51 Ways to Earth Day | Discovery Education
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To celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, we’ve put together a virtual collection of 51 engaging activities that students, educators, and families can do to make a meaningful difference for our planet. “51 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.


1. Science News for Students: Why Today’s ‘Fast Fashions’ Can Be Bad for the Planet

Grades: 6-12 Did you know the production of certain fabrics, and their dyeing process, create excess waste and pollution, harming the environment? Read this article and identify ways you can change the way you think your clothes.

2. Global Sustainability Challenge: MLB Washington Nationals

Meet Jonathon Stahl, Vice President of Ballpark Operations and Guest Experience for the Washington Nationals. Learn how the Nationals reduce waste at their stadium by providing recycling and composting bins alongside every trash can.

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3. The Phenomena of Polar Bear Migration: A Live Virtual Field Trip to Churchill, Manitoba

Grades: 6-12 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.

4. 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.

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. Conservation Station: “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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. WWF’s 2020 Living Planet Report Youth Edition

Grades: 3-12 Produced by World Wildlife Fund every two years, the Living Planet Report is a health-check for the planet showing how the natural world is doing, what threats it faces and what this means for us humans. Read the report, learn about the 6 steps to recovery, and write down 3 ways you can work to improve the environment in your local community.

10. Global Sustainability Challenge: MLB Boston Red Sox

Meet Jon Lister, Senior Director of the Facility Management Team for the Boston Red Sox. Learn how the Fenway Park staff work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the stadium and divert recyclable items and food waste from landfills. Identify ways you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your school.

11. Career Profile: Senior Quality Engineer

Grades: 6-12 Meet Emmeline D’Angelo, a Senior Quality Engineer at Siemens who addresses and solves quality issues to improve efficiency and product performance for customers. Identify something you use everyday that could be improved and list the changes you’d make.

Grades K-2

12. Fishtronaut: The Case of the Strange Smell

Follow Marina, Zeek, and Fishtronaut as they learn how to compost garbage and help the environment break down natural materials. Then, start your own compost pile.

13. Get to Know Forrest Galante, Wildlife Biologist

Meet Forrest Galante, a wildlife biologist and host on Animal Planet who is passionate about protecting animals. Leanr what you can do to make the world a better place for wildlife.

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14. Girls Get STEM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Discover the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources. 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?

15. 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.

16. Curious Creatures: Polar Bears on the Tundra Virtual Field Trip

GradesL K-5 Take a virtual field trip with Discovery Education and Polar Bears International to harness your curiosity about polar bears. Discover more about these creatures’ anatomy, survival habits, migration, and population density in Canada as well as how COVID-19 impacts polar bear research.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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!

20. 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.

21. 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

22. Take Back the Harbor

Grades: 3-8 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.

23. Expedition Notebook: Ocean Acidification

Grades: 3-12 What is ocean acidification? Learn about this growing threat that could change the very nature of where animals and plants live in the ocean. Make a plan to help protect our oceans by reducing your carbon footprint.

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24. 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.

25. Is Making Fuel from Corn a Good Idea?

Grades: 3-8 Did you know that corn can be turned into fuel? Watch this video and learn the five steps through which corn can be turned into a fuel called ethanol.

26. 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.

27. WWF Wild Classroom: Polar Bears: Climate Trackers

Grades: 3-8 Have you ever wondered how climate change affects polar bears in the Artic? Using this activity from World Wildlife Fund, learn about climate and how the negative effects of climate change are felt all around the world.

28. 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?

29. STRAWS: Plastic Waste and Ocean Pollution

Did you know that billions of nonrecyclable plastic straws litter our streets and wash into the ocean? Watch this video to meet Max and learn about his “No Straw Challenge.” Then, come up with your own way to challenge your family or community to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

30. 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.

31. 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

32. Future U: EcoAction Virtual Field Trip

Grades: 6-12 Join Discovery Education and Boeing on a virtual field trip to investigate the themes of air, land, water, and waste. Learn what you can do to improve the environment as well as how a large company like Boeing is doing its part, too.

33. The Power of Us

Grades: 6-12 Hear from a series of changemakers, both younger and older, who have taken initiative to help mitigate the effects of our planet’s exponential warming. Identify three ways that you can take action in your local environment.

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34. Encyclopedia Womannica: Louisa Atkinson

Grades: 6-12 Meet Louisa Atkinson (1834-1872), an Australian botanist whose many discoveries and illustrations made her a groundbreaking force during the early days of Australia. Next, go on a nature walk and either take pictures or sketch images of three plants you see along the way. Consider how art and photography can connect to sustainability efforts.

35. MLB STEM Career Profile: Head Groundskeeper

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.

36. 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.

37. 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.

38. Expedition Notebook: Mangrove Forests: Important Functions

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.

39. Discover Data: Data Gets Green

Grades: 6-12 Explore the effects of global climate change, increases in natural disasters and extreme weather events, and the depletion of natural resources. Then, collect data from family and friends about which environmental or sustainability issues are of highest priority to them.

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.

41. Science Fair Central: Protecting Our Pollinators

Learn about the ecological importance of species that pollinate flowers, such as birds and insects. Then, design a unique habitat that would attract these pollinators based on their specific needs.

Grades 9-12

42. Earthrise

Hear the story of the image of Earth captured by astronauts Bill Anders, Frank Boreman, and Jim Lovell on the Apollo 8 mission in 1968. Consider how the beauty, awe, and grandeur of Earth against the blackness of space has changed perspectives about the importance of environmental sustainability.

43. Ghost Forest

See why dying forests are one of the starkest indicators of climate change in the world. Think about how marsh encroachment and ghost forests can be directly attributed to rising sea levels.

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44. 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.

45. MLB STEM Career Profile: Director of Ballpark Operations and Sustainability

Watch as the 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.

46. 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.

47. 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.

48. 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.

49. 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.

50. Houston We Have a Podcast: The View from Above

Learn about scientific experiments on the International Space Station. How do scientists use imagery from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to detect patterns on earth over a period of time?

51. Energizing Our World Virtual Field Trip

Meet the team at the Palo Verde Generating Station to learn how nuclear technologies are helping to develop more environmentally favorable electrical power. Make a list of some of the careers that interest you related to technology, data analytics, operations, and sustainability in nuclear power.

Live Events on April 22, 2021

10:00am ET

Save the Ocean with Patrick Dykstra

Meet discovery+’s Chasing Ocean Giants host Patrick Dykstra and learn what inspired him to become an ocean explorer, adventurer and filmmaker, and what we can all do to make the world a better place for wildlife.

12:00pm ET

MLB Green Goes Live!

Don’t miss this live Twitter chat with a Major League Baseball player! Join the team @DiscoveryEd to hear from him and pitch in to the conversation.

1:00pm ET

Learn About Rising Sea Levels with a NASA Scientist

Catch a Q&A session with Dr. Josh Willis, oceanographer and lead scientist for the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) initiative.