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Global Warming Activities for Kindergarten


Two kindergarten activities relating to global warming and resource conservation are available below. These activities align to California State Content Standards. If you have any questions or comments, please email coast4u@coastal.ca.gov.




Global Warming: The Earth has a Fever!

How can we help young children begin to grasp important environmental issues while empowering them to make a difference? The following classroom activity introduces the topic of global warming to a kindergarten level, with "Mother Earth" asking the students to help keep her healthy.


***Download the activity as a printable PDF, which includes a teacher script, templates for making Mother Earth masks, and certificates of accomplishment for the students. Below is the text of the activity.


Author: Diana Madson

LESSON OVERVIEW

Download the full activity as a PDF (2.3 MB)

Grade/Level:

Kindergarten
Objective:

The children will be able to identify connections and the cause & effect relationship between human activities. The students will also be able to identify natural resources and conservation of resources. The children will be able to distinguish between land and water on the globe.

Teaching Strategies:

Using puppets as props to engage children in brainstorming and expressing their ideas after having it modeled by the teacher.
Time Allotment:

40 minutes per class.

MATERIALS AND RESOURCES

Instructional Materials:

Forms:
  • Lesson plan
  • Script
  • Masks
  • What You Can Do supplement
  • Awards
Art Materials Needed:
  • Mask (copy of page for each child)
  • Paper plates/cardstock/cardboard/cereal boxes
  • Scissors
  • Stapler/tape/glue stick
  • Tongue depressors, popsicle sticks, or pencils
  • Crayons/markers/paint

IMPLEMENTATION

Preparation:

Prepare the Mother Earth masks. When printing the masks, you can print on normal paper and later glue to a paper plate, sturdy paper, or a recycled item such as a cereal box, or you can print directly onto cardstock.

It may be helpful to cut out each of the masks, both the outer edges and the eyes/mouth, ahead of time.

Complete one mask entirely which will be used as your “Mother Earth”.

Color in one of each of the versions of the mask to be used as an example for distinguishing the land from the water.

Anticipatory Set:

Script to use with Earth Mask:

Mother Earth: Hi guys! It’s me, Mother Earth. I bet you never thought I would come and chat with you today. You know, the big old world you are sitting on. Reach down and touch it - it’s me! You can jump on me, you can dance on me, you can somersault on me, you can dive into my waters, roll around on my grass, dig in my sand, and wiggle your toes in my squishy mud [building pictures in their minds]. I am the whole world: I am the oceans [point to the blue water masses on the mask], I am the land [point to the green land mass on the mask], I am the forests, I am the mountains. I hold all of the animals in the world in my arms, all the fish in the sea, all the butterflies in the air, and all the people on the earth. I am your planet, I belong to you and you belong to me and together we live a happy life.

Question: Mother Earth: Have you ever seen my oceans? Have you ever seen my forests? My rivers? My mountains? What do I look like? What do I feel like? What do I smell or sound like?
[Bring in their previous knowledge, generate their interest in the area, then you tag them into a topic they already know about.]

[Reinforce connectedness]
Mother Earth: You are such smart children about the world. You have learned so much about me and you bring me such joy. And it is great joy to me to share everything I have with you. But I came to you today because I have a problem and I think you can help me.

Mother Earth: I have begun to get a bit of a fever because some of the people who live on me are making me sick with the dirty gas in their cars, stinky smoke that comes from factories, and icky garbage. You might have felt this way once if you ever got into a car that had been sitting parked in the sun for a long time with the windows shut. When it gets this hot inside of a car the ice cream melts, the flowers you picked bend over and lose their petals, and you feel really uncomfortable because it is SO hot.

I am getting warmer and warmer, just like this car and the reason I am getting hot is because when certain things called fossil fuels are burned the smoke from the burning goes up into the sky to create a kind of a roof on top of the sky! Can you imagine what a roof on top of the sky would be like? The gas people put into cars is a fossil fuel and when you drive around in the car, all the smoke that comes out of the pipe in the back goes up into the sky. When so much smoke goes up into the sky it builds a big roof over the sky and this roof keeps all the hot air from going back out to space, just like the roof of a car! With this roof and heat, I am starting to get sick and my sickness is called Global Warming. I came to you because I knew you would understand and I know how smart you are, and I know you can help. A lot of grownups are helping too. But, I need the help of all the little children of the world to make me better because, if we work together, we can make me a happy and healthy place to live for all the little children and animals in the world.

