Earth Day Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Give your instruction on Earth Day a boost with the help of an engaging and informative video lesson and an in-class activity. Suggestions for supplementary activities and related lessons are included to take this topic a step further.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • relate human behavior to environmental impact
  • summarize the negative environmental effects of human consumption
  • analyze personal consumption in terms of environmental impact
  • create a plan to reduce personal environmental impact


1 to 2 hours


  • White board or chalkboard
  • Dry erase markers or chalk
  • Notebook paper
  • Pens/pencils
  • Tablet, computer, or projector to access lesson and conduct research

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.


  • Begin by asking students to list the resources that they use or consume each day.
  • Now have them conduct research on local plants or animals that are extinct or at risk for extinction. Have them include information on the reasons for extinction or endangerment. Have students share what they found with the class.
  • Now show the video lesson Human Environmental Impact & Ecological Conservation, pausing at 3:44.
  • Ask students if any of the factors highlighted by the video lesson came up in their research of endangered and extinct animals and have them revisit the list they created regarding personal consumption using the ideas introduced in the video lesson.
  • Have students brainstorm ideas for eliminating the problems presented in the video lesson. Ask students to share these ideas as you write them on the board.
  • Next, play the remainder of the video lesson and, when complete, ask the class if the solutions offered in the video match up with those offered by the students. If not, why?
  • Have each student list three things that they can do weekly to be more environmentally responsible. Ask them to share their ideas with the class.
  • Finally, ask students to pledge to practice these three behaviors for a minimum of one week.

Discussion Questions

  • Are these environmental problems inevitable?
  • What can we do to improve our local habitat?
  • Should things like over-harvesting, poaching, and over-farming be illegal?


  • Ask students to keep a diary of their week of reduced personal consumption. Was it difficult? Could they maintain these practices for a longer period of time? Are there additional things that they could change?
  • Have students research recycling practices at their school. If the recycling practices of the school are inadequate, have students organize a plan to improve them.
  • Ask students to research and report on the issue of global warming.

Related Lessons

Renewable & Non-Renewable Resources: Definition & Differences

How Introduced and Invasive Species Alter Ecological Balance

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