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Author

LEAF Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education

Grades

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 150 minutes
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Experiments
  • Games
  • Videos
  • Presentation Slides
  • Worksheets
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin, Driftless (CESA 3, 4), Metro (CESA 1, 6)

Format

Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video

Lesson 2 - Urban Forest Benefits

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Synopsis
  • In this lesson, students learn about the social, economic, and ecologic benefits of urban forests, the connection between urban forests and urban heat islands, and the role of urban forests in reducing the impacts of climate change in Wisconsin.
  • Students complete a quiz activity, analyze maps of temperature data for Wisconsin, watch a video about urban heat islands, investigate Milwaukee and La Crosse as case studies, conduct an experiment about heat islands at their school, play a game to summarize their learning, and write about a heat island in their community. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The lesson plan incorporates many ways for students to learn, including games, videos, experiments, discussions, and written work.
  • Students connect what they learn to their community by identifying and writing about a local heat island.
  • This interdisciplinary lesson connects science, social studies, and English language arts topics.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson is the second of four in the LEAF Urban Forest Lesson Guide 5th-8th Grade Unit. Students should complete the first lesson before starting this one.
  • The resource provides background information for teachers, a detailed lesson plan, teacher slides, student documents, and links to related resources.
  • Teachers will need to provide infrared thermometers for the experiment in Activity 2.
  • Students should understand the basics of climate change and the water cycle.

Differentiation

  • Language arts classes can analyze the poetic devices the poet in the suggested video uses to illustrate the extreme heat in southern Wisconsin.
  • The lesson plan details an optional extension activity where students create a thermal map of their school using the data collected in the experiment.
  • There are three related lessons linked in the resource that teachers can use to modify or expand this lesson.
  • There is an article linked at the end of the lesson plan about the physical and mental health benefits of trees, which students can read after the introduction activity to further the discussion of the benefits to urban forests.
  • The lesson uses data and case studies from Wisconsin, making this ideal for classrooms in that state. If teachers outside of Wisconsin want to modify this lesson plan to emphasize their state, they must locate data, maps, and case studies specific to their location.
  • Teachers choosing to assign the La Crosse case study can utilize the text-to-speech feature at the top of the article for students with low reading stamina or ELL students who may benefit from listening to the article as they follow along.
  • If desired, students can move on to Lesson 3 of the LEAF Urban Forest Lesson Guide 5th-8th Grade Unit to learn more about urban forest management and the impact of biodiversity.
Scientist Notes
This comprehensive lesson on urban forests will help students understand their benefits. 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.2: Cite examples of how technological advances have changed the environment in New Jersey and the United States (e.g., energy, transportation, communications).
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • English Language Arts
    • 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.7.2 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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