[Brainstorming Ideas and Solutions, children generating ideas from their base of knowledge:]
Question: Mother Earth: Has anyone ever told you how to take care of Mother Earth? You know many wonderful ways of helping the earth. Tell me what you know.

Mother Earth: Those were really great ideas! I knew you were so smart. There are so many ways to take care of me and here are some more:
[Access "What You Can Do" supplement.]

During the brainstorming when the children are involved and engaged in the interactive process of generating these ideas, there may be several key components they have missed. Now is a key time to access the supplemental list.

Guided Practice:

Mother Earth: Now, I need you to go out into the world and teach all the little children and their families, too. You get to make a puppet that looks just like me and then tell my story to all your friends. You can pretend to be me! [Children engage in art activity and talk to each other while they do it.]

Direct the children to color in the masks using blue for the oceans and green for the land.

Paste, staple, or tape the masks (reinforced with paper plate or cardstock) to tongue depressors, popsicle sticks, or pencils to be used as handle for the mask.

Modeling:

[Once the children are finished coloring in their masks]
Mother Earth: Now practice telling each other about all the things we can do to take care of Mother Earth.

Demonstrate how to use the puppet and how to ask for help on behalf of Mother Earth with another child, and then direct the children to do the same with each other.

Closure:

Mother Earth: Show me your beautiful mother earth faces. Now let’s all practice being me and talking to our friends about helping Mother Earth get better. Tell me some of the things you are going say. What are the things we can do to protect Mother Earth?

Follow-Up:

Mother Earth: Now be my little voices and teach your friends and family by sharing all the things you have learned and ask them what they are doing to help. Then come back and teach us all the wonderful things you, your family, and your friends are doing to make me better because through sharing and working together we can bring down my fever and all live in a healthy and happy world.

Between next day and next week: When the children come back and share their experiences they should be acknowledged with a badge or certificate for being “Protectors of Mother Earth”. The class can share progress regularly.

CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARDS FOR KINDERGARTEN

English-Language Arts

Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
     Comprehension
     1.1 Understand and follow one-and two-step oral directions.
     1.2 Share information and ideas, speaking audibly in complete,      coherent sentences.

2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
     Using the listening and speaking strategies of kindergarten outlined in      Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0, students:
     2.1 Describe people, places, things (e.g., size, color, shape),      locations, and actions.

History-Social Science

K.4 Students compare and contrast the locations of people, places, and environments and describe their characteristics.
     2. Distinguish between land and water on maps and globes and locate      general areas referenced in historical legends and stories.

Science

Earth Sciences
3. Earth is composed of land, air, and water. As a basis for understanding this concept:
     c. Students know how to identify resources from Earth that are used      in everyday life and understand that many resources can be      conserved.

Investigation and Experimentation
     3. Communicate observations orally and through drawings.

 



What You Can Do:

1. Always turn off the lights when you leave a room, because electricity takes up a lot of energy and makes the Earth hot. So when you turn the lights off when you are not using them, you save lots of energy.

2. Make sure to close the refrigerator door after you are done getting something or putting something away. Just like with lights, electricity makes the refrigerator work. Electricity makes the light bulb in the refrigerator turn on and keeps it very cold inside. Because it takes so much electricity to make the refrigerator work, it is important to keep the door shut, so that you can save energy.

3. Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth so that you can save water. It also takes energy to bring the water to your house and make it clean and hot, so be sure to only use as much water as you need.

4. Spend time gardening and planting trees if you can. Trees love to eat the stinky smoke that makes the Earth so hot, so if we have lots of trees, they can eat up some of the gases and the Earth can stay cool.

5. Do you recycle your cans, bottles, and paper at home? Try to recycle all the cans, bottles, and paper that you use. You can also be a very special helper to your family when they gather all of the recycling into a bin and take it out to the street.

6. Try to ride your bike or walk when you are going somewhere close by instead of driving in a car with your family. Taking the bus or train is fun, too! Remember, the smoke that comes out of the cars causes the Earth to get a fever.

7. Tell your friends and family about these great things you can do to help bring down the Earth’s fever.













Our Melting Ice Cube

Understanding where water comes from is the first step toward conscious conservation of this limited resource. Climate change is expected to lead to an even greater need to conserve water in California.

***Download the activity as a printable PDF, which includes a teacher script and images used in the lesson. Below is the text of the activity.


Author: Diana Madson

LESSON OVERVIEW

Download the full activity as a PDF (3.5 MB)

Grade/Level:

Kindergarten
Objective:

Teach kindergarteners about the relationship between the water that comes from the faucet and its source of origin. The lesson is designed to expose children to the reality that water is not an unlimited resource that magically derives from the faucet. Building on the idea that water is a precious resource, this lesson emphasizes the need for conservation and how children can participate in water conservation.

Activity Logistics:

Find out where the water comes from in your community in order to teach the appropriate water pathway. The following images and correlating script describes a system where primary water source is surface water.

*This project is ideally taught in conjunction with “Earth has a Fever,” above.

More resources on our water supply can be found in the California Department of Water Resources Water Facts and Fun Catalog.

Time Allotment:

60 minutes per class.

MATERIALS AND RESOURCES

Instructional Materials:

Images (included) of: snow and snowpack/rain, stream, water treatment works, pipes, home faucet, sewage treatment plant, pipe, reservoir. Additionally, there is the larger “I Can Conserve” list of ways to conserve water.
Please make individual copies for each child, cut out the indicated square for each image (7 small squares and one large “I Can Conserve” image for each child—two, 8.5"x11" sheets).

About two feet of blue yarn (to represent water) for each child.

Tape, for taping pictures to the yarn (Alternatively, you may punch a hole in the top and bottom of each small picture and have students thread the yarn through the holes rather than taping the pictures together)

Crayons, colored pencils, or markers

*Please note that the most time-consuming aspect of the project will be the taping of the squares onto the yarn. Consider providing accessible tape for the children so they can apply tape themselves. Another option is to have the children line the squares up in numerical order before you assist them with the taping. Prepare one of the “water chains” in advance for direct instruction as well as print the enlarged version of each image for instruction.

IMPLEMENTATION

Anticipatory Set:

“Today, we are going to discuss where our water comes from. Where do you think the faucet water comes from?” (In order to tap into the children’s prior knowledge, ask them and let them respond.)

Guided Practice:

1. "Well, water actually takes a long journey to get to our homes. Some water comes from rain and some water comes from the snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, called the 'snowpack.' Let’s start with the water that comes from the Sierra snowpack."
(Hold up the large image of the mountains/rain.)
"The snowpack is like a giant ice cube that lives on top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Parts of the ice cube stay frozen all year long and other parts freeze in the winter and become water in the spring. As the ice cube melts in the spring, the water flows down the mountain into streams and then into rivers. The melting 'ice cube' provides water at a time when there’s usually not much rain. When it does rain, the rainwater falls from the sky and some of it nourishes the plants while a lot of it flows into the streams and the rivers."
(Hold up the large image of the stream.)
"Some of these streams flow into a big lake called a reservoir."
(Hold up the large image of the reservoir.)
"A reservoir is a lake that people use to hold water for things like drinking, bathing, and watering plants. When the water leaves the reservoir, it goes through a whole bunch of pipes that bring the water to a water treatment works."
(Hold up the large image of the pipe.)
"The water treatment works then cleans the water."
(Hold up the large image of the water treatment works.)
"After it is cleaned, this is the water that comes out of the kitchen faucet, out of the shower faucet and fills up the toilet."
(Hold up the large image of the sink.)

2. "Can you pretend to be the snow on top of the mountain? Can you pretend to be the pouring rain or the water flowing down the mountain?”
(Hold up the enlarged image of the mountains/rain and encourage the children to stand up and shiver like they’re cold, then move around as they pantomime the rain and the water flowing down the mountain. Continue this practice with the stream, reservoir, water treatment works, pipes, and sink.)

3. (Bring children back into the circle time position.)
“Now that we know where our water comes from, what do you think happens to it after it goes back down the drain or into the toilet?”
(Ask the children to think and share with a partner-pair share.)

4. “The dirty water that we put into the sink and the toilet goes back through a bunch of pipes and reaches another place where it gets cleaned, the sewage treatment center."
(Hold up the enlarged image of the sewage treatment center.)
"It takes a whole lot of work to make this water clean again. Once the factory cleans most of the dirty parts out of the water, it channels the water into pipes and it is dumped into rivers or into the ocean."
(Hold up the enlarged image of the ocean.)

5. “Now let’s pretend to be the water that goes down the drain in the sink, through the pipes, into the sewage treatment works, and then into the oceans.”
(Likewise, engage the children with physical movements by acting out the journey of water. Hold up the image for each stop on the water chain as the children act them out. When finished, have children return to circle time seating.)

6. “Isn’t it great that we are able to have water when we need it? This system of water is very important and it allows us to always have water to drink, be able to take baths, be able to go swimming. Can you think of other things we do with water everyday?”
(Pause for response.)

7. “It is really important that we think about where our water comes from. Does anyone or anything else need the water in the rivers and lakes? What do you think would happen if we used up all of the water in the rivers? What would happen to all of the fish and animals that live in the water? What would people in other parts of California do if we used up all of their water?”
(Ask the kids and encourage them to respond.)

8. “We need to remember that we are sharing the water with all the plants, animals and their homes. When we take the water out of the big lakes we take away some of the water that the fish, frogs, birds, and other animals and plants need. When we use up the water, we leave less water for everyone else. So we need to learn how to conserve water. Conserve means to save and protect. How do you think we can conserve water?”

9. “It is important to think about the water in California that comes from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some of the ice cube we were talking about earlier is melting now and not freezing again because the earth is getting warmer. As the earth warms, it may not snow as much as it used to. Because so much of the ice cube is melting and less snow is freezing, less water flows into the reservoirs in the spring and summer. This is another reason why conserving water is so important. We need to learn to use only as much water as we need and not waste any water. If we waste water we do not leave enough to share with the animals, plants and other people.”

10. “We are going to learn today different ways of conserving water. Conserving water means that we only use as much water as we NEED, like the water we drink or take baths and showers with. We make sure not to waste water by doing things like turning off the bathroom faucet while we brush our teeth, not using the toilet as a garbage can, taking shorter showers, only filling the bathtub halfway, and turning off the kitchen sink when washing dishes. By saving water we are being good citizens because we are being considerate to other Californians and to the animals and plants that need the water. If we can share our water then there can be enough for everyone. How do you think we can conserve water? What are some ways in which we can conserve water?”

Independent Practice:

11. “Can you show me how to conserve by acting it out? Let’s all practice turning off the water while brushing our teeth together.”
(Hold up the enlarged “I Can Conserve” image. Continue pantomiming the following actions and explain each action while you do it: taking a fast shower, turning off kitchen sink, etc.)

12. “In order to keep thinking about conservation, you will each receive a bunch of pictures showing the process we just talked about. We are going to color them in together, tape them in order along the blue water yarn, and think about the different things we can do to save water.”
(Pass out individual copies of the images and have the children color in the images and tape them in the proper order along the blue yarn, representing the flow of water. Encourage them to talk about what they are coloring.)

Closure:

Have children gather around and ask them what they can do to conserve. The children will be able to take home this “water chain” and they are encouraged to share what they learned with their families.

CALIFORNIA CONTENT STANDARDS FOR KINDERGARTEN

English-Language Arts

Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
     Comprehension
     1.1 Understand and follow one-and two-step oral directions.
     1.2 Share information and ideas, speaking audibly in complete,      coherent sentences.

2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
     Using the listening and speaking strategies of kindergarten outlined in      Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0, students:
     2.1 Describe people, places, things (e.g., size, color, shape),      locations, and actions.

Science

Physical Sciences
1. Properties of materials can be observed, measured, and predicted. As a basis for understanding this concept:
     b. Students know water can be a liquid or a solid and can be made to      change back and forth from one form to the other.

Earth Sciences
3. Earth is composed of land, air, and water. As a basis for understanding this concept:
     a.Students know characteristics of mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys,      deserts, and local landforms.
     c. Students know how to identify resources from Earth that are used in      everyday life and understand that many resources can be conserved.

CALIFORNIA SCIENCE LEARNING OBJECTIVES IN THE CONTEXT OF
CALIFORNIA'S ENVIRONMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPTS

Academic Content Standards:

Earth Sciences
3. Earth is composed of land, air, and water. As a basis for understanding this concept:

 

Standards-based Learning Objectives in the Context of the EP&C:
Students will:

c. Students know how to identify resources from Earth that are used in everyday life and understand that many resources can be conserved.

  • Identify resources (goods and ecosystem services) that people use in everyday life (e.g., food, air, water, clothing).
  • Describe the origins of everyday resources (e.g., food comes from plants and animals, air comes from the atmosphere, water from lakes and rivers).
  • Recognize that all of the everyday resources they use come from natural systems.
  • Provide examples of how these resources are gathered, harvested or extracted from natural systems.
  • List ways these resources can be conserved.