Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Whole World in Our Hands

We celebrated Earth Day in our classroom by making a piece of recyclable art and terrariums. Creating and growing are two of our favorite things around here at Simply Sprout, and what better time of year to celebrate them than Earth Day! In our house and classroom we have a scrap paper baskets. My students' goal is to always use the scrap pieces of paper before we get out new construction paper. Their task was to make a mosaic globe, and a piece of paper to mount their art on from the scrap basket. They did a great job! First they cut circles out of paper from the recycling bin. Then we reviewed that they would need their stack of paper to be around 70 percent blue and 30 percent green from the scrap basket. Some children chose to add ice (white) at the polar caps, and different shades to represent a variety of terrain.

After ripping their scraps into tiny pieces, they started gluing. All that I told them was that they would need to cover the entire circle. Once they were finished with their mosiac, they traced their hands on old paper that was left in my classroom almost a decade ago! I pulled out the pastels and they wrote, "I've got the whole world in my hands." On the back side of the artwork, students wrote out Earth friendly habits to share with their families. They brainstormed ideas like turning the lights off, playing outside, picking up litter, taking shorter showers, planting flowers, and much more. So sweet and such a reminder that this generation is going to do great things to cherish our Earth. Later in the afternoon we headed outside to make terrariums. Another wonderful way to honor the Earth is by repurposing soda bottles into mini ecosystems. We filled them with small pebbles to represent bedrock, soil, seeds, organic material, and some students even put living organisms in their terrariums. We have been learning a lot about the living and non-living components of ecosystems. It's important to point out to children that the soil, sunlight, air, and water are vital to any environment. These things make it habitable for the living things like plants and animals.
Engage children by asking them questions like: "Do you think you're terrarium needs water?" "What does your plant need in order to grow?" "How long do you think it will take to see a seed sprout? Have children make a hypothesis, allow them to observe each day, and finally draw conclusions. We left our terrariums in our classroom green house that sits outside our back door, and we're looking forward to checking on the growth inside them. Terrariums also make a wonderful visual for children to see the water cycle in motion. The great thing is that you can continue to add items to your terrarium and see the wonder on child's faces as their mini ecosystem thrives. Get your free printable below for your ecologist at home! Happy Earth Day to our Lil Sprouts!


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