Earth Day

Earth Day Photo Credit: Clipart.com
This collection of Science NetLinks lessons and resources will help teachers and students prepare for the 48th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. These resources will also help teachers who want to incorporate the holiday's messages of ecology and environmentalism in the classroom year-round.
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  • Animal Diversity

    Animal Diversity

    K-2  |  Interactive
    This lesson about animal diversity will help students understand the difference between actual physical attributes of animals and fictional ones.
  • Investigating Local Ecosystems

    Investigating Local Ecosystems

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson students explore the habitats of local plants and animals to learn about how living things depend on one another.
  • Where in the Wild?

    Where in the Wild?

    K-2  |  Audio
    This students introduces children to the concept of animal camouflage.
  • Just Turn It Off

    Just Turn It Off

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will probe the problem of what happens to a battery-operated flashlight when it is not turned off.
  • Cycle of Life 1: Food Chain

    Cycle of Life 1: Food Chain

    In this lesson, students explore how almost all kinds of animals’ food can be traced back to plants and that the sun is often the ultimate source of energy.
  • Cycle of Life 2: Food Webs

    Cycle of Life 2: Food Webs

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    This lesson helps students understand that some insects depend on dead plant material for food and they interact with other organisms in various ways.
  • Energy Sources and Use

    Energy Sources and Use

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy while comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  • Introducing Biodiversity

    Introducing Biodiversity

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    This lesson introduces students to the amazing variety of life around them.
  • Pond 1: Pond Life

    Pond 1: Pond Life

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    This lesson explores how organisms satisfy their needs within their environments and the relationships that exist between organisms within an environment.
  • Power Up!

    Power Up!

    3-5  |  Interactive
    In this lesson, students compare and contrast different energy sources and the trade-offs of using them.
  • Food Webs in the Bay

    Food Webs in the Bay

    This lesson is a study of the plants that comprise the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) of a bay, as well as the animals that feed on and live in the SAV.
  • Marine Sanctuaries

    Marine Sanctuaries

    In this lesson, students will learn about the national marine sanctuaries found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and off the coast of American Samoa.
  • Renewable Energy Sources

    Renewable Energy Sources

    6-8  |  Website
    In this lesson, students will use Internet resources to investigate renewable sources of energy.
  • Green Roof Design

    Green Roof Design

    In this student-centered learning model, students work collaboratively in small teams to design a heat- and water-conserving “green roof” of plant material for an urban apartment building.
  • Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations

    Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations

    9-12  |  Audio
    This lesson provides an introduction to conservation biology via the memoirs of a scientist who has traveled throughout the world to study and defend endangered species.


  • The Amateur Naturalist

    The Amateur Naturalist

    3-12  |  Website
    This resource discusses The Amateur Naturalist, by Nick Baker, which is full of information to enhance any outdoor learning experience.
  • Biomes of the World

    Biomes of the World

    K-8  |  Website
    The Biomes of the World resource provides information on rainforest, tundra, taiga, desert, temperate, and grassland biomes.
  • Coral Reef Connections

    Coral Reef Connections

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This resource explores Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest structure on Earth built by living organisms.
  • Earth Day Lessons

    Earth Day Lessons

    6-12  |  Interactive
    Earth Day Lessons focus on conservation, ecosystems, ecology, and more and have been tailored to encourage a deeper exploration of different environmental issues.
  • Going Green: An Earth Day Bibliography

    Going Green: An Earth Day Bibliography

    K-12  |  Teaching Aid
    SB&F has put together a list of our top environmental books to help the consumer make informed, eco-friendly choices and to encourage children to take an active role in saving the environment.
  • NASA's Climate Kids

    NASA's Climate Kids

    K-8  |  Video
    NASA's climate change site for kids asks and answers important questions relating to climate change as well as providing entertaining career insights, online games, videos, and hands-on activities.
  • Nowhere to Hide

    Nowhere to Hide

    K-12  |  Interactive
    This interactive is based on the classic story of evolution by natural selection—the story of the peppered moths in England during the Industrial Revolution.
  • What We Know

    What We Know

    9-12  |  Video
    What We Know is an assessment of current climate science and impacts that emphasizes the need to understand and recognize possible high-risk scenarios.
  • YardMap


    K-12  |  Interactive
    YardMap is a free, interactive, citizen science mapping project about habitat creation and low-impact land use.

Science Updates

  • Ascending Plants

    Ascending Plants

    6-12  |  Audio
    As climate change heats up the world's ecosystems, many species of plants and animals, from songbirds to whales, are leaving their time-tested home ecosystems for uncharted territory. This Science Update looks at how some plants are changing altitude to find a cooler place to live.
  • Carbon Emissions

    Carbon Emissions

    6-12  |  Audio
    Carbon gases are prime culprits in global warming. One study suggests we're making even more of them than we thought. You can learn why in this Science Update.
  • Climate and Conflict

    Climate and Conflict

    6-12  |  Audio
    Climate change may precipitate violence, according to a historical analysis.
  • Early Climate Change

    Early Climate Change

    6-12  |  Audio
    Human activities like farming have contributed some amount of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere for ages
  • Fish on Acid

    Fish on Acid

    6-12  |  Audio
    Fish in acidified waters exhibit strange and often reckless behaviors.
  • Fossil Fuel Switch

    Fossil Fuel Switch

    6-12  |  Audio
    Learn about a thirty-year plan to replace 70 percent of our fossil fuels, using only current technologies like storable solar power, safer nuclear plants, and methanol from crop waste.
  • Mountain Rain

    Mountain Rain

    6-12  |  Audio
    This Science Update explores why pollution from cities could dry out nearby mountains.
  • Nitrogen Pollution

    Nitrogen Pollution

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn why human sources of nitrogen may be just as environmentally costly as carbon emissions.
  • Ships to Reefs

    Ships to Reefs

    6-12  |  Audio
    Sinking old warships creates new habitats for marine species.
  • Siberian Permafrost

    Siberian Permafrost

    6-12  |  Audio
    Once the Earth warms to a critical temperature, permafrost in Siberia will melt, releasing massive amounts of carbon.
  • Thoreau's Plants

    Thoreau's Plants

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, hear how researches are using Henry David Thoreau's plant journals to study climate change.
  • Urban Greening

    Urban Greening

    6-12  |  Audio
    Strategically placed grass, ivy, and other greenery can significantly improve air quality in urban centers.


  • Forest Health in a Changing World

    6-12  |  Video
    This video from Science Magazine explores how today's forests have been greatly altered by human activity and face increasing threats from drought, insect infestations, and fire.

AAAS Resources

Adopt a NOAA Drifter for Earth Day
Grade Band: K-12
Description: Learn about a collaborative project that lets classes adopt a NOAA research buoy in this 2012 blog post.

Earth Day: Green Cities
Grade Band: K-12
Description: Celebrate Earth Day by learning about how the world's cities can become more sustainable places in this 2014 blog post.

Top 5 Numbers To Know for Earth Day
Grade Band: K-12
Description: Science NetLinks created this 2015 infographic detailing five important numbers that everyone should know when considering the state of the earth's health.

Other Resources

Earth Day
Grade Band: K-12
Description: This page provides links to the federal government's site for Earth Day and the environment. You'll find podcasts, lesson plans, action items, and a video project.

Earth Day Network
Grade Band: K-12
Description: Earth Day Network is the leading organization advancing Earth Day activities worldwide. It includes an Educator's Network and information about making schools greener.

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    - Kirstin