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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, History

Regional Focus

North America, United States


YouTube Video

How Turf Grass Lawns Became the Largest Irrigated Crop in the U.S.

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  • This video discusses the popularity and growth of lawns in the United States, showing clips of commercials and ads from many decades ago. 
  • It highlights the large amount of land used for lawns and the water, pesticides, fertilizers, and gas-powered lawn equipment required to maintain them, making them polluting and sterile environments. 
  • It also showcases examples of native plants, rain gardens, food gardens, and other grass-like options to use instead of a monoculture carpet of high-maintenance grass. 
Teaching Tips


  • The historical context and examples in this video may help students understand the influence of media on society.
  • There are a number of solutions presented that students could take action on in their communities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • One of the historical ads presented in this video may be seen as disrespectful to women and/or religious individuals, so you may want to address this with students or skip to 0:26 in the video.
  • There may be ads before the video.
  • The link to the Metropolitan Integration Research Center and the link to "tips for what to do with your own lawn" do not work.


  • Advanced students could use this video to supplement this topic and then write a paper persuading their school, city, county, or home owner's association to convert a percentage of their turf grass to edible plants, a garden, and/or native trees, bushes, and flowers.
  • Pausing the video to explain concepts or review terminology may be helpful for some students.
  • A discussion and reflection paper could be completed after the video to allow students to assess their feelings about the content presented and think critically about solutions.
  • Other resources about this topic include this interactive media and data resource about nitrogen pollution, this video about biodiversity, and this mini-unit about water pollution.
Scientist Notes
This 4-minute video outlines a short history of the cultivation of lawns on properties within the U.S. It presents issues with water use, fertilizers, and agriculture. This is a short, clear resource with sources provided in the video description. This resource is recommended for teaching.

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

  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, qualitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
      • SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
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