Let the Lights Go Out.

There are several times a year when we are specifically asked to think of the world that we live in and the effect of our actions on our world. Earth Hour is one of those times.

Earth Hour is from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on March 26th. It began in Australia in 2007, when over 2 million individuals and businesses turned off their lights for one hour to “take a stand against climate change”.  Over the next few years it captured global attention, and last year over 126 countries took part.

As it occurs over the weekend, some schools have incorporated it into their curriculum by designating time on the Friday beforehand to turn off as much electricity as possible. They are also teaching lessons on environmental responsibility and sustainability leading up to the event. You could spend hours upon hours searching the web for ideas, and not even make a dent in what is available. Here are but a few resources to help you incorporate Earth Hour into your curriculum:

Earth Hour Main Page

Earth Hour Primary Education Pack 2011 from the Earth Hour website

Earth Hour Secondary Education Pack 2011 from the Earth Hour website

Earth Hour Canada Page

Earth Hour 2011 Official Video

Vote Earth Sand Painting (Even if you don’t use it in the class, watch it – pretty neat.)

The Story of Stuff This is a twenty minute video that highlights the waste in our society.  Go to the original vide0 “The Story of Stuff”, or to the videos on electronics or bottled water.  They are suitable for older grades.

Environmental Jeopardy – Various versions of this game are available, each with a different focus. This is actually a printable game – use it in Jeopardy style or simply as a trivia challenge. It is suitable for older students.

United States Environmental Protection Agency Lesson Plans

Check out the Smart Exchange for Smartboard Notebook Activities with an environmental theme.

It is important to have our students take part in global actions for preserving our environment, and thus I feel that teaching them about Earth Hour is the right way to go. However, we need to ensure that our lessons go beyond them thinking that environmental sustainability can be solved in one hour. For it is only through our day-to-day choices and related actions that any true change will take place.

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