Your Parenting Info Sign Up

Earth Day Swap Meet for Tweens

by Ronald A. Rowe | April 16th, 2015 | Seasonal, Tweens

earth dayIt can be tough to get Middle Schoolers excited about anything other than pop stars and video games.  Tweens are bombarded with so many options that are forcing them to focus on anything other than that which is required for school and that which seems like fun can be a real challenge.  With Earth Day fast approaching, here are some thoughts and suggestions for getting your Middle School students to notice and participate in the annual observance.

Earth Day is all about caring for the environment.  One important aspect of that care is learning to live sustainably.  That concept encompasses the three R’s of Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.  Ten, eleven, and twelve year olds may not be interested in the classics like can drives and pizza box ovens.  But there is a sustainability lesson that Tweens will not only tolerate but can actually embrace.  Hold a Swap Meet.

A Swap Meet is a natural fusion of good sustainable practices and the things that interest Tweens.  Simply put, each student is encouraged to bring in an item or items that they no longer want and look to trade it with someone else for something that they do want. Tweens will latch on to this activity like a competitive sport.  The younger students have the opportunity to grab hold of some goodies being cast off by the soon-to-be High Schoolers currently in the eighth grade.  Each student has the opportunity to take something that they consider to be of little-to no worth and transform it into something that they covet.

Played correctly, a school-wide Swap Meet can come off as an enjoyable recreational activity.  Tweens will get a chance to barter and haggle and come away with a treasure in exchange for their trash.   Kids won’t even realize that they are learning a valuable lesson about sustainable living until you tell them.   Once kids see the personal benefit of reuse, it isn’t a far leap to open their eyes to the global benefits of the practice.

There are a number of great videos on reuse and repurposing that you can use in conjunction with this lesson.  “Landfill Harmonic” is just over 3 minutes long (perfect for the attention span of a Tween) yet it packs a powerful message.  I would highly recommend this video, which you can view for free on YouTube.   Whether you use videos or other teaching tools, be sure that the Swap Meet is just the beginning of the lesson.  It is a wonderful base upon which to build understanding about Earth Day and sustainable living but it does require some intentional follow up to drive the point home and get kids thinking about other applications of these principles in their daily lives.

Comments on Earth Day Swap Meet for Tweens