Why We Celebrate Earth Day In The Classroom (And You Should Too)

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Since 1970, people across America–and eventually the globe–have been celebrating our Earth. Each year, we take the month of April to give back to this planet, whether that be through participating in a local clean-up day, donating to an environmental charity, or planting native vegetation. The options are nearly limitless!


And while many of these activities are sponsored by local organizations and citizen groups, we should not ignore the power of Earth Day—really Earth Month—in the classroom. In addition to promoting a healthy planet, Earth Day is an opportunity to engage students in interactive, civic-based science. Read on for the top 5 reasons we celebrate Earth Day in the classroom—and you should too.

1. Earth Day Promotes Environmental Awareness.

We know environmental awareness is often a component of science lessons in the K-12 classroom. From discussions of habitats to activities on renewable energy, teachers are constantly finding new ways of incorporating interesting and topical lessons into their annual curriculum. But with a myriad of science standards to cover, environmental issues do not always receive the time and attention that teachers would like and students crave.


Enter Earth Day.


This celebration offers a focused opportunity to raise awareness and address issues of the environment with students. It also offers the critical opportunity for students to ask questions and voice their concerns. A research study published in 2023 on CBS News states that around 62% of youth surveyed expressed anxiety around climate change (Schechter et al., 2023). With eco-related anxiety on the rise, environmental education is now more important than ever.

2. Earth Day Promotes Interactive Learning.

Oftentimes activities around Earth Day involve active components, like gardening, picking up litter, or recycling. These opportunities provide students experiential learning moments, or learning through physical activity, allowing them to apply textbook knowledge to the world around them. Research shows that this type of learning “…bolsters cognitive, social, and emotional development, enhances the brain’s capacity to retain information, and develops not just one’s individual capacities and strengths, but also one’s self-confidence in those capacities” (Why kinesthetic learning?, 2023).


Taking part in Earth Day activities can not only help students to retain information about our world but also can help to boost their confidence in science learning in general. And these activities are diverse, accommodating various ages, learning preferences, and abilities.

3. Earth Day Fosters Civic Engagement.

While Earth Day is an awesome celebration of science, it also empowers students to be civically engaged in their communities. In the classroom, students often learn how their own actions alongside the actions of their friends, families, and communities impact our Earth. When students engage in Earth Day activities, they have the opportunity to apply that knowledge and take action within their communities.  


These activities not only allow students to engage in kinesthetic learning themselves, as discussed above, but also promote group learning and problem solving, empowering students to work together to address environmental challenges.

4. Earth Day Is Rife With Cross-Curricular Connections.

We all know that science directly connects with Earth Day but so many other subjects can be incorporated into this celebratory event. Language arts, social studies, math—the opportunities abound! Whether it be through reading books about our planet, learning the history of Earth Day, or even calculating their carbon footprint, students can apply Earth Day to just about anything. Teachers often try to incorporate cross-curricular learning into their lesson plans, and Earth Day is a great opportunity to do so.

5. Earth Day Can Foster Cultural Awareness.

There are so many rich and diverse perspectives on our environment, making Earth Day an opportunity for educators to explore different cultural perspectives and viewpoints with students. This type of multicultural education demonstrates value for different student cultures and  “…prepares students to thrive in a diverse world” (What is Multicultural Education: American University, 2022). All students deserve to be celebrated in the classroom, and Earth Day can help to foster that celebration. 

And there you have it—OEP’s top 5 reasons to celebrate Earth Day in the classroom. No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope it’s an inspirational, informative, and energizing day!


Schechter, D., Rush, H., & Horner, C. (2023, March 2). As climate changes, climate anxiety rises in youth. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-anxiety/


What is Multicultural Education: American University. School of Education Online. (2022, October 27). https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/multicultural-education/


Why kinesthetic learning?. National Math Foundation. (2023, March 9). https://nationalmathfoundation.org/curriculum-research/#:~:text=Kinesthetic%20learning%20encourages%20physical%20activity,self%2Dconfidence%20in%20those%20capacities.

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