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FCPS Earth Week

April 17-20, 2018

FCPS Get2Green is excited to announce Earth Week 2018! Earth Week is a division-wide event to foster conversation and learning about environmental topics that are essential in developing students as ethical and global citizens who are stewards of their environment.  This page contains resources for each day, including a color theme, joke of the day, fun facts, discussion questions, and activities.  You choose how you want to participate.


Share how you are participating in Earth Week at your school on Twitter @FCPSGet2Green using #FCPSEarthWeek.


Suggestions for a successful #FCPSEarthWeek:


  • Advertise each day’s theme and color to your school.

  • Share the joke of the day and fun facts on your morning announcements.

  • Tweet daily to @FCPSGet2Green using #FCPSEarthWeek to share what your school is doing for Earth Week.

  • Encourage critical thinking skills when discussing stewardship questions as warm up, small group, or whole class discussion.

  • Engage in an activity or action - whether it's one of our recommendations or your own idea, there are lots of ways to engage students on each day of Earth Week.



light bulb

Energy Day – Tuesday, April 17

Color: Show your Earth Week Spirit by wearing YELLOW to school today!


Joke of the Day
Q: What is a renewable energy source that is used every day at your school?
A: Brain power!


Fun Facts

  • FCPS spends over $33 million on energy each year.

  • K-12 school districts in the United States spend $6 billion on energy annually. [source]

  • In some parts of the world, cow dung is used to create energy. [source]

  • Natural gas, nuclear, and coal provide most of Virginia's energy, although Virginia also generates energy from biomass, hydropower, and other renewable energy sources. [source]


Stewardship Discussion Questions

  • How do you use energy in your everyday life?

  • What have you done at home to save energy and what can you do better?

  • The last time your power went out, what were some things you needed and couldn't use? What were some things you wanted and couldn't use? What did you enjoy about not having power?


Activities and Actions

  • Use the Energy Dashboard to find how much energy your school uses. How does your school's energy usage compare to other schools?

  • Turn off the classroom lights during morning announcements.

  • Use the sun to light your class. Open the shades and use daylight instead of lights for class. If your room doesn't have windows, try turning off half of the lights.

  • Discover where your energy comes from by watching the Science Museum of Virginia's video about what powers our world today and in the future.

  • Find your ecological or carbon footprint.

  • Create small reminders to post by light switches reminding people to turn off the lights when they leave the room.

  • Learn how cow manure is being used to create energy in this video.

  • Complete an Energy Audit to investigate how your school uses energy.



water drop

Water Day – Wednesday, April 18


Color: Show your Earth Week Spirit by wearing BLUE to school today!


Joke of the Day:
Q: What did the ocean say to the beach?
A: Nothing, it just waved!


Fun Facts:

  • Only 1% of the Earth's water supply is fresh water available for human needs. Saltwater sources make up 97% of the Earth's water supply and another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. [source]

  • The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water per day. [source]

  • In Fairfax County, a year of drinking water from the tap costs $0.54 (assuming you drink half a gallon of water a day). A year of drinking bottled water costs at least $1,000 a year! [source]

  • Fairfax County is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is home to over 18 million people and 3,600 species of plants and animals from Virginia to New York. [source]

Stewardship Discussion Questions

  • What do you do every day that requires water?

  • How can you use water more efficiently at your school? How can you use water more efficiently at home?

  • Compare and contrast how humans, wildlife, and plants use water.

  • What is a watershed? How can you keep your watershed clean and healthy?


Activities and Actions

  • Use the Energy Dashboard to find how much water your school uses. How does your school's water usage compare to other schools?

  • Calculate your Water Footprint.

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to school.

  • Watch this What Is A Watershed? video to learn what a watershed is and whether you live in one.

  • Fairfax County is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but there are smaller watersheds within Fairfax County. In which watershed is your school? What about your home? Find out on Fairfax County's Watersheds map.

  • Think of ways you can conserve water or protect your watershed. Create rain drops outside with sidewalk chalk or inside with paper and write your water conservation ideas inside them.

  • Use the USGS Water Science Activity Center to learn how much water falls during a storm, how much water it takes to make different products, and how much water a dripping faucet wastes in a year.

