April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day, so what better time to get kids busy on some life science activities? Life science, or biology, is an essential school subject. But kids often hate science lessons because they’re taught from boring textbooks in meaningless paper-and-pencil worksheets. Rediscover the inherent fascination of science this spring with hands-on life science activities, science experiments and nature crafts. Do life science activities and biology lesson plans using recycle bin supplies for really eco-friendly Earth Day nature crafts.
Keep interactive nature journals for hands-on biology lesson plans: You can’t do life science activities sitting at desks indoors. Take students on nature hikes. Use field guides to identify observed flora and fauna. Sketch pictures of plants and animals in their dwellings and habitats. Note when and where they were discovered. Note animal characteristics: body covering, markings, camouflage, behavior, adaptation, offspring, endothermic-exothermic. Look for evidence of insects at different stages: larva, pupa, chrysalis, metamorphosis. Note plant and tree characteristics: seasonal, poisonous, developmental stage (germination, leaf, flower, fruit, seed). Make your own journals from reused leaves, grass and found objects. Recycle scrap paper into homemade paper for Earth Day friendly nature crafts.
Design 3-D KPCOFGS animal classification charts: Go on Earth Day nature walks, collect plant and animal specimens. Wear gloves to prevent injury and infection. Don’t disturb organism to get sample. Look for seed pods and carriers, sticks, disused egg sacs and nests, flowers, fruit, fur, feathers, horns/antlers, shed skin, nests, leaves, algae, mold, shells, fossils, tree bark, mushrooms, plants, dead insects, quills, exoskeletons, bones, moss. Sketch pictures of animals (living or dead), habitats and poisonous plants. Extend outdoor biology lesson plans with animal classification activities. Identify plant or animal of origin by kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. Make a four-column chart with kingdoms: protista, fungi, plantae and animalia (monera aren’t visible). Categorize and group specimens graphically by phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Attach to chart and label. Remember Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae with: Kangaroos Play Cellos, Orangutans Fiddle, Gorillas Sing (thank you,Tiger Homes). Check out these articles on free printable animal classification worksheets and animal habitats biology lesson plans.
Make Earth Day habitat diorama nature crafts: Cut off one long side of shoe box. Place box inside of upright lid (to make a backdrop). Color free printable habitat dioramas and attach to inside of box lid or draw in background. Collect plant and animal specimens and “place” in their biomes: tuft of squirrel fir in maple tree, acorn in oak tree, blue jay feather in sky. Attach twig to simulate tree. Add rocks, plastic toy animals, soil and sand to fill out diorama. Label specimens with taxonomy genus and species, date and place found. Recycle hands-on biology lesson plans as classroom decorations. Recycle all unused materials from nature crafts as bird feeders. Emphasize reduce, reuse, recycle in life science activities.