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American History: 1865-Present, Government, Human Geography


6th, 7th, 8th


Social Studies, Civics, History, Geography


85 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Redlining, Tree Equity, and Environmental Racism

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Dec 8, 2023
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In this lesson, students learn how redlining connects to tree equity and racial justice.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students learn definitions of redlining and systemic racism and explore the Mapping Inequality tool.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students explore the connection between redlining and tree equity.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students share their new knowledge, discuss possible solutions to environmental inequality, and complete a written reflection.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson provides a clear story between redlining in the 1930s and environmental injustice seen today.

  • This lesson shows students a tangible effect of systemic racism.

  • Students are given voice and choice in this lesson.

  • Students are empowered to think about solutions to environmental injustice.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some basic understanding that racism exists whether one perpetrates individual racist acts or not.

  • Students should have some basic understanding that systems or policies can be racist.


  • Extension activities can have students explore other forms of environmental injustice stemming from redlining. Examples include health issues, air pollution, urban heat, industrial pollution, water quality, etc.

  • Student groups can pair up to compare and contrast different regions in New Jersey.

  • Students can research policies or movements in addressing redlining in New Jersey.

  • Students can research the relationship between redlining and voter suppression.

Scientist Notes

This lesson introduces the concepts of redlining, tree equity, and environmental racism to students. It walks students through the history of these practices and how the effects of these policies are still seen today. The links all provide detailed information about where their data is from and have been reviewed for accuracy. This resource is recommended for teaching.


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

Primary Standards

  • Social Studies
    • Active Citizenship in the 21st Century - Civics, Government, and Human Rights
      • 6.3.8.CivicsPI.3: Use a variety of sources from multiple perspectives to examine the role of individuals, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a local or global issue and share this information with a governmental or nongovernmental organization as a way to gain support for addressing the issue.
      • 6.3.8.CivicsPD.3: Construct a claim as to why it is important for democracy that individuals are informed by facts, aware of diverse viewpoints, and willing to take action on public issues.
      • 6.3.8.CivicsDP.1: Identify an issue of inequality, develop multiple solutions, and communicate the best one to an appropriate government body.
      • 6.3.8.CivicsPR.4: Use evidence and quantitative data to propose or defend a public policy related to climate change.
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Civics, Government, and Human Rights
      • 6.1.8.CivicsPI.3.c: Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
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