Learning about the earth through teaching environmental science in the classroom helps students to become more aware of their environment. It also helps them to understand how important it is to take care of the environment.
The Time is Now
It is never too early to start teaching children about the environment. Very young children begin their life with a curious nature. Stopping to look at every little thing is an innate ability. As children grow up, many lose that natural inquisitiveness and the interest to look at the small things with wonder. Why does this happen?
Part of the reason for this is because children are introduced to toys and “things”. Material objects become more interesting and time spent outside is reduced. The importance shifts to many other things in life and school that take children away from that curiosity. Angela Hanscomb highlighted this in her book Balanced and Barefoot and the difficulties many children face because of this. (affiliate link)
Children need lots of outdoor play and open-ended inquiry in order to begin not only to build physical skills but also to love and appreciate nature. The more we can help children do this, the more they will appreciate the earth and the environment and want to preserve it and help to ensure that we all take care of it for generations to come.
Teaching Students About the Environment
In primary classrooms, we like to keep things simple so that students understand big concepts in simple terms. It’s important that kids learn by doing as that is the best way to ensure that it is learned and remembered. There are a few ways that you can teach students about the environment as part of your everyday teaching. Focussing on the garbage, recycling, reusing lunch containers and keeping the playground clean all play a part in keeping the environment clean.
If you are lucky enough to have nature right in your backyard at school, students can get outside into nature to:
- play and imagine
- touch or feel nature such as leaves
- see shapes in the environment
- investigate habitats, weather and other nature-based science
Important Things Students Need to Know When Learning About the Earth
Some of the more easily understood things that students should learn about that have a big impact are:
- why we should care
- paper use and production
- reusing glass and plastic
- plants and their importance to the environment
- ways even one person can help
I have recently updated a teaching resource The Earth is Yours and Mine and sadly that included changing some stats on such things as how much paper we are using. This resource will help you to teach all the things above using information, hands-on investigations and worksheets to apply the things your students learn. This unit can be used as part of Earth Day activities or plant lifecycle studies.
Students can learn how to make their own paper (with teacher or parent help) and create a rainforest in a jar or a large soda bottle.
It always feels good when we know there are things we can do to help. Students have lots of opportunities to explore this and reflect on some things they can do to help the environment. There is no time better than right now. Click here to see this resource.
For more ideas. check out this previous post and idea for a beautiful Earth Day lapbook.