Earth Day 2016 is on Friday. As I’ve done in the past, I’ve compiled a list of resources for teaching about Earth Day and environmental science in general.
As was featured yesterday, Discovery Education offers a nice set of resources for teaching about the world’s coral reefs and biodiversity of the oceans. Expedition Earth Day is a free set of resources for teaching students about the world’s coral reefs. A 30 minute is the central aspect around which the lessons are designed. Through Expedition Earth Day students can learn about the biodiversity of oceans, ocean biodiversity preservation efforts, and threats to fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Students will also learn about the differences between coral reefs in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
EcoKids is a Canadian organization that provides free resources for teaching and learning about topics in environmental science. The resources designed for teachers require registration, but the resources for students can be accessed without registration. The games and activities section for kids offers dozens of online games across eight categories. Within each of the eight categories the games and activities are again categorized according to age appropriateness. The eight games and activities categories are: wildlife, climate change, energy, water, waste, land use, the North, and First Nations & Inuit.
How Much Have We Polluted? is an interactive heat map that displays the per capita and yearly total of CO2 emissions for individual countries. The map contains data dating back to 1960. Move the time slider to the heat map change. You can use the map to compare the emissions of two countries year-by-year.
Storyboard That’s Earth Day Activities page offers eleven lesson plan ideas appropriate for elementary school and middle school classrooms. Some of the featured plans on Storyboard That’s Earth Day Activity page include creating “cool Earth facts” storyboards, creating comics about how to help the Earth, and creating public service announcements about pollution and pollution prevention.
NOAA View is a project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On NOAA View you can explore visualizations of data sets in the categories of Ocean, Land, Atmosphere, Cryosphere, and Climate. Each category has multiple subsets of data from which to choose. The data sets can be displayed in weekly, monthly, and yearly units. A basic explanation of each data set is available.
Glacier Works is a non-profit organization studying the shrinking glaciers of the Himalaya and the impact of glacier melt on the people of the region. One of the neat features of the Glacier Works website is the panoramic before and after images. The panoramas show images of the glaciers from the 1920’s side-by-side with recent images. You can quickly compare the two views by sliding your cursor across the panoramas.
Dangers of Fracking is a beautifully designed site that tells the story of the dangers of fracking. As you scroll down the page, you learn more about the fracking process. The story starts out with a definition of fracking before moving to explaining the raw materials that have to be trucked to the fracking site. After the raw materials arrive the story takes us underground to frack and the dangers associated with the process.
ARMAP is a comprehensive resource of interactive, online maps of Arctic research. ARMAP’s resources include files for use in Google Earth as well as ArcGIS explorer. You can also access 2D maps directly on the ARMAP website. ARMAP provides map layers and placemarks about a wide range of topics related to Arctic research. Before opening the general ARMAP map, visit the map gallery for a primer on the type of resources that can found on ARMAP. You should also check out the links section of ARMAP to visit the sources of much of the ARMAP content.
The Earth Day Network is a good place to start your search for Earth Day information. The Earth Day Network offers nine lesson plans about preserving the environment. This year the Earth Day Network is looking for people to share stories of climate change by uploading pictures that represent “the faces of climate change.”
National Geographic has some other great resources for learning about environmental science and Earth Day. On the National Geographic website students can learn about the Green House Effect through an interactive lesson. After learning about global warming in the Green House Effect interactive lesson, students can learn about alternative energy through the Wind Power interactive lesson.
Breathing Earth is an interactive map demonstrating CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates globally and by individual countries. From the moment that you first visit Breathing Earth it starts counting the number of births occurring worldwide. Placing your cursor over any country on the map reveals information about birthrate, death rate, and rate of CO2 emissions. One of the additional resources linked to Breathing Earth is an ecological footprint calculator. Using this calculator students can calculate their personal footprints, take quizzes, and learn about the ecological footprints of various businesses.
Google offers tours in its Explore Climate Change series. The tours explore the actions of organizations to prevent or adapt to climate change in different parts of the world. These tours include the World Wildlife Foundation’s efforts in the peatland swamps of Borneo, Greenpeace’s actions to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, and Conservation International’s efforts to reduce deforestation in Madagascar. The tours can be viewed three ways, in Google Earth, in the Google Browser plug-in, or through YouTube.