Monday, April 15, 2013

Earth Day: the original STEM PBL


Is there a STEM approach to Earth Day? the approach we tackle in the library is answering the question "What can we (2nd graders, 1st, etc) do to help the Earth every day?"  I don't think there is a more basic PBL question we could ask students anywhere. In recent years some fantastic titles have been published (in every genre but especially highlighting Ecology) and this makes Earth Day insightful and thought provoking in the library.

One of my favorite titles we read this week is The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. I love it particularly because the main character, Liam, makes noticeable changes to the city he loves. This book led to a lively discussion and exploration about rooftop gardens. For kids in almost rural-ish Colorado, the concept of a rooftop garden was novel. It was fun to watch the discussion grow with their comprehension. A quick Google search revealed rooftop gardens that fueled the conversation.

I also love that a quick search at for "Earth Day" resulted in pages of age appropriated lessons and activities for the Mimio Board. LEES kids love the Mimio Board! is an amazing resource if you are not using it already.

Tim and Moby did not disappoint for the older kids, either. provided a glance at the history of Earth Day (Moby, meet Rachel Carson) and posed the same question to kids: what can we do to respect our home? Below are more titles that I am using this week throughout K-5:



The newest book by Victoria Kann, Emeraldlicious, was a surprise Earth homage for the spring. My first graders wanted to know "What happens to our trash after we throw it away?" So glad you asked! The following video is a little long (10:43) but is aimed at kids and through humor and interesting acts kept 6 year old's attention the entire time.