April is Earth Month!

Check out below some STEM resources to bring to your classroom!

  • Discuss the history of Earth Month: Did you know that in January 1969, several witnesses saw a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, which caused major destruction to the environment? Well, this captured the attention of senator Gaylord Nelson who wanted to use students’ passion and energy for anti-war protests for ecological activism, particularly regarding air and water pollution. This idea inspired a group of activists to dedicate themselves to encouraging all Americans to be proactive and environmentally conscious. They named their initiative Earth Day, which immediately caught the attention of the media and since a day isn’t enough to achieve the desired results regarding climate solutions, Earth Month was created. This was first celebrated on April 4, 1970.
  • This is the official Earth Day site! Click HERE and find out more about what you and your students can do to celebrate Earth Month! 
  • Celebrate Biodiversity: Access resources from Science Friday to celebrate biodiversity all month long. 
  • Environmental Justice: Evaluating Zip Codes and Pollution Burdens. Brought to you by Science Fridayin this activity you will use open data sets about environmental exposure and demographics to look for geographic connections between polluting industries, different types of communities, and human health impacts. Then you will explore how communities use the power of data to advocate for accountability and change. Finally, you will take your own action for environmental justice by uniting the power of data with the amplifiers of storytelling and social media.
  • Access this set of readings and resources from NatGeo to bring environmental topics to your classrooms:  
  1. To save caribou, Indigenous people confront difficult choices
  2. ‘It’s now or never’: UN climate report’s 4 urgent takeaways
  3. Mapping Blue Whale Migration Activity. 
  • Our Beautiful Planet is a a series of compelling 5-7 minute science films highlighting the cutting-edge research that climate scientists are doing to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues NSTA, The Climate Initiative, and Kikim Media have partnered to launch these films and this collection of classroom-ready lesson plans that highlight the science and engineering practices scientists use to explain the phenomenon of climate change. Access this fantastic resource HERE
  • 10 Questions with the Father of Environmental Justice. Since 1979, Robert Bullard has studied the disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities of color. He reflects on the past and future of the environmental justice movement. Access the resource HERE
  • Using Crosscutting Concepts to enhance your instructional practice: the crosscutting concepts (CCCs) proposed by the NGSS are a key component of three-dimensional learning, yet many educators and educational leaders remain unclear about their use in science instruction. The CCCs include: patterns; systems and system models; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; structure and function; stability and change. The CCCs are thinking tools that have applications across all sciences (and into other disciplines). Clarity on their instructional use is essential as the CCCs promote integrated understanding and are necessary for a coherent and scientifically based understanding of the universe. Check out this article to bring CCCs to your classroom
  • Looking for a super cool simulation to learn about contrails? Wait! What? Contrails? Click here to learn more about contrails. 
  • One Health Lesson Series: Developed by educators from the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Life Sciences Learning Center, this series of lessons targeting high school level  introduces students to the concept of One Health, the connections among human health, the health of animals, and the health of the environment. The lessons include teacher guides and student handouts for each topic addressed. Three lessons have been adapted as virtual field trip (VFT) experiences. The VFT lessons are designed to be presented asynchronously over a period of five or six 30-minute sessions. Lesson titles include An Outbreak of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (also available as a VFT); Disappearing Bees; Mysterious Case of Brain Illness (also available as a VFT); One Health Puzzle; Mosquito Invasion; Ticks, Biodiversity, and Climate (also available as a VFT); and Can Insects Save the Planet?
  • Teaching About an Almost-Forgotten Form of Transportation: If you read my posts, you know I like to access materials from the Library of Congress (LOC). Click HERE and explore this article from the blog Teaching with the Library of Congress (LOC) as inspiration to investigate a unique mode of transportation and its role in history. Most appropriate for middle and high school levels , the article highlights the use of canals and canal boats, which in the 1800s, before the widespread use of trains, were critically important to American travel, trade, and growth. Share materials from the LOC—such as an engraving of The Canal Boy, H and C Koevoets, N.Y., 1881, along with the film, Down the Old Potomac, Edison Manufacturing, 1917—to give students an idea of how the canal system worked. The materials can serve as a phenomenon in the science classroom, and students’ questions can spark discussion and spur an exploration of forces and friction. 
  • Did you say Podcast? Yes! Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers, a weekly podcast series, introduces students to career opportunities in tree- and conservation-related fields. Developed by science and educational professionals at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, the series celebrates the diversity and potential within plant-related professions. The episodes come with Standards–supported lesson plan, guest profiles, and other bonus content. (Teachers must create a free account and register for the Planted Podcast Bundle to access the supplementary materials.) All three seasons of the podcast are available through the website, as well as on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. 

I hope this is useful! 

Happy Teaching!