reduce, write a few examples of how people can reduce. Examples include: I can take shorter showers, I can use less plastic, I can ride my bike to school, and I can turn off the lights when I’m not using them.
Ask the students what the word recycle means. Remind them that recycling is a process that changes waste to useful materials. Explain to the students that some paper, glass, cardboard, tin cans, and plastics can be recycled.
Under the word Recycle, write a few examples of how people can recycle. Examples include: I can keep a recycle bin in my classroom, I can recycle my bottles, and I can recycle at my house.
Ask the students what the word reuse means. Allow students to share a few ideas and make sure students understand that reusing is a process where someone reuses an item that has already belonged to someone else or was used in a different way.
Under the word Reuse, write a few examples of how people can reuse. Examples include: I can give my toys to someone else, I can give my clothing to someone else, I can make art out of used items, and I can use old glass bottles to hold pens and pencils.
Explain to the students that today they will have a chance to give the planet a hand!
Get out one of the white pieces of construction paper.
Stretch out your hand on the paper and trace your hand on the construction paper with a pencil. Next, go over the hand with a permanent marker.
Explain to the students that they will need to come up with five ways they can help the planet and write them on each finger.
Ask a student to come up with a way they can help the Earth.
Write down their idea on one of the fingers.
Continue this process until each of the fingers has a sentence written in it.
Explain to the students that when they are finished with their ideas, they can draw pictures and decorate their traced hands.
Independent working time
Pass out the white construction paper, pencils, and coloring materials.
Allow the students to get started.
Rotate around and assist students who need help tracing their hands.
Encourage students to look up at the chart in front of the classroom as a reference.