Earth Day in STEM class

Middle school STEM Earth Day activities

Earth Day is one of my favorite days to celebrate with middle school students. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the science we are learning in the classroom and how it applies to real-world problems. Check out these middle school STEM Earth Day activities for some ideas on how to make your Earth Day awesome!

1. Design a solution that addresses an environmental challenge

Earth Day is a great time to engage students in environmental science STEM challenges. The big, real-world problems (e.g., global warming, microplastics, air pollution, deforestation, etc.) are sure to grab your middle schoolers attention and leave them wanting to take action. The options for STEM challenges are endless! In the past, my students have had an awesome experience designing water filtration systems, wind-powered cars, and recycled paper. If you want a ready-made challenge, check out the Wind-Powered Car Challenge below!

Wind Powered Car STEM Challenge
Click to grab this ready-to-go STEM challenge!

2. Watch a environmental science documentary

What could be better than a movie day that fully engages your students and helps them consider the beauty of nature. Some of my favorites that check all the middle school boxes are My Octopus Teacher, The Biggest Little Farm, and the “Terraform” and “Survival” episodes of One Strange Rock. You can find ready-to-go movie guides for each of these awesome documentaries below!

One Strange Rock movie guide for middle school STEM and Earth Day
Click to grab the print-and-go movie guide!
The Biggest Little Farm for middle school STEM and Earth Day
Click to grab the print-and-go movie guide!
One Strange Rock movie guide for middle school STEM and Earth Day
Click to grab the print-and-go movie guide!
One Strange Rock movie guide for middle school STEM and Earth Day
Click to grab the print-and-go movie guide!

3. Facilitate a campus or neighborhood clean up

If you have time to prepare, consider going on a walking field trip around your school’s campus or even the neighborhood (with the proper permission of course)! Ask the PTO, parents, or local businesses to donate gloves and trash bags. Before the trip, talk about watersheds so students understand the connection of litter around the neighborhood and how it impacts the local and regional community. To really get things going… stage a competition! Which team of students will fill the most bags or collect the most pounds of trash? The things middle school dreams are made of!

4. Research environmental issues and take a stand

If you are looking for a more independent activity, choose an environmental issue (global warming, the decline of bees,. Have students research possible solutions along with the pros and cons to each solution. Then have them make a claim about the best solution for the problem and back it up with evidence. The presentation can be in the form of a poster, research paper, oral presentation, or class debate. Check out the ready-to-go environmental science research and writing activities below!

Middle school ecology lesson plan and writing activity for middle STEM and science.
Click to grab the lesson and materials!

What did I miss?

Do you have a favorite way to spend Earth Day? Tell us your favorite middle school STEM Earth Day activities in the comments below!

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