The Language of Content

Articles from the Speak Agent team that provide classroom resources, implementation strategies, research-based perspectives, and updates regarding our Content+LanguageSM platform.

Celebrating Earth Day: History of the Holiday, Resources & Activities

April 21, 2023 | Leah Claflin |

Every year on April 22, millions of people celebrate Earth Day. We participate in the holiday as a worldwide community, but that initial awareness around environmental issues often starts in the classroom. We’ve put together a brief history, created a Speak Agent special lesson for our customers, and compiled other resources that you can use with your students to help celebrate!

The History Behind Earth Day: 

Earth Day began in 1970 due to the large amounts of leaded gas consumed by Americans daily. Air pollution from inefficient vehicles and many other industrial factors were issues that went largely unaddressed at the time, and many citizens were oblivious to its harm to the environment and people's health. 

Square logo with male and female agents (2)The first Earth Day celebration began in the United States on April 22, 1970. This initial celebration was organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin. He was inspired after a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, proposed the idea for a teach-in on college campuses, and found other politicians and activists to help him in his cause. 

That first Earth Day celebration inspired 20 million Americans (10% of the population at the time), to protest the negative effects of the industrial development that was previously celebrated. Politicians came together to address these environmental issues and helped to create the US Environmental Protection Agency along with creating laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

The holiday was a major success and quickly expanded to countries around the world organizing their own celebrations. In 1990, Earth Day became a global holiday and has continued to expand and evolve, tackling many other environmental issues including single-use plastics, deforestation, climate change, and more. Each year's holiday has a theme, and this year the theme is “Invest in Our Planet” in hopes of inspiring individuals as well as businesses and governments to make a positive change for our future generations by reducing carbon emissions. 

Speak Agent Celebrates Earth Day with Supplemental Lessons!

Do you need a fun classroom activity to help celebrate Earth Day with your students? Speak Agent has crafted two supplemental lessons to help you teach your students all about Earth Day! The activities in each lesson include: 

  • Tall Tales: A History Of Earth DayScreenshot 2023-04-19 at 2.40.32 PM (2)
  • Read Along: How Is Earth Day Celebrated In Other Countries?
  • Diagram It: What Can You Do To Help Protect The Earth? 
  • Diagram It: Reflections On What You Learned

Other Earth Day Resources: 

  • National Geographic Kids, History of Earth Day: Tips to help kids celebrate while helping our planet.
  • The World Wildlife Foundation: Educator Toolkits has toolkits available for various age groups that teach about different animals and ecosystems. 
  • offers this guide from 2021 that lists some free resources including games and activities, printables, infographics, and reading resources for the classroom. 
  • TeacherVision offers Earth Day Printables, Lessons, and Worksheets

We hope you enjoy these resources from Speak Agent and around the web. How will you be celebrating Earth Day with your students? Let us know

Leah Claflin

Written by Leah Claflin

Leah Claflin is an experienced EdTech marketing and communications professional with a passion for accelerating learning and serving K-12 educator communities. She has worked as a marketing consultant in her home state of Minnesota, where she lives with her husband Charlie and Cat, Lucy. Leah loves spending time outdoors, reading, writing, and landscape photography. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts and was a finalist for the 2020 "Boston in 100 words" competition.