50 Ways to Earth Day | Discovery Education
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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we’ve put together a virtual collection of 50 engaging activities that students, educators, and families can do to make a meaningful difference for our planet. “50 Ways to Earth Day” includes live events, videos, challenges, Virtual Field Trips, and fun family activities from Discovery Education’s robust collection of Earth Day content, and features many of our trusted partners. You can choose 1 or do all 50. Every action—big or small—helps to make a difference.

While the majority of these resources are readily accessible from this page, some are only available through Discovery Education Experience. To view all 50 resources and find more exciting content, please fill out the Experience Access Request form today or login.


1. Tundra Connections Virtual Field Trip: Ice Bears in Your Backyard

Take a Virtual Field Trip to the tundra with Polar Bears International to observe real polar bears, meet polar bear scientists, and learn how climate change is threatening polar bears’ survival by melting the sea ice on which they depend. Consider how your family can balance your use of fossil fuels with renewable energy options like solar, wind, and water energy to help protect these bears.

2. Global Sustainability Challenge: MLB Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins want to be the “greenest ballpark in America”! Water conservation, which is critical to our survival, is part of their game plan. Watch this video to learn how the Twins’ rainwater reuse program has helped them reuse more than 19 million gallons of water! Then, work with your team at home to take the Global Sustainability Challenge and come up with a game plan for using less water or collecting and recycling rainwater. You might just change the world!

3. STRAWS: Stopping Plastic Pollution – Community Action

Meet Max Machum, an 11-year-old who started his own “No Straw Challenge” campaign in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, after seeing a video of a sea turtle with a straw in its nose. Consider steps your family can take to stop plastic pollution, like carrying reusable water bottles, cooking more instead of getting take out, and purchasing items secondhand.

4. Global Sustainability Challenge: MLB San Francisco Giants

A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. Watch a video to learn how the San Francisco Giants implemented a recycling program to reduce the carbon footprint of Oracle Park. Then, work with family members to take the Global Sustainability Challenge and design an at-home recycling routine to reduce your carbon footprint.

5. Food Waste: Save Food to Save the Planet

Did you know the average American wastes 20 pounds of food each month? Learn about food waste in the U.S. and consider steps your family can take to limit food waste, like using leftovers in creative ways to create a new recipe.

6. HERBan Gardening

Growing your own food can help reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Using this activity from Home Depot’s Science Fair Central, learn how to design an herb garden small enough to fit on a small patio or balcony that will also be easily taken apart and moved inside as the weather changes.

7. Smart Cities and Smarter Home Blueprints

Take a trip to the Itron Innovation Center to explore how technology powers sustainable solutions to the challenges of modern life. Using what you’ve learned, work to create a blueprint of your living space that highlights ways you can conserve energy and water and help save the planet.

8. Global Sustainability Challenge: MLB Boston Red Sox

Food production and waste has a major impact on the environment. Learn how staff at the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park work to make the park more sustainable by sourcing food from local producers, growing their own food, and reducing food waste. Then, take the Global Sustainability Challenge to become a food waste detective for a day and identify ways you can reduce your food waste.

9. Healthy Oceans: Coral Reefs and Climate Change

How does walking instead of driving help the coral reefs? Learn how burning fossil fuels can bleach and harm coral reefs. Then, list ways your family can help coral reefs by walking instead of driving, volunteering in a local beach or reef cleanup, buying sunscreens with chemicals that don’t harm marine life, or consuming sustainable seafood.

10. Know Your Ocean

Why is the ocean blue? Are there five separate oceans or are they all connected? Is the ocean floor flat? Watch this video to learn the answers to these questions and more! Then, find out if you live in a watershed area that leads to an ocean and explore ways that you can reduce pollutants that harm our largest bodies of water.

Project C.A.T. logo

Project C.A.T., Conserving Acres for Tigers, is part of a worldwide effort to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. By conserving nearly six million acres of protected land, this collaboration aims to ensure a healthy habitat for future generations of tigers.

