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Lesson #5 of Green Spaces Unit

Database Provider


Physical Geography


3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, Geography


45 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, California


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Green Spaces Lesson: Civic Action and Data Analysis

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
May 23, 2024
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This lesson explores ways in which students can address environmental injustice, looking at disparities between two California cities.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students review information from previous lessons and discuss the guiding questions: "How could putting more green spaces into low-income communities help?" and "How would this be an example of environmental justice?"

Step 2 - Investigate: In groups, students compare the two cities of Compton and Pasadena, California. Students discuss income levels, demographics, tree cover, and air pollution.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students watch a video on young climate activists. Then students choose one of three options: learn about Greta Thunberg, create a climate protest sign, or research the 2019 Youth Climate Summit.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson directly shows the relationships among race, income, tree cover, and air pollution.
  • It is very powerful when students compare the maps of Compton and Pasadena and begin to connect the dots.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 5 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Green Spaces unit.
  • You will use two maps of Los Angeles during the Investigate phase of the lesson. The best move would probably be to print the maps beforehand. The lesson also calls for plastic sheet protectors and dry erase markers so students can compare the maps. If you do not have these materials or access to a printer, students can compare the two maps on a device.
  • To learn more about youth climate activists, students can research groups like Zero Hour, Fridays for Future, or the Sunrise Movement.


  • Depending on the needs of your students, it may be best to compare the two maps of Los Angeles as an entire class.
  • Higher-level students can compare maps in another lesson designed for 6th-8th graders called Redlining & Environmental Racism.
Scientist Notes

This lesson provides basic knowledge on how trees sink CO2 and give off O2. Trees are one of the key solutions to drawdown of CO2, and students learn how to interpret and analyze tree maps in relation to environmental justice and the right action to green their environment. This lesson, including additional links, is properly cited. In this light, we recommend this lesson for classroom use.


Primary Standard

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.3-5 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their environmental characteristics.
Green Spaces Unit Lesson Plans


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