Activities & Lessons

Earth Day Lesson Plans: Teaching About the Environment

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Earth Day Lesson Plans

On Earth Day, which takes place on April 22 every year, we celebrate the environment and express how we can better care for our planet. This can be a perfect opportunity to teach students about sustainable practices in their daily lives, including recycling, and ways that they can make a difference in our world.

Earth Day started in 1970 and marked the launch of the modern environmental movement with 20 million Americans taking to the streets and other public settings to express their concerns over air pollution and related issues. (You can read more about the history of Earth Day here.)

HMH Classroom Libraries offers two Earth Day lesson plans for April—or any time of the year, for that matter—to teach your students about caring for the environment and sustainability.

The first lesson plan below is geared toward kindergarten students. The first few activities listed will require you to give students copies of the book Earth Day by Margaret McNamara—or simply read the book aloud—to help them answer the relevant questions. Then, they can complete the Extension Activities and explore topics such as natural resources, pollution, and recycling. These can be completed without McNamara's book.

This next lesson plan is primarily geared toward fifth graders. The first few activities revolve around the book Composting at School by Josh Gregory, which students can read independently to learn about compost and how it works. They can then complete the additional science and English language arts activities.

We hope you find these lesson plans useful as you celebrate Earth Day! If you have any additional Earth Day lesson ideas to share, tweet us at @LeadAndLearn or email us at


Find more classroom resources and activities on Shaped.

The lessons above originated from HMH Classroom Libraries. Click here to request a science or social studies library teaching sampler with free reading plans and activities.

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