  • Consider painting a storm drain on your school grounds. You will need to read and fill out the Storm Drain Marking & Painting Agreement first.

  • Conduct a Water or Watersheds audit to see how your school is doing on conserving water and promoting a healthy watershed.



Consumption and Waste Day – Thursday, April 19


Color: Show your Earth Week Spirit by wearing RED to school today!


Joke of the Day:
Q: Why did the chicken carry the plastic bottle across the road?
A: To get to the recycling bin.


Fun Facts: Use these on morning announcements or in class today.

  • Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot wall from Seattle to New York City. [source]

  • Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one tree. [source]

  • More than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans each year. That is the equivalent of emptying a garbage truck of plastic every minute. [source]

  • Some of Fairfax County's trash goes to the Covanta Energy-from-Waste Facility where it is burned to create electricity to power 80,000 homes. [source]


Stewardship Discussion Questions

  • Do you think it is important to minimize the amount of waste you create? Why or why not?

  • How can you reduce waste at home and at school?

  • What is something that is commonly thrown away? How could you reuse or repurpose this?

  • Why do you think people litter? How could you persuade someone not to litter?


Activities and Actions

  • Use the Recycling Dashboard to find the number of pounds your school throws in the trash and recycling. How does your school's waste compare to other schools?

  • Look at the recycle poster and the waste to energy poster. Look in the recycle bin--is there anything that does not belong there? Look in the garbage--can anything be put in the recycle bin?

  • Make a 3D poster of items that can be recycled in FCPS. Use the FCPS Get2Green website for help.

  • Make today a school cleanup day.  Walk around your school grounds and pick up any trash you find. Don't forget to put recyclable items in the recycle bin.

  • Make your own school video to promote recycling or to help prevent littering.

  • Did you know some of Fairfax County's waste is burned for energy? Take a virtual tour (3:56) of Covanta's Energy-From-Waste facility.

  • Watch this TED-Ed video about how plastic bottles are made and what happens to them after we use them.

  • How is your school doing at reducing waste? Conduct a Consumption and Waste audit to investigate.

  • Make your own upcycled art. For inspiration, explore how artist Chris Jordan uses individual pieces of ocean trash to create his artwork.




The Great Outdoors – Friday, April 20


Color: Show your Earth Week Spirit by wearing GREEN to school today!


Joke of the Day:
Q: Why couldn't the farmer find his way out of the corn field?
A: He was in the middle of a maize.


Fun Facts: Use these on morning announcements or in class today.

  • People who spend time in nature have better focus, lower stress, increased energy levels, and improved mood. [source]

  • There are more than 75 native tree species in Virginia. Trees help clean our air, provide us with oxygen, clean our drinking water, provide us with shade, help us save energy, and support wildlife. [source 1, source 2]

  • One out of every three bites of food you eat exists due to pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, and other insects. Many of these pollinators are in trouble because of habitat loss, disease, and chemical contaminants in the environment. [source]

  • There are 1.4 billion insects per person on this planet and we need (almost) every one of them. [source]


Stewardship Discussion Questions

  • How do you feel when you spend time in nature?

  • What is your favorite memory of being in the great outdoors? What makes that memory stand out to you?

  • How could you make outdoor spaces friendlier to wildlife?


Activities and Actions

  • Read outside. If it's a nice day, take a book outside and read.

  • Write outside. Take a notebook and pencil and write some poems, a journal entry, or anything you want in nature.

  • Take a nature walk! Walk your school grounds and make observations. How have people changed the environment (man-made structures, landscaping, etc.). What kinds of plants or animals do you see?

  • Create nature-inspired art. Go outside and create art inspired by what you see. Use chalk to draw on sidewalks or the blacktop, draw on a pad of paper, or take pictures. Set your imagination free!

  • Why is biodiversity so important? Find out in this TED-Ed video (4:18).

  • Should we eat more bugs? More than a quarter of the world's population eats bugs. Learn more in this video (1:39).

  • Learn about biodiversity research happening at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Life in One Cubic Foot (29:15).





Join the fun on Twitter – tweet @FCPSGet2Green and use #FCPSEarthWeek to tag your posts!