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Lesson Plan

Protecting Our Precious Planet: Sharing the Message of Earth Day

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Protecting Our Precious Planet: Sharing the Message of Earth Day

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time 30- to 45-minute sessions and an optional field trip
Lesson Author

Melissa Weimer

Waterford, Michigan


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Your students will learn to think globally and act locally by participating in the Internet-based Earth Day Groceries Project. Students look at the work of children around the world and talk about what environmental messages are important to communicate. They then design paper bags that convey their ideas. The bags are distributed at local grocery stores on April 22nd, Earth Day. When the project is complete, students can share their work online. Although this lesson is intended for students in kindergarten through second grade, it can easily be adapted and makes an excellent school- or district-wide project.

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Earth Day Groceries Project logo

Earth Day Groceries Project

The Earth Day Groceries Project is a free environmental-awareness project in which students decorate paper grocery bags with messages for Earth Day. One of the oldest and largest educational projects on the Internet, it is managed by Mark Ahlness, a third-grade teacher at Arbor Heights Elementary School in Seattle, Washington. Thousands of schools from all over the world have participated in the project since its inception in 1993. Photos and reports about individual classroom or school projects can be posted on the website.


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Strangman, N. (2002). An interview with Mark Ahlness and Jean Carmody about the Earth Day groceries project. Reading Online, 5(7). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=voices/ahlness_carmody/index.html

  • Seeing their work published online is a motivating factor for students-and projects like the Earth Day Groceries Project can be an important first step for teachers who might otherwise be reluctant to use technology in their classrooms.

  • The primary skills that students learn from this project are a better understanding of the importance of the environment and that publishing their messages, whether it's through words or pictures, can accomplish something.

  • Students who are visual learners benefit from this project because it allows them to express their ideas and opinions through words and images.


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