In recognition of this important focus on our earth stewardship, six activities were developed and are available online atgo.osu.edu/4hearthday. All six activities were featured during a poster session and reception with the School of Environment and Natural Resources this week, where some of our 4-H members prepared talks about the experience of completing the activity.
Earth Day Activities:
- “Ice Cores: A Layer Cake of Snow” was written in collaboration with Ohio State’s own experts from the Byrd Polar Center. Youth make a model of an ice core, examine the layers, and make inferences about the weather at the time the snow fell, just like climatologists.
- “Choose to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” features a deck of colorful household waste cards that have to be sorted into reduce, reuse, and recycle stacks.
- “Easy Bean Babies” involves the anatomy and sprouting of a lima bean. Learners use the simplest of materials—cotton balls and plastic bags—to make their own greenhouses.
- “Healthy Plants Are Our Bees-ness” asks youth to act like a bee and collect pollen from flowers made from candy and cheese puffs.
- In “Soil-ology: Do You Dig It,” youth make a compost jar and over time have their own window into the decomposition process.
- “Start with Reduce and Reuse” emphasizes the importance of simply consuming less. Math skills are put to work as they graph the tons of disposed waste in Ohio. The abstract becomes concrete when they are asked how they can reduce waste at home.
All of the activities are fully accessible online and in PDFs. They are appropriate for individual learners and groups. Each is also cross-referenced to national Next Generation Science Standards. Except for the ice core activity, the authors are 4-H educators (Erin Dailey, Rachael Fraley, Kristy Watters, Travis West, Jo Williams, and Tracy Winters). We plan for these activities to remain available beyond Earth Day. Remember to send us notes about how you celebrated Earth Day in your county (firstname.lastname@example.org).