Many activities include
this symbol so you can quickly
see that the activity is best
conducted outside. Most indoor
activities can be adapted for the
outdoors with minimal effort.
activity title: the titles are
short descriptions of the activity.
A complete list of activities can
be found in the table of contents.
Background: this information
tells you about the content and
direction of the activity and relates
it to the particular environmental
topic. activity goals: this is a short
list of goals for the activity. they
are not specific assessment
measures (for example, “student
can describe the water cycle”) but
instead are statements containing
words like explore, discover, and
experiment. While these goals
may seem less academic than
you are accustomed to, bear in
mind that a very important part
of early childhood education is
developing certain core habits
of mind, such as exploring, dis-
covering, questioning, and trying
new things. the activity goals are
designed to support the develop-
ment of these habits.
National science education
standards: the specific Nation-
al Science Education Standards
that are potentially addressed by
each activity are named here. If
your goal is to address standards
with these activities, be sure to
read through the standard as well
as the entire activity and think
about how you will bring in the
standard that is listed. A sum-
mary of the standards is provided
in appendix A at the end of this
book. You may need to make an
intentional effort to ensure that
the children make the required
connection for each standard. For
example, to address the standard
“properties of earth materials”
the children need to observe and
describe earth materials, such as
mud, rocks, or water.
AGE AGES S
4 Dark colors absorb heat and light, whereas light colors reﬂect heat and light. In this activity, children
will use thermometers to measure temperature diﬀerences for diﬀerent colors. Understanding the eﬀect
that color can have on temperature can help children later understand why some parts of the Earth are
warmer than others. This activity will also help children understand that dressing in darker colors will
keep them warmer and lighter colors will keep them cooler.
To use thermometers and compare how dark and
light colors eﬀect the temperature of water
To experience the eﬀect of an object’s color on its
temperature National Science Education Standards
Physical science: light, heat, electricity, and
magnetism Materials and Supplies
Three clear containers ﬁlled two-thirds full with
water Black paper
3. Place each container in a sunny spot, arranging the
wrapped containers so that the sun shines directly
on the uncovered side and easily passes through to
4. After thirty to sixty minutes, return to the contain-
ers and measure the temperature in each container.
age range: the activities in
this book are designed for chil-
dren ages three through eight.
Some activities target a specific
age range within that spectrum.
Some also include Extra Chal-
lenge connections, which can
help you expand the activity for
older children. the extension can
be found at the end of an activity,
5. Record and compare the results.
TIPS Empty glass jars work well, but use caution
• Provide pictures of diﬀerent types of homes and
buildings. For example, homes on some islands in
Greece (where it is hot and very sunny) are all white
to better reﬂect the sun’s heat. Many homes in
North America have black or dark gray shingles on
the rooftops. Explore how the color of one’s roof
or home can aﬀect its temperature.
• Have children ﬁll the containers with water ahead
of time to help prepare for this activity.
Tape safety Note: this
symbol is used at various
points in the activities to
highlight safety considerations.
CONNECTIONS White paper
Chart paper and a marker
Procedure 1. With the children, use the thermometer to measure
the temperature of each container of water and
record the temperature on the chart paper.
Ask the children what they noticed about the
temperature diﬀerences and why they think the
temperatures were diﬀerent for each container. Have
them explain what the activity can teach them about
dressing for warm or cool weather.
2. Tape white paper to the side of one container, tape
black paper to the side of another container, and
leave the third container as is.
Weather, Climate, and Energy
Materials and supplies:
this is a list of all necessary
materials and supplies. Obvious
things (tables, chairs, smocks,
and so on), however, are left out,
as it is assumed that you will
automatically include these items
175 procedure: this is a detailed,
step-by-step list of the process
for introducing and proceeding
through each activity. this
section also may contain sug-
gested questions to ask to sup-
tips: this includes general
information to help make the
activity run more smoothly. It
may include things to watch out
for, suggestions for how to obtain
materials, or steps to prepare
ahead of time. It also may include
tips for adapting the activity for
children with special needs.
Connections: these are ideas
for connecting the activity to
other disciplines: Science, Liter-
acy, Creative Art, and Extra Chal-
lenge (shown in order from left to
Not all activities have all con-
nections. this does not mean the
activity doesn’t connect to other
disciplines. Use your creativity
and experience to draw connec-
tions between subjects.
Creating a Greener Earth