Free Lesson Plans for Earth Month 2023

April is Earth Month, a great time to delve into rich content about environmental themes. That’s why we are offering four free science lesson plans from Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry, spanning grades 2–5, that you can download directly from this page.

Each lesson plan has a complete set of interpretive activities. We encourage you to:

  • Conduct the prereading activity, asking students key questions that prepare them for the text they are about to read.
  • Read the selection aloud to students. Then, open the floor for a sharing questions activity to see what confused students most and what interested students most.
  • Continue with a second reading and Shared Inquiry™ discussion, if you have some experience with Junior Great Books®. Question prompts for both of these activities are included in the sample lesson plans.
  • Examine the Check Your Understanding quiz at the end of each unit, as well as the writing supports and Further Investigation ideas, so you can gain an appreciation for all Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry has to offer.

Selection Description Grade Level
Why We Need Bees In this unit, you’ll read about why bees are important and how people are working to help keep them safe and healthy. 2
Egg-cellent Bird Parents Read about the things bird parents do to protect their eggs and their babies. 3
Leave It to Beavers? This selection examines the reasons humans build dams and the researched effects dams have on ecosystems, the water cycle, and Earth’s climate. 4
Roads Take a Toll on Wildlife Read about how building roads can help human beings but can harm plants, animals, and the habitats they live in. 5

Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry, for students in grades 2–5, is full of interesting selections that students love to investigate and discuss. All Nonfiction Inquiry Teacher’s Editions include tables showing the content area and focus for each text. They also include Text-to-Text Connection prompts that allow students to compare and contrast a related text from the corresponding Junior Great Books fiction series.

Get Started Today

If you’d like to engage your students in discussions and activities about thought-provoking nonfiction texts that explore contemporary and historical issues—and align with national social studies and science standards—take a look at Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry! Schedule a quick meeting with your K–12 partnership manager to discuss the materials and Shared Inquiry training you’ll need to bring this exciting program to your classroom.