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Database Provider

Author

Dan Castrigano

Topic

Physical Geography

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Social Studies, Geography

Duration

80 minutes

Regional Focus

Africa

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

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This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

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Wangari Maathai & Deforestation

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 14, 2024
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Synopsis

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.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips
Positives
  • Learning Wangari Maathai’s story is empowering for students because it emphasizes the fact that nobody is too small to make a difference. Maathai grew up in poverty in rural Kenya. Now she is remembered as one of the most powerful voices for environmental conservation, proper governance, and peace.
  • This lesson can inspire students to take direct action, just like Wangari Maathai.
  • This lesson is excellent for teaching the interdependence of environmental conservation, proper governance, poverty, income opportunities, and women's rights.
  • Global Forest Watch is an incredible resource. It has beautiful, detailed data. Students may want to continue exploring on their own time.
Additional Prerequisites
  • Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was an environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental organization focused on planting trees and promoting gender equality.
Differentiation
  • Making the connection between deforestation and other topics (governance, poverty, income opportunities, and women’s rights) might be difficult for some concrete thinkers.
  • You could frame these topics using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
    • Goal 1: No Poverty
    • Goal 5: Gender Equality
    • Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
    • Goal 15: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Scientist Notes

This lesson introduces students to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Wangari Maathai and deforestation. The Global Forest Watch resource is continually updated. This lesson has passed the science quality assessment.

Standards

Primary Standards

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
      • D2.Geo.9.6-8 Evaluate the influences of long-term human-induced environmental change on spatial patterns of conflict and cooperation.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.

Supporting Standards

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.6-8 Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.5.6-8 Analyze the combinations of cultural and environmental characteristics that make places both similar to and different from other places.
      • D2.Geo.10.6-8 Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
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