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Author

LEAF Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education

Grades

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Biology, Geography

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 130 minutes
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Presentation Slides
  • Worksheets
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin

Format

Google Slides, PDF

Lesson 1 - Urban Forest Connections

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Synopsis
  • In this lesson plan, students learn about urban forest ecosystems, their connection to the water and carbon cycles, and their role as a solution to climate change.
  • Students will construct definitions, draw ecosystem diagrams, analyze climate data from Wisconsin, create carbon cycle maps, and write summaries of their learning.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This resource encourages systems thinking and builds connections between many critical Earth systems.
  • Students will enjoy the many different opportunities to collaborate with their peers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson is the first of four in the LEAF Urban Forest Lesson Guide 5th-8th Grade Unit.
  • The resource includes background information for teachers, a detailed lesson plan, student resource sheets, teacher slides, and links to additional related resources.
  • The lesson assumes students understand climate, climate change, and the water carbon cycles.
  • Students need paper and markers for Activity 3.
  • Some students, especially English language learners, may benefit from additional visualizations of the carbon and water cycles.

Differentiation

  • This lesson can support an introduction to ecosystems in a biology or general science class, especially in urban areas.
  • Teachers can make cross-curricular connections with English Language Arts classes when students write their papers in the conclusion section of the lesson.
  • The data in Activity 2 is specific to Wisconsin, but teachers in other states can still use the lesson. If desired, teachers can locate projected rainfall data for their area.
  • Teachers can assign the student resource sheets online or print them.
  • The lesson includes an optional extension for Activity 3 and numerous links to related resources that can expand the lesson.
  • Math teachers can utilize the Extension To Activity 2 to review or practice finding the circumference, diameter, and radius of circles.
  • If desired, students can move on to Lesson 2 of the LEAF Urban Forest Lesson Guide 5th-8th Grade Unit to learn more about the benefits of urban forests.
Scientist Notes
This comprehensive lesson on urban forests will help students understand what makes up their ecosystem. It is thorough, accurate, and well-cited. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards

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

  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Geography, People, and the Environment
      • 6.1.5.GeoHE.1: Use a variety of sources from multiple perspectives, including aerial photographs or satellite images to describe how human activity has impacted the physical environment during different periods of time in New Jersey and the United States.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PE.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.IW.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts (including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes) to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
      • W.IW.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts (including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes) to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
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