Grades K-2

11. Earth to Luna! Recycling

Join Luna, Clyde, and Jupiter as they learn how to recycle plastic and follow the production line in a recycling plant. Learn why recycling is so important and how to know what can be recycled. Then, make a sign for your home or classroom to remind everyone to recycle.

12. STEM Careers: Natasha Nicholes

Meet Natasha Nicholes, who built a community garden in Chicago to help community members grow their own food and have a place to say hello to each other. Pick one food you would want to grow and work with family members to design a garden where you can grow it!

13. Animal Cams: Penguins, Chicks, and Snakes

Animals are our friends! Visit these animal cams and watch a chick explore its habitat. Observe how a snake’s backbone and small ribs allow it to slither. See penguins glide through water as they hunt for prey. Identify an endangered species in your region and find a way to help protect it.

14. Discovery Science Alliance: Earth’s Water

Watch a music video about the different forms and sources of water on our planet, including Earth’s five oceans. Consider why it’s important to keep our water clean and make a plan to preserve clean water by using less each day.

15. Girls Get STEM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Discover the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources with this video from Girl Scouts of the USA. Then, think about how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle to protect the planet. Pick one item each week that you will reuse instead of throwing away. How many items can you reuse in a month? Also available in Spanish.

16. Back to Polar Bear Basics: Virtual Field Trip

Take a Virtual Field Trip to learn why the sea ice on which polar bears depend is disappearing. Consider simple steps you can take to make a positive impact on the lives of polar bears. Make a commitment to take action.

17. WWF Wild Classroom: Monarch Butterflies – Don’t Treat Soil Like Dirt

Conduct an experiment to analyze the relationship between soil health and grass growth and talk with family members about why we should protect grasslands. Determine how you can help protect grasslands in your area or elsewhere in the U.S.

18. Science of Soil Virtual Field Trip: Different Types of Soil

Did you know there are more than 75,000 types of soil in the U.S.? Take a Virtual Field Trip to learn how the amount of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter changes soil composition and capacity for plant growth. Then, get outside and dig up some soil to see if your soil is more like New Mexico’s, Iowa’s, or Alaska’s!

19. Studio Board: Impact on the Environment: Ocean Pollution

Watch two videos to learn about the impact humans are having on Earth’s oceans. Then, make a plan to help protect marine ecosystems around the world by using less plastic and producing less trash overall.

20. The Fixies: Paper

Join Tom Thomas as he learns how and why humans can harm Earth’s resources by extracting oils, cutting down trees, and polluting the air and water. Then, make a list of ways you can help protect the environment by reducing your use of water and paper.

Grades 3-5

21. Celebrate with DE: Earth Day

Who started Earth Day and how many countries celebrate it? Learn about the history of this holiday and discover how different countries inspire environmental activism. Design your own project to honor and protect our planet and inspire others to do the same.

22. Girls Get STEM: Unleash Your Inner Citizen Scientist Virtual Field Trip

Join Girl Scouts of the USA in meeting young people who are using STEM skills to contribute to science projects across the country as citizen scientists. Learn how students can use the scientific method to create a positive difference in their communities and the world. Find a citizen science project that interests you and get involved. Also available in Spanish.

23. Tundra Connections Virtual Field Trip: Polar Bear Adaptations

Do polar bears really have white fur? Learn all about the unique adaptations that help polar bears survive and thrive in the Arctic tundra.

24. Tech for Tomorrow: Creating a Digital Ecosystem

Learn about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and how technology helps us better understand humans’ impact on the planet. Design an idea for an app to bring communities together and share data to help protect our environment.

25. Guy Harvey Expedition Notebook: Caribbean Reef Shark

Learn about the Caribbean reef shark, one of the most commonly encountered sharks on tropical Atlantic coral reefs. Learn how and why countries are working to protect these critical predators. Visit the World Wildlife Foundation site to learn why we need to protect sharks and simple actions you can take to help.

