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Database Provider


Design Thinking


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, Engineering


135 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Nature Cities

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 19, 2024
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In this lesson, students learn about the benefits of having nature in cities and design a nature city of their own.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students listen and respond to the picture book The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students investigate the problem of heat islands in cities and learn about the benefits of having nature in cities.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students design their own nature cities to prevent heat islands and share their ideas about including nature in their own classroom and school.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students learn about heat islands in a relatable way.

  • Students share their thoughts on the benefits of nature in cities and expand their understanding of the subject.

  • Students think about ways they can improve their classroom, school, and community at large and have the opportunity to put their ideas into action.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teacher will need to obtain a copy of the book The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton. 

  • For the outdoor experiment, you will need an infrared thermometer set to check surface temperatures.

  • Teachers can have students sketch their designs on the templates provided in the Student Document and then have students transfer their designs to larger pieces of paper. Students can use additional art materials such as markers and colored pencils to complete their nature city drawings.


  • This lesson was designed for grades K-2. Please check the differentiation written within the lesson and the accompanying documents to modify it to the needs of your students.

  • In order to accommodate different schedules, this lesson can also be split into five shorter sessions. Please see the Alternative Pacing Suggestion in the Teacher Slideshow.

  • When responding to the interactive read aloud of The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton, student responses can be shared verbally or written down. 

  • Differentiated worksheets can be found in the Student Document. On the right-hand side, you will see a pencil ✎ symbol. One pencil means the worksheet is for students who write less and need more room for drawing pictures, and two pencils means there is space to write more.

  • Teacher can substitute The Extraordinary Gardener with Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed A Neighborhood by Tony Hillery. This book tells the real-life story of how a school community worked together to transform an urban wasteland into a community garden.
Scientist Notes

This thorough lesson will give students a basic grasp of the value of preserving green spaces in urban areas to mitigate the effects of urban heat islands and climate change. In this lesson, students will research cities throughout the world that contain natural areas and discuss the advantages of greening our built environment. After reviewing all the lesson resources, the lesson passed our science review.


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

Supporting Standards

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
      • RL.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
      • RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
      • RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.K.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
      • W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
      • W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
      • K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
    • PS3: Energy
      • K-PS3-2. Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.

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.
Related Resources


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  • I hope that someday, we can ALL live in nature cities! Connecting people with their natural environment is so important!! Thanks for the lesson!
    4 months ago