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Interesting Middle School Earth Day Lesson

Help students learn about Earth Day with these engaging middle school Earth Day lessons.

It can be difficult to find a middle school Earth Day lesson. Each year, Earth Day is an important day to remind students of the impact their daily choices have on the planet. Many students do not know the history of Earth Day or its significance. 

Use the resources in the article below and the middle school Earth Day lesson to help students gain insight into this important day and think about their habits and how they affect the Earth.

What is Earth Day, and why is it important?

Earth Day was created in 1970 after U.S. Senator Nelson witnessed the oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. This event inspired him to create a movement that would spread environmental awareness. 

In 1970, April 22 was announced as the first official Earth Day, a day to bring environmental awareness to the world and take action toward a sustainable future. The event that year brought people from different areas of the country together to spread an environmental awareness message.

By the end of that year, many other environmental agencies had been created to take care of and monitor the Earth. To this day, the Earth Day Network actively works on campaigns to better the environment. 

Each year, there is a theme for Earth Day. In 2020, the 50th anniversary of the event, the theme was “Climate Action,” and in 2021, the theme was “Restore Our Earth.” In 2023, the theme of “Invest in Our Planet” continues; this theme is the same as the one for 2022, and as it was so successful, it will be continued. 

Middle School Earth Day Lesson

Earth Day is an important day each year to remind students of the impact their daily choices have on the planet.  Many students do not know the history of Earth Day or its significance. Use this middle school Earth Day lesson to help students gain insight into this important day as well as think about their habits.

When I want to bring awareness to holidays, important days, or significant events, I always start with a quick video and then high-interest non-fiction reading. Starting with a quick video will catch students’ attention and activate any prior knowledge they may have about the topic. Non-fiction articles are a great way to build students’ interest and background knowledge (schema) about a topic.

When learning about important days, I do not try to have students replicate cultures, events or symbols through crafts or games in order to avoid cultural appropriation.

Middle School Earth Day Lesson

  1. Watch a short video about Earth Day.
  2. Complete a pre-reading activity like a K-W-L chart.
  3. Have students read a non-fiction article about Earth Day.
  4. Students will work on their non-fiction reading comprehension skills with short answer questions and a multiple-choice quiz.
  5. Have students work on a long answer critical thinking writing prompt like “What are some daily habits you can change to improve the environment? e.g. walk or bike to school, pack a litterless lunch.”
  6. Students can share their ideas post-writing with the class through a class discussion. Class discussions can take place in person or through digital means like Flipgrid, Zoom, Google Meet or by having students record their ideas using Online Voice Recorder and uploading them to Google Classroom or another school system.

Want a No-Prep Middle School Earth Day Lesson?

Middle School Earth Day LesonThis Earth Day Non-Fiction Article is a great start to bringing awareness of the day to your students and to your middle school Earth Day lessons.  This resource contains 1 non-fiction article and 3 post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension, standardized test prep, and cross-curricular learning. This middle school Earth Day lesson contains print and digital versions of the lesson as well as an audio file of the article. Use this engaging lesson plan to help your students develop a deeper appreciation for this important day. 

Resource Includes:

  • Teacher lesson plan
  • Pre-reading K-W-L chart
  • Non-fiction article (modified and regular texts)
  • Mp3 of each article
  • 3 Post-reading activities: comprehension questions, grammar questions (2 options: paper and self-grading Google Forms), long answer writing response
  • Individual PDFs of student pages to assist with online learning, i.e. Google Classroom
  • Google Slides formatted lessons for 1:1 schools

What teachers are saying about this middle school Earth Day lesson:

“This was a fantastic resource! Very well made and was exactly what I was looking for! The students were very engaged! Thank you so much for all of your hard work! Definitely happy with my purchase and plan to use it again next year!” – mggs88

You can find the Earth Day Non-Fiction Article on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD

Environmental Awareness Learning Extension Activities

Earth Day and the weeks surrounding it is a great time to provide lessons on sustainable practices, weather and climate change, as well as waste in the world. These sub-plans and podcast lessons have many topics that can be related to Earth Day and would work well with your middle school Earth Day lessons.

Sub Plans and Learning Extension Activities

Podcast Listening Comprehension Lessons

  • Is it more sustainable to buy new products when old ones break down, or should they be repaired? Talk about the Right to Repair in this lesson.
  • Is it more environmentally friendly to have new QR code menus in restaurants rather than printed menus? Discuss the latest trend of having QR Code Restaurant Menus and see what your students think.
  • How much waste is made with donation bins? See if your students know where all the donated items in Donation Bins go and if people are saving the environment with their donations.

Earth Day Digital Escape Room

This Earth Day Digital Escape Room allows students to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 Earth-themed challenges. Students must solve the required challenges to "escape" the school storage shed they accidentally got locked in.

An addition to your middle school Earth Day lesson is celebrating Earth Day with an interactive twist! This Earth Day Digital Escape Room offers 10 Earth-themed challenges, fostering independent or group problem-solving. Students tackle puzzles to “unlock” and escape from the school storage shed they accidentally find themselves in. Your students will be challenged and engaged by applying reading, listening, and eco-knowledge.

Tailored for 6th to 8th graders, this activity promotes community and social-emotional learning and takes just 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on your students.

You can find the Earth Day Digital Escape Room on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.

Picture Books About Earth Day

There are so many great books about Earth Day available that are perfect for a middle school Earth Day lesson that it’s hard to narrow them down to a small selection. Here are some books about Earth Day your students might enjoy: 

Greta and the Giants By Zoe Tucker

When the Giants move into Greta’s beautiful forest home, they start to cut down trees, and Greta knows she needs to save the forest, as well as the animals living in it. 

Here We Are: Notes For The Living On Planet Earth By Oliver Jeffers

With Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful illustrations, this book captures the beauty of planet Earth and is a kind of handbook for how we can take care of it. It is a beautiful addition to your middle school Earth Day lesson. 

One Earth By Eileen Spinelli

This book is a great way for kids to realize the beauty of the Earth, as well as learn ways they can preserve and protect it. 

We Are Water Protectors By Carole Lindstrom

This gorgeously illustrated book was inspired by the Indigenous-led movements across the country to save the water. It will show students how they can take a stand and protect one of the most important resources on the planet.

Additional Earth Day Videos and Related Articles

Videos

Articles

I hope you can use these middle school Earth Day lesson ideas with your students.

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