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Expository Writing, Nonfiction


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


English Language Arts


120 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Hawai'i


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Backyard Biodiversity

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 16, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore the impact of climate change on global and regional biodiversity and design a biodiverse backyard for their community, strengthening their sense of responsibility and connection to Hawai’i. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students envision and write about their dream backyard in detail, watch Nohoʻana Farm Huakaʻi, and choose five native plants to include in their backyard.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students read "Our Inheritance" and analyze the impact of the Green Revolution on Hawaii's native ecosystems.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students explore biodiversity in Hawai’i and create a design for their own biodiverse backyard.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students creatively and authentically design their own sustainable backyard utilizing native plants and food sources.

  • The Investigate and Inspire sections can be separated into two days.
  • The reading includes charts and maps that show the change in global land use and climate zones over time and through different levels of warming, respectively.

  • The reading simplifies complex scientific concepts and provides an easy-to-understand timeline.

  • The reading is an excellent introduction to Indigenous knowledge and its potential for climate mitigation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 1 of 3 in our 9th-12th grade Biodiversity Unit.

  • Students should have some background knowledge of what is consumed in their region.

  • Students should know how to read charts and maps and have a general understanding of terms like biodiversity, biosphere, colonization, and industrialization.

  • Students should be provided with drawing materials or laptops, depending on what the teacher wants the final product to look like.


  • Teacher can contact Grow Some Good or Maui Nui Botanical Gardens for a guest presentation and request plant donations that can be gifted to students.

  • Students could create a school garden or courtyard based on their biodiverse backyards.

  • Remember to address backyards with an awareness that not all students have a home or backyard. Students can be reminded that community gardens are prevalent in Hawai’i, and they can create a home garden without any land.

  • Students could divide up the 10 climate zones of Hawai'i and work in pairs to create a dream backyard for each one.

  • This lesson can be used in history classes during lessons about the progression of human civilization and the use of science and technology.

  • Although the primary solution in the "Our Inheritance" article is restoration and giving back to the land what we have taken, students can also consider the potential impact of reducing consumption and only taking what we need from the land. Students can brainstorm actual solutions that would achieve this goal and protect natural ecosystems.

Scientist Notes

This lesson inspires students to understand the role of a biodiverse backyard or farmstead in addressing climate change. They will learn how to introduce native plant species, herbs, fruit crops, trees, and animals to create a biodiverse backyard. Also, this lesson allows them to design and explore other agricultural techniques like agroforestry, mixed farming, organic farming, etc. that would help farmers to increase production and respond to climate change. The lesson was thoroughly reviewed and has passed our science review process.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • RH.9-10.3 Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; draw connections between the events to determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
      • RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
      • W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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