Marking the 45th anniversary, Earth Day 2015 comes during a pivotal time to protect the planet and ensure that world leaders address key issues facing the next generation. The theme this year is It’s Our Turn to Lead and there the time to begin educating our youth about global environmental issues is today.
Knowing that 2015 had also been declared the International Year of Soils, I began to research soil science and ecological sustainability activities to engage my kids in learning about healthy soils.
Utilizing a number of Dover Publications resources, my unit study has come together and I am delighted to share with you lesson plans and resources to celebrate Earth Day as well as incorporate soil science into your curriculum.
~ Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! ~
Earth Science Lessons
As my kids have gotten older and more independent, I am careful to select books that communicate in-depth science concepts in a way that keeps them engaged but are not overwhelming. As our spines for this unit study, I selected Life in a Bucket of Soil and Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth.
The illustrations in both of these texts are simple and clear. I can foresee that we will also be using these as a guide in our own nature journaling assignments.
Life in a Bucket of Soil by Alvin and Virginia Silverstein is a delightful book introducing middle school kids to the many invertebrate critters that inhabit the world beneath our feet. Vivid descriptions of how ants, earthworms, and snails live, breed, and interact will capture their attention.
Detailed instructions on how to build a pitfall trap or the types of webs different spiders spin to capture their prey will inspire students to dig deeper. As they learn about their methods of locomotion, feeding, and defense, students will discover the effect these small critters have on the soil in which they live.
Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth: A First Book About Geology by Herman and Nina Schneider is a wonderful geology text for middle level students. With this well-illustrated book, students will discover fascinating facts about geology. The water you drink, the clothes you wear, and the house you live in are all part of the Earth’s history.
Incorporated throughout the book are numerous hands-on activities. For example, using a small glass bottle with a screw-top lid and a package of dried beans, students are lead to discover the power plants have in breaking rock.
For additional soil science resources and lesson plans, visit my series Year of Soils: Soil Ecology Activities for Middle School.
Recycling Crafts & Hands-on Projects
Families with younger students will love the Dover Publications activity books that provide detailed instructions for crafts that utilize stuff found around the house.
Planet Earth Projects by Okasan Kemarskaya provides a wealth of activity ideas encouraging kids to transform ordinary household items into fun-filled science projects . Some of our favorites are bark rubbings, recycled crayons, starting an herb garden, popcorn decorations, and pine cone bird feeders.
Looking for ways to recycle egg cartons, empty bottles, and other discarded items into glove puppets, model airplanes, a toy robot, and other imaginative projects? Funky Junk: Recycle Rubbish into Art by Gary Kings and Richard Ginger is the perfect resource! It is jam-packed with ideas and includes detailed instructions and pattern templates geared for ages 8 – 11.
Another wonderful activity book is Crafts Around the House by Janet Skiles. It is geared toward children ages 3 to 8 and features easy-to-reproduce patterns and well-illustrated instructions.
Where can you find Dover Publications? Special Discount!
Find each of the titles at the Dover Publications website. Plus for a limited time, you can get 25% off your order. Just use code WHAT through 4/30/15. There are just SO many resources for your homeschool. Be sure to visit Dover Publications and browse their teacher resources section.
Now for the giveaway!
Dover Publications is offering a set of science and Earth Day resources to one Curriculum Choice reader. The set includes:
- Funky Junk
- Rocks, Rivers and the Changing Earth: A First Book About Geology
- Life in a Bucket of Soil
- Planet Earth Projects
- Crafts Around the House
Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The We Were There books intrigue me for history.
Eva Varga says
I haven’t seen the “We Were There” books myself – thank you for bringing them to my attention, Melissa. They look great! 🙂
Deborah B says
My 5 year old told me just yesterday that when she gets big she wants to be a scientist who mixes things. She also has a rock collection. She would love this set.
Julie Quinn says
We love recycling projects. These books would be a great addition to our resources.
Shanon P says
The history books look nice!