This lesson introduces African environmentalist Wangari Maathai and links deforestation with the concepts of governance, poverty, and income opportunities for women in Kenya.
Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch a video explaining ways to monitor the world's forests. Next, students explore the Global Forest Watch Interactive Map showing the health of the world's forests.
Step 2 - Investigate: Students watch a video about Wangari Maathai & The Green Belt Movement. Students answer guided questions as they watch the video.
Step 3 - Inspire: Teacher reads Wangari Maathai’s version of the “hummingbird story.” After listening, students write pledges about how they can contribute to restoring our Earth.
Teacher shows the video Frontiers in Forest Monitoring: Introduction to Satellite Monitoring outlining Global Forest Watch. [5 min]
The video explains the purpose of Global Forest Watch.
Background: Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests. By harnessing cutting edge technology, GFW allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world.
Teacher leads a brief discussion with your students using the following prompts: [5 min]
“Why does this tool exist?”
“Who do you think is happy about this tool?”
“Who might be upset that this tool exists?”
Students play with Global Forest Watch Interactive Map. [15 min]
Students can go anywhere in the world to see data from GFW.
Data can be layered, so students can see different data at the same time
There are five main categories to explore:
One of the easiest ones to see and understand is Forest Change > Tree Cover Loss
Students chat with each other and write down at least 5 noticings and at least 5 wonderings as they explore. Example questions to generate noticings and wonderings:
Teacher collects noticings and wonderings from students in a centralized location. You can use a chalkboard, whiteboard, Padlet, or Mentimeter. [5 min]
Teacher facilitates a discussion about what the students noticed. Create space for students to share their noticings and wonderings. Question prompts include: [15 min]
Teacher introduces the students to Wangari Maathai. Teacher shows the video Wangari Maathai & The Green Belt Movement.
Students answer guiding questions on their own documents as they watch the video. You can also give students time after the video to write in the document.
Teacher reads Wangari Maathai’s version of the “hummingbird story.”
After reading the story, teacher hands out index cards.
On the index card, each student writes: “I pledge to restore the Earth by…”
Each student completes the sentence.
Teacher hangs the pledges in the classroom.
I pledge to restore the Earth by riding my bike to school at least 3x per week from now until the end of the school year.
I pledge to restore the Earth by composting all household food waste at home from now until the end of the school year. Every Sunday I will empty it.
I pledge to restore the Earth by refusing to fly from now until the end of the school year.
I pledge to restore the Earth by only eating meat on the weekends from now until the end of the school year.