26. Discovery Science Alliance: Conserving Water

Learn why it’s important to conserve fresh water and what people can do to limit their water use. Consider how your life would change if you had to live on just 2 liters of water a day. Then, make a plan to cut down on how much water you use each day. Can you take shorter showers and turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth?

27. STRAWS: Plastic Waste and Pollution

Did you know that billions of nonrecyclable plastic straws litter our streets and wash into the ocean? Follow a team of researchers as they estimate how much plastic waste goes into oceans annually. Then, come up with your own way to challenge your family or community to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

28. STEM Careers: Becky Barack

Meet an ecologist from the Chicago Botanic Garden whose love of plants and the natural world led to her career. After watching the video, spend time observing the natural world and try to identify any invasive species in your area threatening native wildlife.

29. Home Planet: Climate Change

Learn what climate change is and how human activity is contributing to global warming, which affects weather patterns and threatens animal and human communities. Then, commit to doing one idea shared in the video to reduce your carbon footprint.

30. Studio Board: Recycling/Sustainability Reusing

Grab a partner and play Tic-Tac-Toe as you learn how to recycle and reuse materials like glass, paper, and plastic.

Grades 6-8

31. MLB STEM Careers: Nicole Sherry

Learn how the head groundskeeper of the Baltimore Orioles uses science and technology to care for the ball field and make game-day decisions. Find and share with others a way to make lawn care in your community more sustainable.

32. Smart Cities Virtual Field Trip

Take a Virtual Field Trip to Itron to learn how one company is developing technology to help cities manage water and energy more efficiently. Discover how cities can use software to manage resources, recover from natural disasters, and minimize pollution. Explore a range of STEM careers related to technology, engineering, city planning, and sustainability. Design a smart city that uses technology to boost sustainability.

33. Inside the World of 3M Virtual Field Trip: Solar Panels

Meet a polymer scientist and follow along as he explains how he uses different films to make photovoltaic cells produce more electricity. Research ways that your community is capturing solar energy in an effort to utilize sustainable energy sources.

34. Sea of Change: Repairing the Barrier Reef System

Climate change threatens coral reefs by increasing surface water temperatures and acidification of our oceans. Learn how scientists are growing diverse corals in nurseries to repopulate reefs and list at least three ways that you are dependent on coral reefs.

35. Guy Harvey Expedition Notebook: Mangrove Function

Do you know why mangrove forests are called the “unsung superheroes of a coastal environment”? Learn how mangrove forests protect shorelines, keep reefs healthy, and provide habitats for birds, fish, oysters, crabs, and other marine life.

36. Earth Hour 30 Day Challenge

Take the 30 Day Challenge and do one thing every day to help protect the environment. Participate in Meatless Mondays, turn off the lights, switch to eco-friendly cleaning supplies, or carry your own water bottle. All of these simple acts can decrease your carbon footprint and conserve Earth’s precious resources.

37. Creating a Water Conscious Meal

Discover how our food choices affect water availability on Earth with this activity from Itron’s Conservation Station. Recognize that some foods require a lot more water to produce than others. Then, design a balanced, nutritious menu that uses minimal amounts of water.

38. Back to Polar Bear Basics: Middle/High School

Take a Virtual Field Trip to the Arctic to meet two scientists and learn how polar bears are studied. Discover how climate change is threatening polar bears’ survival and find a way to help protect the species.

39. Take Back the Harbor

Learn how pollution has damaged New York Harbor’s marine life and how students and scientists are restoring the oyster population and bringing back other wildlife. Identify one way you can support native wildlife in your community.

40. Studio Board: Earth Systems – Deforestation and Extinction

Learn how human activities have led to changes in animal populations and ecosystems and about the negative and permanent impact of deforestation. Then, work with a friend or family member to “Table Top Text” about what you’ve learned and come up with one way social media could be used to help protect the planet.

