Earth Hour is an extraordinary yearly event created by the World Wildlife Fund. It encourages millions of community members worldwide to turn off all non-essential electric lights for one hour at 8:30PM, on the last Saturday of March. We do this to demonstrate our commitment to working towards a sustainable future!
While the event itself is outside of class-time, it is an excellent opportunity to introduce the topics of environmental issues and sustainability to students. Here are some activities to celebrate Earth Hour in your classroom, which will inspire students to participate in Earth Hour at home!
Run an Earth Hour event in your Classroom
On the Friday before the official Earth Hour, find an opportunity to host your classroom's own lights-out event. Encourage students to help in turning off all lights, finding all electronics that are able to be turned off, and having them turn off their phones for a complete tech-free experience. By having a “count-down” to begin the event, you can generate excitement and fun! By providing an example of how Earth Hour is run in a positive space, students will be empowered to lead the way and share the process of running the Earth Hour event with their families.
Go on a Nature Walk
If the weather allows it, during your classroom's designated Earth Hour take your students on a nature walk and allow the outdoors to act as your classroom. There, you can engage your students through a lesson on the environment or a garbage-collection walk. This is also a great opportunity for outdoor games! By shifting the attention away from the lack of technology, students will be inspired by the natural world and all the fun it has to offer. They’ll recognize that the joy of playing outside is something that needs to be protected, and will transfer this learning back home.
Have a Litterless-Lunch Picnic
If it makes more sense to stay indoors, host your Earth Hour event close to lunch time and have a litterless-lunch picnic. Be sure to inform your students the day before on how to make their lunch as “litterless” as possible, by making sure all items are recyclable, composable, or reusable. This activity will have them reflect on their own environmental impacts, and demonstrate how easy and possible it is to make small steps towards being more environmentally friendly. Through the fun of a picnic, with blankets laid out and everyone eating together, students will be excited to continue these habits at home.
Through these activities, students will be inspired to continue their education in environmental awareness and bring their passion for sustainability to their homes.