This beautifully illustrated picture book follows ‘Earth’ after she wakes up from her winter nap. The story takes you along with Earth as she follows the cawing crows, tunneling moles, and hibernating bears through the four seasons until it is time for her winter nap again. This picture book can spark meaningful conversations in both younger and older students.
Why use this book?
- Highlights how animals, people and the environment are interconnected and how we all depend on everyone doing their part to ensure a healthy coexistence.
- Showcases how all species, including insects, depend on ecosystems to meet their needs and highlights the importance of protecting the environment.
Animal Welfare Considerations:
- The book depicts ‘Earth’ illustrated as a human interacting with wildlife in unrealistic/unsafe ways (riding an albatross, hugging a chimpanzee, riding a zebra, etc.). Remind students that the human depicted in the story is a metaphor for earth or nature (people should avoid interaction with wildlife!).
Ask your Students:
- Who is ‘my friend Earth’? Who does ‘my friend Earth’ represent?
- How do people and animals depend on nature to meet their needs?
- How do people impact nature?
- The story mentions “flooding towns and meadows and roads” as well as “blows fierce autumn winds, sweeping the limbs of trees and shingles from the roofs of barns.” What are some consequences of these natural events on people? Wildlife? Domestic animals (pets and farm animals)? And the environment?
- How can people help lessen the impact of these consequences?
- Surviving the Four Seasons – Unlike domestic animals (pets and farm) wild animals do not depend on people to meet their needs. In fact, the way people can best care for wildlife is by leaving them alone and protecting their habitat. Wildlife species native to Alberta are able to meet their needs throughout the four seasons, in unique ways. As a class, watch the Alberta SPCA video “How Do Chickadees Survive the Winter” (0:47). Have students pick a wild animal that can be found in Alberta and research how they survive throughout the year, especially in the cold winter months.
- Protect the Environment – As a class, brainstorm a list of ways people can protect their environment. Encourage students to think of tangible things they and their family can do in their community to make an impact (picking up litter, reusing items, walking/biking when able, planting native species of plants to attract pollinators, etc)! Once the list is complete, have students make posters to hang in the school to encourage others to protect their shared environment.
- Web of Life Activity: For this activity you will need a ball of yarn and index cards (one/student). As a class brainstorm a list of parts of a natural environment, including both living (i.e.: plants and animals) and non-living things (i.e: rain/rivers, rocks, sun), for the number of students in your class. Next hand out blank index cards to students and have them take turns selecting an item off of the list and writing the name of it on the index card provided -each student must pick a different item! (Alternatively, you could fill in index cards in advance and hand them out to students). Then have students sit in a circle with their index cards. Give the student with the ‘tree’ card a ball of yarn and have them begin the game by tossing the ball to someone else in the circle, while holding on to the end of the string. Whoever catches the ball has to explain how their living or nonliving thing is connected to, or interacts with, the tree – if students get stuck encourage the class to help them out. Then the student with the ball of yarn tosses it to another student – that student connects their item to the 2nd student’s item. The game continues until everyone has caught the ball of yarn and you have a web of interconnectedness between the students (or continue playing to demonstrate more connections!). Once you are done creating the web, ask students, what does the web represent? Predict what would happen if we removed one of the items from the web? Then ask one of your students to drop their part of the web and describe what happened. What would happen to the other living/non-living things if we removed one of the parts of the web? How would this impact the environment overall? What can people do to make protect all elements of the web? This activity could also be done on a virtual whiteboard!
- Connection to the Land: Not only do people depend on nature for survival, many Canadians, including aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, feel connected to the land that they live on. As a class explore different ways that people can feel connected to the land. Land provides resources, culture, learnings, spiritual value, community, etc. Next discuss how different perspectives can influence the way we feel connection to land. Have students think about how different people might feel about land, such as farmers/ranchers, people living in logging communities, people living in cities, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, people new to places, people who have lived on their lands for generations, etc. After the discussion, have students reflect on what land means to them and why they feel it is important to protect it. For more information see Connection to the Land: Traditional Life on the Land and The Value of Land.
Additional Resources Related to Book:
- Walking Together: First Nations, Metis and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum https://www.learnalberta.ca/content/aswt/connection_to_land/