Healthy Earth, Sick Earth

Warm Up:  Introducing the Book

  1. Introduce “Planet Earth Gets Well” to the students by giving a brief description on what the book is about.  Ask them if they have any ideas on how and why Earth might be sick. 


Activity One:  Reading “Planet Earth Gets Well”

  1. Read Madeline Kaplan’s book, “Planet Earth Gets Well,” to your students.  Focus on the comparisons she makes between the way the Earth functions and the way our bodies function (Note: for older grade levels have the students each read a paragraph out loud.  Or, if you have enough books, have them read on their own or in small groups).  Also allow time for each student to see and discuss the illustrations in the book.  


Activity Two:  What did you Learn?

  1. Discuss the book with your students.  Ask them if there was anything that they did not understand. 
  2. Ask students what they learned from the book and write it down using a chalkboard, whiteboard, easel pad, etc.  Use prompt questions such as:

a) Why didn’t the Earth feel well?

b) How was what the Earth had similar to what our bodies do when we are sick?

c) What can we do to help the Earth feel better?

d) What can we do to stop the Earth from feeling sick?

e) What was your favorite thing about the book?


Activity Three:  What Makes the Earth Either Healthy or Sick?

  1. Divide a chalkboard, whiteboard, etc. into two columns and label one “Makes Earth Sick” and the other “Makes Earth Healthy.”
  2. Using Reproducible #1- Healthy Earth, Sick Earth, hold the pictures up one by one and ask students what column it belongs to.  Have them explain why it makes the Earth either healthy or sick and then let them tape the picture underneath the proper column.
  3. After you have finished, go through each column with students and review what they placed on each side.  Have them double check to make sure everything was put on the right side.  


Wrap Up:  Putting it into Words and Pictures

  1. Have students write down, draw a picture, or share with the class one thing that they are going to do in the next week to help the earth be healthy. 
  2. Display any work they did around the classroom as a reminder of what they can do to keep the Earth healthy. 


Extension:  Taking Action

Have your students brainstorm some things that they can do around the classroom (or even the entire school) to help Earth be healthy.  Can you recycle?  Use less water?  Reduce waste and conserve the amount of supplies you use?  Have them create posters to display around the classroom that remind them to recycle, conserve, etc. (for example, hang one by the sink to that encourages using less water).



By reading and discussing the book “Planet Earth Gets Well” by Madeline Kaplan, students will learn the basics of global warming through Kaplan’s description of Earth as a sick child.  They will also learn simple actions and choices they can make to keep Earth healthy and make it a safe place for us to live.