Earth Month in Genius Tangram: Learn About “Planetwalking” and a Real-World Activity on Oil Spills

May 27, 2021 / DIY & Printable

Our planet is the only one known to support life, and it’s up to us to support it back! This month, explore Earth and the geniuses who’ve made it a better place. We’ve put together special game updates, real-life genius stories, and real-world activities to help you.

Share this week’s interactive, printable Earth Month content with your child by clicking the button below, and scroll down for a preview!

Game Update

Check out Osmo Tangram for limited-time Earth-inspired puzzles to solve and character outfits to unveil. Only available this month!

Genius Spotlight: John Francis

Humans have figured out how to turn many of Earth’s materials into resources, like trees for paper or sunlight for energy. Pulling from the environment can have negative consequences, though. In 1971, two ships transporting crude oil (meant to be turned into gasoline for cars) crashed in the San Francisco Bay. 800,000 gallons of toxic oil spilled into the water, putting thousands of animals’ lives at risk. Because of this, John Francis decided to stop using motor vehicles.

For 22 years, John walked everywhere, including across America. After realizing he was getting into arguments with many people he encountered along the way, he decided to stop speaking, too. His vow of silence lasted 17 years, during which he only communicated using improvised sign language and notes. Amazingly, he earned three college degrees during this time!

Through “Planetwalking” John was able to learn about the connection between himself, others, and the environment. He inspired people to think about how major companies who take from the planet might also be destroying it. John broke his silence on Earth Day 1990 and eventually accepted a job creating oil-spill regulations for the US Coast Guard. Using his years of walking, studying, and listening to enact real policy change, John, like every environmentalist, became an important resource himself.

Real-World Activity: Taking on an Oil Spill

Have your child this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable has instructions with photos!

Oil spills are dangerous because it’s hard to stop the oil from reaching animals, who might ingest it or get their fur or feathers ruined. To see for yourself:

  1. Fill a pan or tray halfway with water.
  2. Gently pour some oil in.
  3. Try getting the oil out in different ways: spoon, sponge, paper towel, cotton balls.

Any other ideas? How would you try to clean up a big body of water?