"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune."After Roosevelt became President in 1901, he used his authority to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the U.S. Forest Service and establishing 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 4 National Game Preserves, 150 National Forests, and 5 National Parks. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land. What a legacy!
If you haven't had time to put together an Earth Day lesson, I have a few resources for you. You might use either my free Bio Poems Made Easy activity or my Character Bio Reports lesson to study a conservation leader, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, or Jane Goodall. You can also find free lessons on my Rainforest Teaching Resources page. Because of the vast amounts of oxygen produced by rain forests, they can be considered the "lungs" of the earth, yet many students have no idea of their importance.
Just a Dream to Save Our Planet Freebie
Have you read Chris Van Allsburg's book, Just a Dream? It was written in 1990, and it's somewhat of a classic with an important message that's still relevant today. Just a Dream is a beautiful picture book about a boy named Walter who imagines an exciting future on Earth - until he has a dream with a series of episodes that take him on an unforgettable adventure. Walter sees what will happen to the Earth if we don't take better care of our planet. What a great introduction to environmental issues and problems! I loved the book so much when I first read it that I created a set of discussion cards and other materials to go with the book. Download it for free from my TpT store.
In addition, I just updated this Green Court Claims lesson from last year to make it Common Core Aligned. It's a wonderful research and writing activity that will make your students think about claims that companies make about their "green" products.
The Story of Stuff
If you are game for a more advanced lesson, I have one that I think you’ll like. It involves showing this free 20-minute Story of Stuff video. This video, created by Annie Leonard, explains where our stuff comes from and the problems faced by our stuff-driven society. Be sure to check out the rest of this website, for more great resources.
I think you will be amazed when you watch this video. To use it with your class, I suggest downloading my free lesson that goes with it. You can grab it from my Science Teaching Resources page. My lesson includes a chart for students to fill in as they watch the video; however, you don’t need to print one out for each student. You can project it on an interactive whiteboard and fill it out as a class. You could also have students draw the chart on recycled paper or draw a huge chart on a chalkboard and fill it in as a class. My Story of Stuff lesson also includes discussion questions and those don't require any paper at all!
In the video, Annie shares that from the extraction of natural resources through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives has a huge impact on the earth as well as communities around the world. However, most of the process of extraction, production, distribution, and consumption to disposal of all this stuff, called the materials economy, is hidden from view.
The Story of Stuff also comes as a book, ebook, or audio book. Of course, the best option for a green lifestyle is the Kindle ebook or the audio book!
I hope you will share this terrific video or the book with others, even if you don't share it with your students. It really makes us all think twice more before we decide to go shopping again.
Happy Earth Day!