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Photo by Hans Ott via Unsplash

Topics

Climate Change, Expository Writing

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Duration

110 minutes

Regional Focus

Global

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

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This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Transpiration and Climate Change (Water Cycle, Deforestation, and Climate Change #2)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 9, 2022
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In this lesson, students learn about transpiration and how transpiration plays a role in cooling cities that experience extreme heat due to climate change.

 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students explore the idea of transpiration through a hands-on experiment.

 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn about trees' connection to urban heat islands.

 

Step 3 - Inspire: Students create a proposal to improve tree equity in their neighborhoods.

Positives

  • Students share diverse perspectives and ideas in journal prompts encouraging action.

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

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 2 of 4 in our 6th-8th grade Water Cycle, Deforestation, and Climate Change unit.

  • Materials required for the lab include the following:

    • Three small, thin-leafed plants

    • Three small, broad-leafed plants

    • Small watering can

    • Scale

    • Six plastic bags large enough to fit completely around each plant pot

    • Masking tape

  • Previous student knowledge of the water cycle and climate change will be beneficial for this unit.

  • Prior to the lesson, the teacher should post different emotions around the room for the SEL activity during the video on heat islands.

  • Teachers should familiarize themselves with the Tree Equity Score resource prior to teaching the lesson. Students might also benefit from definitions of certain terms used in the resource including temperature, canopy cover, and demographics.

Differentiation

  • Students can complete the demonstration in lab groups.

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

  • Students may use the Emotions Board for vocabulary support as they complete the SEL activity in the Investigate section.
  • Journal prompts can be used for a whole group discussion if desired.

  • The class discussion in the Inquire section can be a writing assignment first to give students time to process and think about their responses.

  • The Inspire section may be completed in groups or individually at the discretion of the teacher.

This lesson succinctly explains the effect of climate change on the transpiration process. Transpiration helps to improve microclimate in urban cities and addresses the urban heat island effect. The lesson also draws attention for students to experiment the transpiration process, identify spatial distribution of redlining, evaluate tree equity in their community, and draft concept notes and proposals to seek supports to implement tree planting and restoration of green spaces. All materials have been well-sourced, and this lesson has passed our 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 work up a sweat either by running in place or jumping. Another option is for students to think about a time they were sweaty.

  • Teacher asks the following questions and students think-pair-share:

    • When you are sweaty, how does it feel to sit under a wide tree?

    • When you are sweaty, how does it feel to sit in the middle of a sunny parking lot?

    • Why do our bodies sweat?

  • Students explore the idea of transpiration through this hands-on experiment. Students can complete experiments in lab groups and record their data in their student journals, or the whole class can watch the demonstration and record the data on the Teacher Slideshow.

  • Teacher reads the definitions of the terms condensation, precipitation, transpiration, and evaporation.

  • Students participate in a whole group discussion linking transpiration to the water cycle and climate change. Teacher uses the following prompts to guide the discussion:

    • What did you learn about transpiration from the experiment?

    • How do you think transpiration is connected to the water cycle?

    • Based on the experiment, how do you think climate change can impact transpiration?

    • Do you think transpiration can cool the air around trees?

    • What effect might more trees have on a city?
  • Teacher reads aloud facts about transpiration.

  • Students read this article linking heat islands and transpiration in cities.
  • Students think-pair-share the big takeaway from the article.
  • Students watch this video and complete the following SEL activity:
    • Prior to the lesson, the teacher tapes different emotions (empowered, scared, hopeful, thoughtful, sad, angry, surprised, etc.) around the room.
    • Students start with paper and pencil. Every time they hear something that changes their emotions, they move and write down a quick note about what was said that made them feel that way.
  • Students watch chapter four (4:11-5:36) of this video explaining the impacts of climate change on transpiration.
  • Using the Printable Student Journal or the Digital Student Journal, students create a proposal to convince people or organizations in power how and why they should incorporate more trees in a community.

  • Students review the goal and five steps for creating their proposal.

  • Students use the Tree Equity Score website to select and research a neighborhood to focus on for their proposal. Students take note of the temperature, canopy cover, and demographics.

  • Students brainstorm and investigate their proposal and create an outline. In their outlines, students include why they chose their location, how many trees they want to plant, what types of trees they intend to plant, why these trees will assist in cooling heat islands, and how transpiration is connected to heat islands.

  • Students draft their proposals using sketches, diagrams, and/or digital images. Students use Google Street View to help them visualize the area.

  • Students review their proposal using the Proposal Rubric to self-evaluate and then find a partner to peer-evaluate.

  • Students share their proposals. Students may research organizations already doing this work and write a proposal that includes school support or city support for this organization.

  • Students and teachers can share the proposals with school administration or city officials at the discretion of the teacher. Optionally, the class may vote on a proposal they think is most likely to be received well and send that proposal as a whole group effort.

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