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Photo by Gene Gallin via Unsplash

Topics

Climate Change, Expository Writing

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Duration

80 minutes

Regional Focus

Global, South and Central America

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

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This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Deforestation and Climate Change (Water Cycle, Deforestation, and Climate Change #3)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 9, 2022
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In this lesson, students learn how climate change and deforestation are linked to the water cycle.

 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students view an Indigenous perspective on deforestation and learn how climate change can lead to deforested areas.

 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students complete a hands-on activity to investigate the effects of deforestation on erosion and watch a video on deforestation and climate change.

 

Step 3 - Inspire: Students create a cause and effect diagram about erosion and the water cycle.

Positives

  • Students participate in multiple interactive and hands-on learning activities to engage in kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning.

  • Students continue to better their understanding of how Earth’s natural systems are interconnected and dependent on each other.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 4 in our 6th-8th grade Water Cycle, Deforestation, and Climate Change unit.

  • Materials required for the erosion model activity include the following:

    • Scissors or sharp knife

    • Clean, empty one-gallon container with a lid (such as a plastic milk jug)

    • Water

    • Two aluminum bread pans

    • Dirt

    • Two aluminum, 9-by-13-inch cake pans

    • 12 to 14 plastic forks

    • Two blocks, shallow plastic containers, or other items of the same height to prop up the aluminum bread pans

    • Outdoor test area with a flat, level surface where it is easy to clean spilled water and soil

Differentiation

  • The erosion activity may be completed as a hands-on activity in lab groups or as a demonstration by the teacher.

  • Lab groups may be in mixed abilities to aid in understanding.

  • Teachers can prepare examples of diagrams for students to reference during the Inspire section.

This lesson provides students with a background on the relationship between deforestation, water cycle, erosion, and climate change. It establishes the fact that deforestation poses stress on the forest ecosystem and services, including impacting the water cycle and speeding up erosion and climate change. These issues could be addressed with well-informed adaptive strategies and action to restore the forest and biodiversity. All materials have been verified thoroughly, and this lesson has passed the science credibility process.

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

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  • Students visualize or draw a quick sketch of a tree.

  • Teacher asks the following questions:

    • What are some components of a tree?

    • What purpose do you think these components serve for the tree and its ecosystem?

    • What do you think happens to the ecosystem when lots of trees are removed from an area at once?

  • Students watch a video about deforestation in Brazil’s Indigenous land and write down any thoughts or feelings that come up as they are watching.

    • Teachers may want to pause the video after portions with subtitles to recap for students who need support following along.

    • Teachers should note that the political situation in Brazil may be different when students watch this video, but the focus should be on the impacts deforestation can have on communities, cultures, and ecosystems.

  • Students answer the following questions:

    • What were the main points of the video?

    • How did the video make you feel?

    • How do you think deforestation impacts communities around the world?

  • Students share predictions about climate change’s impact on forests. Teacher guides a short discussion based on student predictions.

  • Students watch this video about how climate change could lead to mass deforestation due to subpar growing conditions.

  • As they watch, students take notes of ways climate change might affect deforestation rates.

  • After the video, teacher asks the following questions:

    • What did the video say about root systems in forests? (They stabilize the soil.)

    • Based on the videos, what do you think causes deforestation? (Answers may vary. Some answers include loss of habitat, loss of animals living in the area, loss of root system leading to less soil stability, etc.)

    • What impact do you think deforestation has on the soil? (Fewer roots means less soil stability.)

  • Students complete this hands-on erosion activity that shows the effects of deforestation on erosion. The activity involves two boxes of soil: one without simulated root systems and one with simulated root systems to demonstrate how root systems reduce erosion.

  • After the activity, teacher asks the following questions:

    • What do the forks represent in this activity? (The root system in a forest.)

    • What are the effects of erosion? (Earth’s soil will not be able to absorb as much water, soil quality decreases, etc.)

    • Did you find more soil was washed away from the box with the forks or bare soil? (The box filled with bare soil represents a deforested area with no root system and should have resulted in more washed-away soil.)

    • Can you explain why you think this happened? (The forks, representing root systems, protected against some degrees of erosion. Therefore, less soil was lost in the box with forks than in the box with no root system.)

  • Teacher reads the Observations and Results section of the activity page.

  • Students watch the following video to link the processes of deforestation and erosion to the water cycle and reflect on how Earth’s systems are interconnected.
  • Students create a diagram that demonstrates cause and effect relationships between deforestation and erosion, the water cycle, and climate change.

  • Teacher reads the diagram goal and diagram steps for the class.

    • Teachers may decide to brainstorm cause and effect relationships with the class before they work in groups or independently.

    • Teachers can review any resources covered in the lesson that may be useful.

    • The Student Document can support students as they outline their cause and effect relationships and diagrams.

  • Students review the information they learned throughout the lesson.

  • Students brainstorm cause and effect relationships for their diagrams.

  • Students design their diagrams. Students can include visuals and should be able to explain the connecting lines in their diagrams.

  • Students ask a classmate for feedback on their diagrams.

  • Students share their diagrams. Students plan out a public display for their cause and effect diagrams to educate the wider public. Students should be thinking about the following questions:

    • Who would you like to educate about deforestation and erosion, the water cycle, and climate change?

    • How can you most effectively share your learning?

    • Who could you share your diagram with that could impact change and make positive improvements to the ecosystems in your community?

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