Earth Day STEM Activity

Monday, April 15, 2019
Earth Day is a great day to celebrate with my students. I try to promote taking care of the Earth on more than just Earth Day. I always enjoy teaching them about conserving energy, not being wasteful and reducing, recycling and reusing materials all year long. Each year, on Earth Day, my school gives out apples to everyone upon arrival and promotes walking or riding bikes to school with their families and friends. The teachers all meet down the street about 10 blocks from the school to meet up with our students so we can all walk together as one big group.

During reading on Earth Day, I always read the book, A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry. This is a book about how the descendants of the Nashua Indians were able to restore the beauty of the Nashua River due to the pollution by the European settlers.
A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History

I always tell my students this is an interactive read aloud because as events happen in the story, we will be making them happen here in the classroom. To prepare, I set up a bin, tub or tank of crystal clear water and put it in front of the classroom where all the children will be able to see it. Then I take small containers and fill them with materials similar to the ones that were dumped in the river by the settlers. For logs I use toothpicks, for fabric I use yarn, for dyes I use food coloring, etc. Sometimes I will make several containers of each material to be sure every student gets to "dump" something in the river. 

As we read through the book our river, like the Nashua, gets more filthy. 

By the end of the book, the descendants of the Native Americans and the European settlers clean the river together and that's exactly what we do. I split the student up into groups and provide them with materials to filter their share of our class Nashua River. Each group gets the same amount of materials. Coffee filters, cotton, paper towels, a funnel, two containers to hold their water and anything else I can scrounge up that day can help them. The class fills out their STEM recording sheets together and we begin. With trial and error they do their best to filter the contaminated water. 

If you would like to get  this activity just in time for Earth Day, click here to visit my TPT shop! If you decide to do this activity with your class, please tag me in any posts on Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to see how it goes. Thanks for stopping by today! 

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