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22 Fun and Engaging Earth Day Projects For 4th Graders

Check out these Earth Day projects for 4th graders. Earth Day literature comprehension activities and ideas for picture books for 4th grade. Poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction Earth Day books for kids to teach about environmental science, animals, habitats, national parks, conservation, and more! Get some inspiration for Earth Day projects for your 4th graders with books!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Earth Day Projects For 4th Graders

These books are great for jumping into Earth Day projects about a variety of subjects. You’ll get plenty of Earth Day project ideas for 4th graders with these books!

Outside In by Deborah Underwood

Outside is waiting, the most patient playmate of all. The most generous friend. The most miraculous inventor. This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores our powerful and enduring connection with nature, not so easily obscured by lives spent indoors.
Rhythmic, powerful language shows us how our world is made and the many ways Outside comes in to help and heal us, and reminds us that we are all part of a much greater universe. Emotive illustrations evoke the beauty, simplicity, and wonder that await us all . . . outside.

The Boy Who Grew a Forest by Sophia Gholz

As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction deforestation and erosion was causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River. So he began planting trees. What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals. The Boy Who Grew a Forest tells the inspiring true story of Payeng–and reminds us all of the difference a single person with a big idea can make. Sometimes to solve a problem, it takes a little bit of effort over a long period of time. A great book for Earth Day or Arbor Day.

Check out these Earth Day projects for 4th graders. Earth Day literature comprehension activities and ideas for picture books for 4th grade. Poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction Earth Day books for kids to teach about environmental science, animals, habitats, national parks, conservation, and more! Get some inspiration for Earth Day projects for your 4th graders with books!
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Saving American Beach by Heidi Tyline King

This woman did everything in her power to save one beach. Sometimes saving the entire world is daunting to students. How could they save one small piece of Earth in their community? If each person helps protect one small piece of Earth, it makes a big change.

MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach–most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach.

After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Saving American Beach HERE

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel

A Stone Sat Still tells the story of a seemingly ordinary rock—but to the animals that use it, it is a resting place, a kitchen, a safe haven…even an entire world. This is a gorgeous exploration of perspective, perception, and the passage of time, with an underlying environmental message that is timely and poignant.

This book, along with Grand Canyon, provides a great book for talking about how the rock (and Earth) change over time and what factors contribute to that change.

Get the lesson plan and activities for A Stone Sat Still HERE

One Little Bag by Henry Cole

From a tall tree growing in the forest–to the checkout counter at the grocery store–one little bag finds its way into the hands of a young boy on the eve of his first day of school.

And so begins an incredible journey of one little bag that is usedand reusedand reused again.

In a three-generation family, the bag is transporter of objects and keeper of memories. And when Grandfather comes to the end of his life, the family finds a meaningful new way for the battered, but much-loved little bag to continue its journey in the circle of life. A great story for Earth Day to talk about recycling.

What things do your students use once and then throw away? How could they reuse those things? Encourage each student to think about reusing SOMETHING.

Get the lesson plan and activities for One Little Bag HERE

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Get the lesson plan and activities for We Are Water Protectors HERE

Energy Island by Allan Drummond

At a time when most countries are producing ever-increasing amounts of CO2, the rather ordinary citizens of Samsø have accomplished something extraordinary―in just ten years they have reduced their carbon emissions by 140% and become almost completely energy independent. A narrative tale and a science book in one, this inspiring true story proves that with a little hard work and a big idea, anyone can make a huge step toward energy conservation.

Small changes are all it can take. How could your students make small changes to save energy like this community? A ride your bike to school day? Learning about ways that they could use less energy at home or school?

Get the lesson plan and activities for Energy Island HERE

Green City by Allan Drummond

In 2007, a tornado destroyed Greensburg, Kansas, and the residents, amidst their grief, were at a loss as to what to do next–they didn’t want to rebuild if their small town would just be destroyed in another storm. So they decided they wouldn’t just rebuild the same old thing; this time, they would build a town that could not only survive another storm, but one that was built in an environmentally sustainable way. Told from the point of view of a child whose family rebuilt after the storm, this companion to Energy Island is the inspiring story of the difference one community can make–and it includes plenty of rebuilding scenes and details for construction lovers, too! A beautiful story about how one town took tragedy and took themselves into the future.

How could your students make a more eco-friendly change for their community? It takes a village to make a change and it can start with your classroom!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Green City HERE

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Rivers wind through earth, cutting down and eroding the soil for millions of years, creating a cavity in the ground 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and more than a mile deep known as the Grand Canyon. Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past.

