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Lesson #3 of Green Spaces Unit


Indigenous Justice, Nonfiction, Physical Geography


3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, Geography, English Language Arts, Justice


55 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Indigenous Communities and the Environment (Green Spaces #3)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Dec 1, 2022

This lesson connects Indigenous communities with the natural environment. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher reviews ecosystem services and introduces the four types of ecosystem services: giving services, checking services, supporting services, and cultural services.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students read two articles on Newsela about Indigenous Peoples. One is about government policy, and the other is about climate activism.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students share their notes from the articles and watch one final video on youth climate activists.


  • This lesson connects government policy to Indigenous activism.
  • Heterogeneous small groups allow for supported learning.
  • Excellent social studies and ELA integration.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Green Spaces unit.
  • If you choose to have the students walking around and writing on posters in the Inspire section, you must have the posters up and ready before the lesson. Students could also write their thoughts on a chalkboard or whiteboard.
  • Prior knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and their resistance to colonialism is helpful.


  • Newsela offers different reading levels and read alouds for students of varying abilities.
  • Grouping students by ability may be helpful in the Investigate section if students are reading aloud to each other.

The lesson explores the relationship between man and nature and how culture influences ecosystem services. It gives a foundation for young people to be change agents in their generation. This lesson has passed our credibility process and is recommended for the classroom.

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

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.3-5 Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • There are two options in this section.
  • Option 1: Carousel - Students write on two posters that are hung up in the room. Each poster features a prompt based on one of the two articles.
    • Government Policy: What are the pros and cons of the protests listed in the article?
    • Indigenous Climate Activism: Why should the Brazilian government return Indigenous land?
  • Option 2: Writing Prompt - Students write a response to one of the following two prompts:
    • Government Policy: What are the pros and cons listed in the article?
    • Indigenous Climate Activism: Why should the Brazilian government return Indigenous land?
  • Finally, teacher shows How These Youth Climate Activists Are Changing the Future.
Green Spaces Unit Lesson Plans


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