Earth Day and Beyond

Reflecting on our impact and empowering students to take action

  • Two K-12 students, male and female, sitting in community garden. Both students are using laptops.
  • Happy teenage girls joining the global climate strike
    To make a difference, we need to talk about feelings

    Climate change can be a daunting topic for all of us. As predictions show the significant impact of climate change within their lifetimes, children can be especially vulnerable to climate anxiety. Today, people of all ages care about the planet and preserving the environment. They understand the urgency of the situation and can sometimes be overwhelmed by the gravity. Acknowledging their emotions and nurturing feelings of hope and optimism through action can help youth transform concern into motivation. Students motivated to act practice building their emotional resilience and contributing to a more sustainable future.

    To start the lesson, ask students about their knowledge of climate change and its impact on the planet. Encourage them to share their feelings and concerns about this issue. Explain that this lesson will focus on taking action to make a positive difference in response to climate change.

  • Group of happy teenagers putting their hands together in a huddle
    The more we reflect, the more we learn

    Introduce the concept of using Microsoft Reflect to assess our emotions. By having a better understanding of our emotions, we can take care of ourselves and the planet. Here are some check-in ideas that can help promote reflection on Earth Day using Microsoft Reflect.

    • How are you feeling about the effects of climate change?
    • How are you feeling about humans' impact on the environment?
    • How are you feeling about your role in caring for the earth?

    Once the students have completed their check-in, project the "together view" on the classroom screen without revealing student names. Invite them to share their reflections with the class, explain their emotions and discuss their thoughts and ideas.

  • Taking a moment for gratitude

    Gather the students around and have them watch the clip. Afterward, as a class or in smaller groups, use these questions to initiate a discussion about how grateful we are for the nature and all the value our planet provides.

    • In the video, what was the Feelings Monster feeling grateful for?
    • Can you name anything you notice and appreciate about nature? What does that appreciation or gratitude feel like in your body?
    • What actions do you take to express gratitude towards the environment in your daily life?
    • What could we do to better appreciate and care for the planet?
    • How does gratitude towards the environment relate to climate change?