Virtual Earth Day curriculum ideas

For 50 years, schools and communities across the country have celebrated Earth Day, holding educational events, clean-up projects and other activities to help kids learn about the planet and ways to protect it. But this year’s Earth Day school celebrations face a unique challenge. We pulled together a set resources that teachers can use in their virtual classrooms.

Megan Severson

Even though we are apart, there are many ways teachers can celebrate Earth Day with their students this year!

For five decades, schools and communities across the country have celebrated Earth Day, holding educational events, clean-up projects and other activities to help kids learn about the planet and ways to protect it. While schools across the country undoubtedly had big Earth Day celebrations planned for this year’s special 50th anniversary, educators are instead faced with a unique challenge. With most U.S. schools closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, teachers and students in all grade levels must adapt to the world of virtual learning. 

Environment America wants to support teachers as they prepare their lesson plans for Earth Day. To that end, we’ve pulled together a set resources that can be used in virtual classrooms. 

Video presentations teachers can share with their students

Our Wisconsin state director, Megan Severson, shares a history of Earth Day, and describes an activity suitable for the whole class. The video is followed by a set of discussion questions for the class. There are videos for grades kindergarten to third; grades fourth to sixth; and grades seventh to 12th:

Grades K-3: Making a self-portrait out of foraged materials

Discussion questions

Grades 4-6: Making a bag out of an old t-shirt

Discussion questions

Grades 7-12: Conducting a home energy audit

Discussion questions

Nifty Fifty Activities for Earth Day’s 50th Birthday

In honor of Earth Day’s 50th birthday, we put together a “Nifty Fifty” list of environmental activities kids can do at home. Each activity includes links to activity descriptions. Share the list with your students and ask which ones they would like to do.

The list, which links to further information on subjects throughout is broken down into six different areas: Learn about solutions to climate change; learn about ways to reduce waste; learn about plants; learn about waterways, parks and conservation; learn about and protect birds, bees and other wildlife; and create a healthier home and community.

Activities range from making your own solar oven from a pizza box to creating a bird feeder out of an apple, peanut butter and birdseed. Educational opportunities vary from calculating your family’s carbon footprint to taking a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park.

Curriculum ideas on plastic pollution and energy use in the home

Teachers can download additional educational resources from Environment America. 

Green Kids videos

Sometimes learning can be self-guided. For kids at home around the country, making their own videos is a good way for them to nurture self-reliance and creativity. You can watch some examples on our YouTube playlist. For students who want to share their work, demonstrating how to do some of the Nifty Fifty activities and other environmentally friendly tasks is a great opportunity!

Games and other resources

Connect with us on social media

Document all the environmental activities you’re doing at home and share your pictures and stories with us. If you post to social media, make sure to tag Environment America.

Facebook: Environment America | Twitter: @EnvAm | Instagram: enviroam

Share your results with us!

#EarthDayBirthday #NiftyFifty #GreenerTogether


Megan Severson

boreal forest
Tim Rains / NPS | Public Domain

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