Weave in and out of time as perfectly placed die cuts show you that a fossil today was a creature much long ago, perhaps in a completely different environment. Complete with a spectacular double gatefold, an intricate map and extensive back matter. This is one of my favorite read aloud books for 4th grade because of the connections to science you can make as well as environmental studies for Earth Day.

A great project for this would be to recreate the geological layers in the Grand Canyon and the many habitats that they create at each level.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Grand Canyon HERE

Manfish by Jennifer Berne

Before Jacques Cousteau became an internationally known oceanographer and champion of the seas, he was a curious little boy. In this lovely biography, poetic text and gorgeous paintings combine to create a portrait of Jacques Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.

Joan Procter Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.

Shark Lady by Jess Keating

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to. A great book about women in science and to encourage the budding marine biologist in your students!

The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock

Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation’s history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood

Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option…until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation. This is a truly inspiring diverse picture book that works for a variety of topics like Hispanic Heritage Month or Earthy Day.

A fun opportunity for students to create their own recycled orchestra from materials they otherwise would have thrown away.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Ada’s Violin HERE

Honeybee by Candace Fleming

A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet! Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. And finally, she begins her new life as an adventurer. The confining walls of the hive fall away as Apis takes to the air, finally free, in a brilliant double-gatefold illustration where the clear blue sky is full of promise– and the wings of dozens of honeybees, heading out in search of nectar to bring back to the hive.

The back matter provides great detail about honeybees. Students can create signs for classmates about protecting bees, as many are apt to swatting or just plain being afraid of them.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Honeybee HERE

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate this gorgeous picture book about a man who exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works. With it also being published in Spanish, it’s also one of my favorite Spanish children’s books!

This book, with its persuasive writing, is great for giving students examples of how to write persuasively. Perhaps a letter to a community leader or a poster for school about protecting our planet?

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Great Kapok Tree HERE

Mario and the Hole in the Sky by Elizabeth Rusch

The true story of how a scientist saved the planet from environmental disaster.

Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned–and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

This book, I just love to read and enjoy. There’s something about Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical style that just makes me smile and has kids in stitches. This book is a brilliant look at our planet that is perfect for the primary grades to give them a little bit better understanding of our world. A book that just breathes fun and wonder.

And, as in all of my good buddy Oliver Jeffers’s books, it’s in Spanish as Aqui estamos.

This book, with it’s amazing art, could inspire students to get artistic to illustrate a fun, informative depiction of the Earth like Oliver Jeffers does.

You Are Home by Evan Turk

Beneath the soaring doorways of stone,
and peaks that pierce the ceiling of clouds,
from every river, star, and stone
comes the eternal refrain:
you are home.

In simple, soaring language and breathtaking art, acclaimed author-illustrator Evan Turk has created a stirring ode to nature and nation. From the rugged coast of Maine to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii, You Are Home reminds us that every animal, plant, and person helps make this land a brilliant, beautiful sanctuary of life.

This book provides a great opportunity for students to study different national parks.

Get the lesson plan and activities for You Are Home HERE

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

“Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy.” So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk . . . and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older, he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave.

Much like the tree, our planet gives and gives. How can we as people give back?

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Giving Tree HERE

Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin

 

Most eight-year-olds are about five times as tall as this book . . . but only half as tall as an ostrich, which is half as tall as a giraffe . . . twenty times smaller than a California Redwood! How do they compare to the tallest buildings? To Mt. Everest? To stars, galaxy clusters, and . . . the universe?

Knowing where we are in the universe and how special our one small planet is can inspire students to not just look at our planet but beyond it.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Your Place in the Universe HERE

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins

The woman in this story saw a problem in her community and completely transformed it. This is a great springboard into brainstorming with your students about how they might impact their community.

Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.

Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.

Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Tree Lady HERE

Best Earth Day Projects For 4th Graders

What are some of your favorite Earth Day projects for 4th graders? Are there any must do Earth Day projects for 4th graders that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Check out these Earth Day projects for 4th graders. Earth Day literature comprehension activities and ideas for picture books for 4th grade. Poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction Earth Day books for kids to teach about environmental science, animals, habitats, national parks, conservation, and more! Get some inspiration for Earth Day projects for your 4th graders with books!
PIN ME!

Other Great 4th Grade Read Aloud Stories

Looking for other great 4th grade read alouds? Here are a few more to explore:

50 Best 4th Grade Read Alouds

42 Narrative Nonfiction Books for 4th Grade

12 New Back to School Books for 4th Grade

30 Black History Month 4th Grade Books

60 Picture Books for 4th Graders

Summer Reading List for 4th Grade

Realistic Fiction Books For 4th Graders

76 New and Noteworthy Read Alouds for 4th Grade

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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