EARTH DAY 2020! Celebrating 50 Years!

And here it is! The 50th anniversary of Earth Day!! It wouldn’t be Earth Day without hearing from one of our world’s most famous conservationists, Jane Goodall.

Farmers do more than just plant, grow, and harvest their crops. They must take care of the land their crops grow in, make sure their crops or livestock get the water they need, and protect the wildlife that helps that ecosystem flourish. They must protect their land.

One way farmers are protecting their land is by learning and understanding the chemical, physical, and biological components of soil and what makes it healthy.  Remember-everything in an ecosystem is connected, down to the soil. Check out the Illinois Farm Bureau and their practices on land conservation!

How can we produce crops and protect our natural resources for future generations? By practicing sustainability. Here is how the Illinois Soybean Association is practicing Sustainability.

k-3

Read Aloud: Earth Day Every Day by Lisa Bullard and Xiao Xin

April Showers Bring May Flowers, but what if you could catch the rain to water plants later. Watch this video on how you could use an empty milk jug to collect rain water for later!

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The connectedness of all life on Earth is both beautiful and complex. Test your knowledge with this  Earth Day quiz! https://www.earthday.org/environmental-literacy-quiz/

As you learned in the videos above, farmers not only have to manage their farms but they also have the enormous task of finding ways to take care of their land and practice sustainability. Watch this video to learn more about farming and soil health!

Do you think you could manage a farm sustainably? Find out with this online game. https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/cornucopia/educational-games/?utm_source=WeAreTeachers&utm_campaign=PBSLearningMediaArticleSer&utm_medium=Article3&utm_content=Cornucopia#.Xp9pechKiUm

STEM

Have you ever heard of the word bioplastic? The prefix “bio” means that it comes from a living thing.  Using that prefix, can you create a definition for the term “bioplastic”?

The term “bioplastic” means that the material is a plastic that was made from living things. Make your own bioplastic out of materials that come from corn!

Materials Needed:

  • 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  • 2 drops of corn oil
  • 2 drops of food coloring
  • Resealable sandwich-size plastic baggie

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients into the plastic baggie and seal the bag.
  2. Mix the ingredients by rubbing the outside of the bag with your fingers until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Slightly open the baggie, creating a small vent, and place it in your microwave.
  4. Microwave for 20-15 seconds on high.
  5. Carefully remove the baggie from the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes. 
  6. Now that it is cooled but still warm, take it out o the baggie and create a fun shape!

You can find more resources and information connecting to this activity here

https://www.agclassroom.org/teacher/matrix/lessonplan.cfm?lpid=141

Something for Everyone

Humans aren’t the only ones celebrating Earth Day!  Check out these big cats who think Earth Day is worth celebrating every day!

How can we come together to celebrate Earth Day?! Check out this fun song!

Assessment and Extended Response

K-3

  1. Why is it important for farmers to take care of the soil in their fields? (plants get their nutrients from the components in the soil)
  2. What did the food coloring in the activity represent? (pollution in the soil)

*Bugs and other microorganisms are important for soil health! Can you think of a few reasons why we need bugs?

4-8

  1. What are a few ways farmers are improving soil health? (crop rotation, no-till farming, using diverse plants)
  2. Why should we consider every day Earth Day? (answers will vary)

*Reflect on your farm. Was it easy to manage your farm and make sure it was sustainable? What did you have to do to make it sustainable?

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