Grades 9-12

41. CheddarK-12 Explains: Is the Anti-Straw Movement As Forward As It Seems?

The patent for the paper straw was created in 1888. After WWII, the straw went from paper to plastic. Today, the plastic straw is being replaced by more sustainable materials as a small step to help the environment. Watch the video to learn why the straw is the center for this new movement and then use materials from your home or community to create a prototpe of a sustainable straw.

42. Start with One Thing: Racing Extinction Virtual Field Trip

Embark on an inspirational journey from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to explore the science behind anthropogenic mass extinction. Learn about conservationists dedicating their lives to saving species and transforming communities along the way. From whale sharks, to golden lion tamarins, to scarlet macaws—you will get an insider’s view of cutting-edge conservation efforts, and in the process, realize their potential to make a difference.

43. MLB STEM Careers: Paul Hanlon

Watch as the Senior Director of Ballpark Operations and Sustainability describes Major League Baseball’s efforts to promote sustainability. Research how your favorite baseball team or other sports team is finding ways to reduce its environmental impact.

44. BESE Explains: The Climate Gap with Zoe Saldana

Watch this video to learn how climate change impacts some communities differently and why the “climate gap” is getting wider. Then, come up with a way you can volunteer in your community to make the planet safer for everyone.

45. Science in Progress: Impacts of Global Warming

Evaluate the impact of Earth’s warming temperature and predict how global warming will affect the world’s future populations.

46. Healthy Oceans: Solutions to Human Impacts

Find out what scientists, governments, and citizens are doing to protect our oceans from invasive species and nutrient pollution. Then, investigate climate-friendly policies and learn how you can use your voice to create positive change.

47. Tundra Connections Virtual Field Trip: Cold Careers: Working with Polar Bears

Discover how scientists use technology to expand our knowledge about polar bears, understand climate change impacts, and promote wildlife conservation. Research career opportunities that connect conservation to a field of interest.

48. Green Revolution: Green Roofs

Learn how plants can help buildings save on energy costs, reduce pollution, and increase energy flow by being planted on roofs. Then, research and implement one way you can use plants and trees to reduce your home’s energy costs and your impact on the environment.

49. Racing Extinction

Watch Discovery Channel’s “Racing Extinction” to investigate how artists and activists are using creativity, technology, and advocacy to bring attention to endangered species facing possible extinction. Then, choose a creative platform or approach to raise awareness about an endangered species in your region.

50. Studio Board: Nature Photographer STEM Career Challenge

Are you looking for a way to change the world and use creativity to share your message? Learn all about the exciting career of a nature photographer and then take this STEM Career Challenge to take pictures that tell a story.

Live Events on April 22, 2020

Access archives of our live Earth Day events through the links below!

10:00am EST

You Can Protect the Animals with Animal Planet’s Forrest Galante

This event will be a world premiere of special message and video from Animal Planet’s “Extinct or Alive” host Forrest Galante, who will share with students what it’s like to be a wildlife biologist, why he’s so passionate about protecting animals, and some simple things they can do to make the world a better place for wildlife.

11:00am EST

A Live Earth Day Visit with Polar Bears (Elementary School Edition)

During this event, students will learn all about polar bears, including top ten facts and some simple actions people can take to have a positive impact on our planet. Then, participants will meet a polar bear cub.

1:00pm EST

LIVE Twitter Chat with Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Brent Suter

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brent Suter will participate in an engaging LIVE Twitter Chat on @DiscoveryEducation to discuss his passion for sustainability and reinforce the importance of caring for the environment. Suter graduated from Harvard University with a dual Environmental Science and Public Policy degree in 2012.

2:00pm EST

A Live Earth Day Visit with Polar Bears (Secondary School Edition)

Secondary school students will dive into the world of polar bears and how to help protect habitats. Participants will then discover some little known facts about polar bears and visit a polar bear cub.