Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day: Part 1

With Earth Day this past Sunday, our main focus last week was on tangible ways we can all help take care of our planet every day, not just on Earth Day.  So, similar to what I have done in previous years, I brought out my reusable grocery bag containing everyday items we use and more earth-friendly alternatives.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of this bag of goodies, but I did not.

Here is a list of what was inside:
* plastic baggie (ziploc type)... reusable plastic container
* paper lunch bag... reusable lunch box
* roll of paper towels... cloth dish towel
* plastic water bottle... reusable water bottle
* plastic grocery bag... reusable grocery bag
* traditional light bulb... florescent light bulb

After I presented each set of items, I reminded the kids about what happens to garbage that we throw away in a garbage can.  In other words:
1) throw garbage in the garbage can
2) bring garbage can to the curb
3) garbage truck picks up garbage
4) garbage truck brings garbage to the garbage dump (pointing out that a garbage dump is on the earth)
5) garbage at the dump makes our earth dirty

Of course, the light bulbs were the one exception to all of the other items.  In this case I explained to the kids that traditional light bulbs use lots of electricity.  That electricity is made mainly from burning coal.  And that burning coal puts lots of yucky stuff into the air we breath and makes our earth dirty.  On the other hand, the florescent bulb uses much less electricity - which uses less coal and therefore does not make the air we breath and our earth as dirty as the traditional light bulb.  And, as an added bonus, since florescent bulbs use less electricity, they also cost less to use!

In addition to our discussions of tangible ways we can help keep our earth clean, we also had some really cool earth-friendly projects!  In the 4's class we made earth crayons out of old blue & green crayons.  And, in the 3's class we made cookie cutter shapes out of recycled paper from a paper shredder and coffee filter earths.

4's Class: Recycled Earth Crayons:

First, the kids sorted out all of the green and blue crayons from the box of old crayons we had in the classroom.  I set this up as a work for whoever wanted to participate.
Then, we soaked the crayons in water and peeled off the paper wrappers.  We started this work inside, but the kids were so into it we brought it outside during our play time!
Next, the kids broke the crayons into small pieces and put them into a small muffin tin.
Here are the crayons in the muffin tin.
Then we put the muffin tin in my toaster oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes - we do not have access to an oven at our school...
Here are a few of the kids watching the crayons melt in the toaster oven!
Here are some of the finished Recycled Earth Crayons!  I think they turned out pretty neat!

3's Class Recycled Paper Cookie Cutter Shapes:

We started with some shredded paper that my mom gave me from her office at work and soaked it in water.  I made a flour and water paste, split the paste into four equal parts, added a different color food coloring (because the paper was almost all white) to each bowl of paste, and then mixed the paste with the wet, shredded paper. 

The kids chose a cookie cutter shape and a color of the shredded paper and paste mixture.  Then they pressed the shredded paper and paste mixture into the cookie cuter shape, removed the cookie cutter, and let the shape dry for a couple days on a piece of wax paper.
Here are some of the finished Recycled Paper Cookie Cutter Shapes!  Pretty cute, huh!
Well, that's it for today!  Keep an eye out for more posts this week about our Earth Day fun!  And, for more great ideas, check out my Facebook page, also called Lesson Pans to Pots and Pans!

I'm linking up with Montessori Monday via Living Montessori Now!

Montessori Monday


  1. I love your recycled Earth crayons! They turned out great! I pinned it:

    I also love the goody bag idea! I would've added cloth and plastic diapers to the list.

    I still have a hard time with CFLs, though. I understand the electricity and cost benefits, but I'm concerned about the mercury inside of them. Our son dropped one and shattered it. When I called our pediatrician to ask if I should be concerned about our son's exposure to mercury, he recommended we call the fire department to send out the haz-mat team to clean up the light bulb. We stopped using CFLs in our house after that experience.

  2. Thanks, Eryn!

    I was interested to look into the concern you have with CFL's, so I googled it and I found this interesting article: