a hand writes in a journal

Writing Activities for Earth Day

By: Amanda Good

Apr 7, 2022 | 9 minute read

Teaching students how to be excellent writers improves their abilities to communicate and enhances their creativity. Most importantly, writing develops critical thinkers. Below you will find a variety of resources featuring writing activities for Earth Day. 

It’s never been easier to integrate climate change topics while teaching your students key writing skills and meeting curriculum standards. Earth Month is the perfect time to challenge your students to write about nature, the environment, animals, and climate change solutions.

Sharing Your Climate Story

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Justice, Health, Social-Emotional Learning, Climate Action

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

In this writing activity from Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE), students will learn how climate change is impacting their state and write a personal narrative to their elected officials on why climate change is an important issue to them. This interdisciplinary lesson plan includes videos, links to helpful information, a teacher guide, and a student worksheet in both PDF and Google Doc formats.

Writing a personal narrative is a great way to help students make the connection between their personal experiences and climate change topics. When students see how their own lives and communities are impacted by the climate crisis, they will develop a greater understanding of the importance of protecting and caring for the environment.

Nature Show and Tell

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Subjects: Science, English Language Arts

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

This easy-to-implement activity gives young students a chance to practice their writing skills while thinking about the value and importance of the natural world. Students find a natural object (stick, flower, rock, etc.) and write a short speech to share with classmates in a nature Show-and-Tell. 

Teachers can personalize this activity in a number of ways. Advanced students could provide two or more scientific facts about their object, while students who are still working on their writing skills could use sentence stems and word banks to help them write their sentences. Students who are not yet ready to produce full sentences can write the first letter of their object and draw a picture to explain the scientific fact that they learned about their object.

Write Your Own Ekphrastic Poem

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects: English Language Arts

Resource Type: Poetry Writing

In this innovative lesson from SubjectToClimate, students will view powerful climate change-related photographs from Climate Visuals and select one photograph to be the subject of an ekphrastic poem. This cleverly-designed lesson plan includes both teacher and student slideshows, making it easy for teachers to use in person or in a virtual setting. 

This lesson will appeal to students who find descriptive writing challenging, because the photograph provides a visual touchstone to help guide student writing. The lesson includes a mix of photographs depicting climate disasters and climate solutions. It may be interesting to have the students who chose climate disaster photographs present their poems first and follow with students who chose climate solutions photographs. After the students have presented their poems, students could think about whether any of the “problem” poems could be paired with the “solution” poems.

Write and Perform a Climate Monologue

Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, English Language Arts, Art, Social-Emotional Learning, Climate Action

Resource Type: Activity

In this exciting activity, students write a script and perform a monologue about climate change. The student pages link to three examples of climate monologues to help students understand the effective elements of a monologue.

Students will have the opportunity to practice various skills such as communication, creativity, confidence, self-expression, writing, and acting as they think about the effects of climate change on the Earth. While this activity is perfect for a drama, public speaking, or theater class, it would also work well in an ELA class.  

What’s the Worst Impact of Climate Change?

What’s the Best Solution to Climate Change?

These lesson plans can be used individually or collectively to help students practice their paragraph writing skills as they unpack the causes and effects of climate change as well as solutions to combat the crisis. After watching a number of videos and discussing the issues, students will use the instructions and template in the student document to produce a claim-evidence-reasoning paragraph. 

These lessons will get students thinking about how climate change impacts the world around them and what can be done to stop it. Writing a well-structured, evidence-based paragraph is a skill that will serve students throughout their academic careers and beyond! 

Handwriting Practise With Earthly

Grade: K, 1st, 2nd

Subjects: English Language Arts

Resource Type: Activity

This well-designed handwriting activity from ClimateScience includes a teacher guide and student handout in PDF format. The goal of this activity is to practice writing and spelling and to raise children's awareness of how climate change is affecting our planet. Using the ClimateScience book, “Saving Planet Earthly”, students will practice handwriting skills by copying sentences and creating short stories.

While the main goal of this activity is to practice handwriting, teachers can extend the activity by asking students to write two sentences of their own about Earthly. Early finishers can follow this activity with another fun writing activity from ClimateScience, Write a Letter to Thoko

Creating Climate Policies

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects: Social Studies, Civics

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

In this activity, students learn about the purpose of climate policies and are empowered to write some of their own. This resource includes a step-by-step teacher guide and student handout with prompts and questions that guide students as they draft their policies. The resource also includes links to sources that can help students learn more about crafting policies. 

Teachers can extend this lesson into a role-playing activity where different members of a community act out the consequences of one of the policies created. After role-playing, students can decide whether or not they should amend their policies. Teachers will appreciate the straightforward application to social studies, civics, and government classes.

Write Your Member Of Congress

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts, Justice, Climate Action

Resource Type: Activity 

Write Your Member Of Congress is a training module that teaches students how to write a climate advocacy letter to a member of Congress encouraging them to take action. The resource includes information about the power of writing to your representatives, written instructions for crafting a letter, a sample letter, and a how-to video. 

Some students may be surprised to learn that writing to members of Congress can have a real and direct impact on legislation. This resource will walk students through the letter-writing process: from considering their talking points to being, “personal, polite, and factual”. Once they have polished their letters, students can use the link in the resource to find their Representative’s email address and send their letters. This empowering activity will help students see the importance of developing their writing skills so that they can communicate and advocate for their future and the future of the planet.

World Leaders Speech

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

This activity empowers students to speak boldly and publicly about the urgency of the climate crisis by learning to write and perform a 1-2 minute speech. The resource comes with a teacher’s guide, and videos of young climate activists Alexandria Villaseñor, Greta Thunberg, and Severn Cullis-Suzuki giving speeches. 

Teachers can use this activity to teach students about the United Nations and the importance of diplomacy and nations working together. Teachers could have students research different parts of the world to learn how climate change impacts each region and to incorporate the information into their speeches. When students give their speeches, the class will be able to learn about how climate change affects different parts of the world in different ways.

Craft a Climate Op-ed

Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: English Language Arts

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

In this well-crafted writing activity, students will learn about op-ed writing and write about a climate topic that is meaningful to them. Students will learn about the reasons people write op-eds, how to write an op-ed, what makes this writing form unique, and the power of op-eds to create change. The lesson plan provides links to the OpEd Project website and to two excellent video lectures, which will help prepare students for the lesson.

Students will enjoy the lesson because they get to choose a climate topic they care about. This activity calls for at least two days or sessions, but can easily be scaled up into a more lengthy writing unit. As an extension, teachers can demonstrate a way for students to share their op-eds with a larger audience, such as their school or local newspaper. 

Deforestation Odes and Elegies

Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: English Language Arts

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

This innovative lesson plan from SubjectToClimate teaches students about the severity of deforestation and introduces them to odes and elegies. Students have the opportunity to research and learn about how deforestation affects specific regions and to write their own poems as tribute to the lost forests. After they finish crafting their odes or elegies, students share their poems with the class before writing a collective class poem to reflect on what they have learned about the devastating effects of deforestation.

This interesting lesson includes an easy-to-use lesson plan, Google slides, and a student document that will help them organize their work. As an extension, teachers could have students write both an ode and an elegy and compare the differences in writing, tone, and overall effect. This lesson is easily adaptable to Advanced Placement or honors level classes by including other literary and language elements in the poems such as juxtaposition, oxymoron, consonance, assonance, enjambment, alliteration, and personification.

Healthy Environment, Healthy You

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, English Language Arts, Health, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

In this outdoor journaling activity, students spend time observing the natural environment and then answer one of three prompts on happiness, anxiety, or self-esteem. Students will learn that spending time in nature can be an important component of mental health. Unlike some writing activities, this one focuses less on writing skills and more on social-emotional well-being and the role that journaling can play in processing emotions.

The resource provides three different journal prompts. Teachers could use different prompts throughout the year or let students choose the prompt that they would like to write about. Students who feel comfortable sharing their responses could read them out loud or swap journals with another student. 

One of the easiest ways to educate your students about climate change is by simply integrating topics related to climate change into your everyday writing lessons. Teaching students about climate change through writing activities allows their inner voices to be heard and shared. Inspiring others through our words is the greatest academic gift we can give our students and this planet on Earth Day. Check out more writing activities here!