Skip to main content

Celebrate Earth Day 2015 with GIS Classroom Activities

Celebrating a special event like Earth Day is a great way to discuss and explore important issues with your students. Find out how you can use ArcGIS Online to cover topics like sustainability, resource management, the environment and other topics that may affect your local community and beyond.

Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world that’s celebrated annually on April 22nd. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of sustaining the planet we live on for future generations.

Since it’s around the corner, maybe you're looking for ideas on how to celebrate this important day. Here are several activiities using ArcGIS Online—listed by user level—to help get your lesson planning juices flowing.

For New ArcGIS Online Users

Explore maps and apps with themes related to the Earth, nature, resources and sustainability. Teachers can assign questions to their students for homework based on the themes presented on the map or app of choice. Here are some examples:

Use the Creating Features in ArcGIS Online tutorial to:

  • Create a map of marine-protected areas in Canada and include information and Web links for each area, or
  • Create a map about an environmental issue in your city.

Explore some important environmental issues on Earth Day using maps, such as Global Water Access map by Esri Canada.

For Existing ArcGIS Online Users

If you’ve been using your ArcGIS Online subscription, it’s time to try something new. How about trying one of these ideas?

  • Start collecting data around your school or neighbourhood using Collector for ArcGIS. Find out how to get started using this tutorial and check out how a teacher from Manitoba used it for a field investigation (see fourth paragraph).
  • Create a collaborative map with your class showing environmentally sensitive areas in the world.
  • Create a story map of something important to you that exists in nature, like an animal, plant or a place.

We'd like to learn more about what you’re doing on Earth Day. Share your plans with us by adding your event to our map or by adding a comment below.

To find more ArcGIS Online resources, go to

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander