4 Earth Day STEM Activities to Challenge Your Students

Earth Day is such a great time to get our students excited about getting creative and connected with nature. That doesn’t mean you have to give up technology or STEM activities though. With some clever Earth Day STEM activities, you can celebrate our awesome planet in creative ways your students will love! Here are my top 4 favorite Earth Day STEM activities.

These Earth Day STEM activities are a great way to get your students to think about ways they can reduce, reuse, and recycle to help our planet while working through design challenges they will love!

1. Recycling Challenge

Use the digital activities to teach your students about the importance of reusing and recycling every day items to create something new and exciting.

Nothing says let’s celebrate Earth Day quite like a recycling challenge. The best part is, not only are your students going to be excited to create something out of recycled materials, but they will also be learning how to repurpose things they would otherwise throw away.

I love using this Earth Day STEM activity in my classroom! It allows me to share the adorable book What to do With a Box by Jane Yolen and Chris Sheban.

It’s a great way to get your kiddos thinking about all the different things they can make with just a simple box. And that’s the whole point of this lesson.

Using either printable handouts or Google Slides, students work through the process of learning about why recycling is so important.

Then they love working through this design thinking challenge to create something using a box and a just few other supplies. I LOVE seeing their creativity kick in as they start transforming a box into something new.

This is an activity I like to have my students work on in a small group. It’s a great way for them to build those important collaboration and communication skills.

I’m pretty sure you will be amazed at what your students create. I know that I always am!

Build a Birdhouse STEM Challenge

Introducing the Challenge

To start this STEM challenge, if the weather is nice, I like to take my classes outside and allow them to observe our local birds. It’s a great opening activity and is the perfect way to introduce the design challenge.

Students are asked to document how many birds they see, and take notes on the types of birds. We record our findings by taking pictures, or writing our observations on whiteboards.

Then I love using the digital slideshow and activities to prepare my students for their upcoming birdhouse challenge. It includes interactive activities like:

  • Recycling video
  • Recycling drag activity
  • Bird nest video
  • Bird questions
  • Task cards
  • Various response sheets
  • 25 Minute timer

It’s a completely immersive way to get my kiddos to explore everything they need to know to make the best possible birdhouse for our little bird friends. Take a peek:

Time to Build

When it is time to start the challenge my students plan out their birdhouse designs and list the materials they are going to use.

Then it is time to get building. Students will work together to go from a design to an actual birdhouse. They love watching this useful project come to life.

To finish off this Earth Day STEM challenge, we head outside and hand our birdhouses. Not only do the students love seeing their projects in the trees, but they watch daily for any signs of birds. I love getting reports over the next few weeks as we watch the birds find their new residence.

If you don’t have trees around the school, you can send the birdhouses home with students or create a super cute spring display for your hallways. With some butcher paper trees and a little creativity from your students, you can create a whole hallway display of spring birdhouses! It’s a great way to show off how creative your students can be with recycled materials too.

Earth Day Digital Scavenger Hunt

This is a fun whole class activity my students love! I like projecting the Google slides on our classroom whiteboard for everyone to see. Then, I give each student a Show What You Found recording sheet.

When it’s time to start the scavenger hunt, I pull up one of the 20 slides with an Earth Day theme and corresponding word. The catch is, the word is missing a letter. Students have to first figure out what the missing letter is, then go find something in the classroom that starts with the same letter.

After finding the object, they record it by writing the word or drawing a simple sketch. With a 2 minute timer on each slide, it’s a fast-paced activity my students get excited about.

Check out this video for a preview of some of the fun slides included in this digital scavenger hunt.

Earth Day STEM Activities Using Robots

If you are looking for ways to use your BeeBot, Sphero, or Robot Mouse in your Earth Day STEM activities, these coding activities are just the thing. Using mats and mazes, students learn the basics of coding using an Earth Day theme.

These cute little robots help students understand how to create a pattern or set of instructions as “code”. The mats and mazes are easy for my kids to use because they use arrows & colors. And . . . it includes items to help build obstacles or mazes for the robots to maneuver through.

To give my students the opportunity for more problem-solving, I use printable task cards and challenges that the robot must complete. Students select a task card and then program the bot to move and complete the challenge.

Earth Day STEM Activities Everyone Will Love

No matter what grade you teach, these activities are sure to be an instant hit in your classroom. You can grab all of these fun Earth Day STEM activities in one awesome bundle!

Pin it!

Be sure to save these fun and challenging Earth Day STEM activities to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. Then come back anytime for fun Earth Day STEM activities for your STEM Lab or elementary classroom.

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