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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Celebrate Earth Day!

Gail Skroback Hennessey
Did You Know?
1. Scientists say that it takes about 500 years for plastic to decompose.
2. The Ring of Fire located in the Pacific Ocean is the largest zone of active volcanoes. 75% of the world’s volcanoes are here!
3. There is enough salt in the oceans that if you could collect all of it and spread it, it would cover all the continents in 5 ft. (1.5m) of salt.
4. Scientists say the earth travels at 66,700 mph through space or 18.5 miles per second!
5. The name "Earth" is the only planet named for an Angle Saxon word ("erda") and not from Greek or Roman mythology.
6. In 1961, the first man in space, Russian Yuri Gagarin, was the first to call Earth, “the Blue Planet”.
7. Scientists say that the average person makes about four pounds(1.8kg) of garbage every day!
8. Did you know you are heavier in certain places on Earth? There is less gravity near the coast of India and more gravity in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean.
9. The earth isn’t round. It is an oblate spheroid, or “pear shaped”.
10. It is estimated that the earth weighs about 6, 588,000,000,000 million tons.
11. 25,000,000 plastic bottles are thrown away every hour in the United States. You read correctly!
12. Don’t throw away the tinfoil of a Hershey’s Kiss. About 133 sq. miles of tinfoil are used to wrap 20,000,000 of the sweet treats every day!
13. Yellowstone National Park, was the world’s first national park. It was established in 1872.
14. The Peace Bell, rung at the United Nations every Earth Day, was made from coins collected by kids in Japan to promote peace on Earth.
15. Scientists say that the jellyfish is older than the dinosaur and dates back at least 650 million years.
16. One recycled aluminum can saves enough energy for a television to run for three hours.
17. Scientists say there are more living organisms in just ONE tablespoon of soil than all the people living on the earth(and that’s over 7.4 billion people)
18. One inch of topsoil, the very most fertile layer of soil, takes over 500 years to create.
19. Seen from outer space, the Great Barrier Reef(off the coast of Queensland, Australia), is called the “single largest animal being of the world”.
10. Mt. Trashmore, in Virginia Beach,VA, is a hill 60 ft(18 m high) 800 ft, long( 240m) made from trash.(That’s why it’s called Mt. Trashmore!)
Extension Activities:
1. Illustrate one of the Did You Know? facts.
2. Have kids select a photograph of the earth from space and write a paragraph as to what they see. See here:
3. Discuss Haiku(3 line poem with 5-7-5 syllable pattern). Write a Haiku about Earth day or something about the earth(trees, ocean, river, trash, etc.)
Links for teachers: 
World Population Clock  Very cool! See the world population continue to grow every second!
Additional resources:
1. NOT JUST FOR EARTH DAY.  Learn about the history of Earth Day and, our planet, EARTH, with this informative web quest. There are 15 web questions as well as comprehension questions and a Did You Know? fun fact section. The teacher page includes extension activities, the key, and additional links. Great for a Friday activity!
2. Scientists plan to measure Mt. Everest to see if the mountain shrank a bit after the 2015 earthquake in the country of Nepal. Read the Article Learn about Mt. Everest, Nepal and the Yeti with this fun web quest! Activities,interesting facts and comprehension review,too.Skills include:reading for information and using research/computer skills.
3. Learn lots of fun facts with this Exploring the Ocean Blue: A Web quest.There are 9 informative web questions. Fun Facts, comprehension questions,extension activities,links.Use as part of a unit on oceans,a Friday activity for a Friday or before a vacation.Skills include:reading for information and using research/computer skills.
4. Studying the ocean? Looking for a resource for Earth Day or World Ocean Day? Introduce your students to Jacques Cousteau with this informative Reader's Theater Script. Oceanographer, photographer, scientist, inventor, writer and filmmaker, Cousteau spent his life studying the oceans and the marine life that lived in the oceans. Part of Ms. Bie Ografee Talk Show Series(extensions/comprehension questions, Did You Know?, key) 
5. Antarctica! Geographical web quest which introduces kids to the continent of Antarctica. There are 10 web quests(with lots of information in the questions), 14 Did You Know? facts, comprehension questions(including several "thought question"), a teacher page with a number of extension activities, additional links and key.