Bulletin boards are eye candy for students, but colorful, interactive displays also enhance classroom lessons and introduce interesting topics for discussion when boards feature exciting information. Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, promotes protection of the environment and teaches sustainable living to keep the planet a healthy place for people, animals and plants. Interactive Earth Day bulletin boards create student interest and involve children directly in contributing to the classroom display.
Paper recycling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduces the amount of landfills and saves energy and water. Bulletin boards focused on the Earth Day goal of recycling feature newspapers and magazine pages. The text-focused business section and Sunday paper employment announcements work well for the base paper for all boards in the room, but combining the print background with samples of paper reuse demonstrates how kids can collect and recycle paper for craft projects. Cut classroom scrap into small note-size pieces, and fill envelopes attached to the bottom edge of all room bulletin boards with the recycled paper for students to use for math practice and art projects.
Water Tracking Chart
Most students have little incentive to keep track of daily water use. Creating a bulletin board to track daily use by individual students or the school draws attention to potentially wasteful water use. Cut out five buckets to represent each day of the week. Mark gallons on the buckets and feature a list of the amount of water used for each activity at home and school by using utility gallon estimates for different water uses. The board graphics allow students to compare the total amount of daily water use. Add the use figures at the beginning of each school day to encourage students to reduce water use and thereby in the daily bucket totals.
Recycling plastics, including polyethylene terephthalate used in food and drink containers, into fiber or other containers reduces landfills and saves oil used to make new products. The Container Recycling Institute reports more than 802 thousand tons of PET containers were recycled in 2011, but more than 1.9 million tons went into landfills. Create a bulletin board strip along the middle section of a blank wall in the classroom, centering it at elementary-student height, and attach small plastic containers to store student scissors, pencils and erasers. Label the containers with student names to help kids keep classroom items organized and reinforce reuse of plastics.
Bulletin boards featuring footprints for each student create a visual demonstration of the approximate amount of electricity, water, plastics and paper used by individual students every week. Track the use on the student's paper foot at the end of the school day. An interactive board using the planet as a background with a collection of feet outlining the planet's shape might also feature one energy element each week, such as the daily hours of electric light use, number of showers taken in student homes or estimates of the weight of wasted food thrown into the trash each day.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Earth Day -- April 22
- Environmental Protection Agency: Wastes -- Resource Conservation -- Common Wastes and Materials -- Paper Recycling
- Container Recycling Institute: Plastic Facts and Statistics -- Statistical Data and Research
- Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching: Teaching with Ecological Footprints
- Edutopia: From Trash to Treasure -- Reusing Industrial Materials for School Art Projects
- Scholastic.com Teachers: Clever Ways to Recycle Everyday Items for Classroom Projects
- Alliance for Water Efficiency HomeWaterWorks: Water Calculator
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