Stories for Earth Day

Story Activities for Earth Day

Are you looking for some high-interest stories for this Earth Day? Four stories including two animated shorts and two picture books will have your students diving more deeply into reading skills.

Stories for Earth Day #1 – Animated Short Migrant

Animated Shorts for Earth Day or Any Day

The short film Migrant was inspired by real events. In 2018, a ship named the Aquarius carrying 600 migrants tried to dock in Italy. The government refused their entry. Spain agreed to take the migrants. 

This student-created film touches on two hot topics of the time (migrants and global warming) all with cute cuddly polar bears. This short film is sure to stir interesting classroom discussions.

A practice exercise in which students complete a problem and solution chain with details from this story is provided.

All handouts including the link for the Google Slide student packet for this post are included in this one handout. 

Story #2 – Animated Short Save the Earth – Robot and Little Bird

Save the Earth - Robot and Little Bird

Students practice foreshadowing, flashbacks, predictions, and summarizing skills using the animated short Save the Earth – Robot and Little Bird.

Set in the future, Earth has recovered from a terrible war. She has returned to her lush healthy self after being nearly destroyed. A bird uncovers a robot from days past. The robot struggles between following the instructions that have been programmed into him or enjoying a peaceful life with his newfound friend.

Stories for Earth Day #3 – Picture Book We are Water Protectors

Short Stories for Earth Day or Any Day

This picture book contains a powerful message from the Indigenous people in North America warning of a big black snake (the oil pipeline) that will harm the water.

The book level is quite easy with an Accelerated Reader Level  of 1.9 and a Lexile® Measure: AD510L. Even though the text is quite simple, the message is an important one for young and older elementary students.

Students answer a series of questions about this story including:

  • explaining the author’s purpose
  • identifying figurative phrases
  • defining the word steward
  • explaining the metaphor of the black snake for the oil pipeline

Story #4 – Picture Book Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

Favio Chávez' Trash Band

Based on a true story, this book tells how Favio Chávez moved to Ada’s town next to a trash dump. When ten students turn up to take Chávez’s music class, he doesn’t have enough instruments.

So, what would a person living in a town that makes a living recycling and selling trash do? He does what the locals are doing. Chávez asks two locals, Nicolas “Cola” Gomez and Tito Romero, to help him make instruments for his students. They look through the trash piles to find materials that will make just the right sounds. In just a few years, the orchestra is good enough to travel around the world performing with their “found objects” instruments.

This story presents a powerful message about working to achieve your goals. 

Students summarize this story. Discussion questions are also included. In the handout, you will find links to a couple news clips about the orchestra. Watching a news clip after reading the story would be a great way for students to compare the fictional account to the real one.  

Getting the Materials

Short Stories for Earth Day or Any Day

If you missed the handout link above, here it is again.

Gay Miller

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