These investigations are virtual adaptations of the FoodPrints Curriculum

Celebrating Earth Month

Investigation Description:
Explain that during the month of April there is a special day called Earth Day, which is a day to celebrate our planet and all of the things on it. Introduce the idea of natural resources: things that come from the Earth that we use.The Earth is full of beautiful things that we enjoy and also that we use for important purposes: water, soil, trees, vegetables, insects, and so much more!

Ask students to think of the natural resources that they love and appreciate. They can look out their window to get some ideas if that helps! These could be flowers, butterflies, yummy plants they like to eat, soil that is fun to dig it, trees to climb or give shade, etc.  Students can think of things that are near their home, or are somewhere else.

Ask students to return to the group, and take turns sharing some of the natural resources that they love.  You might first explain which resources you love and why. For example, “I especially love the flowering trees on our plant. There is a cherry tree in front of our school and I look forward to seeing its pink blossoms every spring.”

Depending on what works best for you and your students, they can draw their answers and then share and/or you can make a big list or drawing of all the things the group came up with.

Time: 10-15 minutes

Teacher Materials:  Natural resource Ideas for yourself & students; a pre-made drawing if applicable

Student Materials: None

This virtual investigation is adapted from: PK – Recycling at School

Recycling at School

The Importance of Trees

Investigation Description:
Share that one very important gift the earth shares with us is trees.  We can appreciate the beauty of trees, sit in their shade, eat fruits from certain trees, and climb them when it is safe to do so.

Ask students if they have any trees that they love- maybe a tree with pretty flowers near their home, or a tree outside their home or school window, or even just something like apple trees in general because they love apples.

Point out that trees are important to us not just for their beauty or food, but also because they are an important resource.  Explain that resources are things from nature that we use.

Ask students if they can think of any ways that we use trees, or anything that is made from trees.  Invite them to look around their house and outside their window and count how many different ways we are using wood – maybe for cabinets, home structures, tables, chairs, bedframes, etc.

End this investigation by saying a big “thank you” to all the trees for their gifts, and reminding students to use these resources from trees carefully.

Time: 10 minutes

Teacher Materials: None

Student Materials: None

This virtual investigation is adapted from: Kindergarten – Tree Conservation

Tree Conservation

Using Less Waste

Investigation Description:
Start this investigation with a discussion, saying something like, many people have heard of “The 3 Rs” but did you know that we actually now talk about “The 5 Rs”??

First, look at the 3 Rs that students are probably familiar with already. (See if students can name and describe/explain each.)

-reduce: to use less of something (in this case, natural resources)

-reuse: to use something again and again, as many times as possible before throwing it away

-recycle: to remake an item into a new item, either similar to the original or as a totally new item

Next, look at two more:

-refuse: to not accept something, such as plastic bags or plastic water bottles — you can’t waste it if you don’t take one in the first place!

-rot: to slowly decay (in other words: composting, which we know is Nature’s way of recycling!)

Show students some examples of different kinds of used paper (printer paper or notebook paper used on one side, practice paper with one or two things crossed out, a cardboard box, newspaper, etc) and ask them where paper comes from. (Trees. And we love and need trees, right?)

Together brainstorm different things we could do with the used paper products instead of putting them into the trash.

-Refuse? Take less paper to begin with.

-Reduce? Use less paper.

-Reuse? Use the back or bottom of the page; fold it so the unused side is on the outside and make a card out of it!

-Recycle? Place it in the recycle bin instead of the trash

-Rot? Since paper is made from trees, regular paper and newspaper can also go into the compost bin.

(If you prefer, you can use a different object/material instead of paper, such as a single-use plastic water bottle, for the 5 Rs brainstorm activity.)

Time: 10-20 minutes

Teacher Materials: A variety of recyclable, compostable, and landfill-bound items

Student Materials: None

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 3rd Grade – Taking Care of the Planet

Taking Care of the Planet

Conservation Poetry

Investigation Description:
Brainstorm some words and ideas around the theme of conservation, then give students time to draft a poem.

Demonstrate how to set up an acrostic poem:

1. Choose a word and write it vertically

2. Write a word or phrase that starts with the first letter on each line that somehow connects to the word/theme

Recycling can help our Earth,
Even composting builds good dirt.
First, though, you can do the planet a favor:
Use what you need when it comes to paper,
Skip plastic straws and bring your own bag —
Everyone can do something, it’s really not a drag!

If you prefer, you can explain the basics of and demonstrate a Japanese haiku.

1. There are 3 lines in the poem, which is usually about nature.

2. The first line has 5 syllables, the second line has seven syllables, the third line has five syllables.

3. Don’t forget to give your poem a title!

Example: My favorite kind of paper
I like my paper
Best when it was still a tree —
That’s why I use less.

If time allows, students can share their poems!

Time: 10-20 minutes

Teacher Materials: Poetry examples to share/screenshare

Student Materials: Paper and a writing utensil

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 3rd Grade – Taking Care of the Planet

Taking Care of the Planet

The 5 Rs Jeopardy

Investigation Description:
Tell the students that April is a great time to focus on taking care of the planet. We should be doing this all year long, but celebrating Earth Day gives us an opportunity to review some of the things that can really have a big impact on the environment and we can recommit to including them in our daily activities.

Explain that you are going to describe an activity and they need to figure out which of the 5 Rs it is: Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rot. This can be played like Jeopardy where their answer is in the form of a question (some classes may have a harder time with this format, so just have them answer in a way that works best for your class).

Examples of activities: (try to have at least 10 examples of activities)

1. I try to always have my water bottle with me to refill instead of buying water  **What is Reduce?

2. When I cook I put the vegetable scraps in the compost  **What is Rot?

3. I never take a plastic bag when they offer one at the store  **What is Refuse?

4. I use egg cartons to start my seeds indoors in the spring  **What is Reuse?

Time: 10-15 minutes

Teacher Materials: 10 examples of 5R activities

Student Materials: None

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 4th Grade – Earth and Human Activity (this lesson will be on our website soon!)