Every day is Earth Day in the science world. Thinking about ways to conserve energy, considering how to lessen the human impact on the planet, planning strategies to reuse and upcycle are all great topics for the VISTA teaching method of problem-based learning (PBL).
PBLs involve real-world problems that have multiple solutions and need to be solved over time. Environmental concerns dovetail perfectly with that model, which is why VISTA teaching often involves earth-friendly topics.
From last summer’s Elementary Science Institute’s camp at George Mason University that focused on the problem of the ferocious snakehead fish to Blacksburg teacher Rose Norris’s classroom project designed to minimize the ocean impact of coastal oil and gas leases to Radford teacher Kimberly Luckett’s investigation into a mysterious invasive organism, the VISTA way of teaching is naturally suited to environmental issues.
So we take special pride in celebrating Earth Day.
In the 45 years since its inception, Earth Day has grown from a hippie-driven event fueled by flower power to a mainstream day of honor. Credited by some for launching the environmental movement, Earth Day is now a powerful reminder that building a sustainable future is a global concern.
Whether you’re a VISTA-taught teacher (or just wish you were), there are myriad classroom resources that you can tap to bring Earth Day into the classroom.
There are many ways to get involved outside the classroom, too. From last year’s photo mosaic of the Earth organized by NASA to political movements to slow climate change to a proposed public television series called The Urban Homesteader, being responsible stewards of the planet has never been easier.
So read a book! Join a movement! Involve your students! Most importantly, “Love Your Mother!”