As we usher in spring, there’s no better time to plan some fun and educational Earth Day music lessons that will get your students excited about sustainability and environmental awareness. Music has the power to engage, inspire, and educate, making it a great tool for teaching kids about the importance of taking care of our planet.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some awesome Earth Day music lesson ideas that are sure to get your class grooving while also learning about the importance of protecting the environment. From writing eco-anthems to creating nature soundscapes, we’ve got you covered with plenty of engaging and creative ideas to make this year’s Earth Day celebration the most musical and eco-friendly one yet!
So whether you’re a seasoned music teacher or a newbie just starting out, grab your instruments, gather your students, and let’s dive into some fun and educational Earth Day music lessons!
Write an eco-anthem
Encourage your students to get creative and write their own songs about the environment and sustainability. Start by brainstorming ideas for lyrics, such as protecting our forests, conserving water, and reducing waste. Then, guide them through the songwriting process, helping them create catchy choruses and verses. At the end of the unit, have them perform their eco-anthems for the class or record them to make an album to share with the school community. (You could also do this with other social causes, like anti-bullying or ending homelessness.)
Even young students have causes that they’re passionate about. Songwriting can be so empowering. I feel like kids sometimes think that they can’t talk about important topics or affect big change because they’re not adults. That couldn’t be further from the truth! You can read more about the process here! (Or, if you want it done for you, you’re in luck – you can get your scaffolded protest music unit here!)
Make recycled instruments
Making recycled instruments is a great way to teach your students about the importance of recycling and reducing waste while also fostering their creativity and musical abilities. There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating recycled instruments, and you can customize your projects based on your students’ interests and skill levels.
One fun and easy recycled instrument is the bottle cap tambourine. To make one, you’ll need two paper plates, bottle caps, glue, and a stapler. First, have your students decorate one of the paper plates with markers or paint. Then, place bottle caps evenly around the plate and glue them in place. Next, place the second paper plate on top of the first and staple them together around the edges. Finally, instruct your students to shake the tambourine to create a fun percussion sound.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also try making more complex recycled instruments such as guitars, banjos, or maracas. You can find instructions and inspiration for these projects online, or you can come up with your own ideas.
Once the instruments are made, have your students practice playing them individually, then work together as a group to create a unique Earth Day performance. Feel free to add age-appropriate performance requirements like ABA or rondo form. (This also makes a great cross-curricular connection in the form of a science of sound unit!)
Create nature soundscapes
Take your class outside and have them listen to the sounds of nature, such as birds chirping, leaves rustling, and water flowing. This is a great activity to pair with the book The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. The Listening Walk is an oldie but a goodie.
Then, have them use instruments and their voices to create their own nature soundscapes. You can have them work in small groups, each group creating a different soundscape, or have them work together as a class to create one big soundscape. Other extension ideas include figuring out the rhythms for each sound they heard and creating a rhythmic composition that way, using creative movement to represent the sounds in their environment, or even using devices to record the sounds they hear and use them to make a soundscape in a DAW like SoundTrap or GarageBand.
I love how versatile this book is. I’ve even used it for sub plans before! Anyone with seasonal allergies will relate to pollen-induced sick days. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re sniffling and sneezing is writing up sub plans- so I want to share my FREE SUB PLANS with you!
I hope that you’re feeling inspired and excited to bring these Earth Day music lesson ideas to life in your classroom. By incorporating music into your lessons, you’ll be able to create a fun and engaging learning environment that encourages your students to think critically about the environment and their role in protecting it. By working together to create music that celebrates the beauty and diversity of our planet, we can inspire future generations to become stewards of the environment and make a positive impact on our world.