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Lesson #1 of Green Spaces Unit


Fiction, Physical Geography


3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, Geography, English Language Arts


50 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

What Is a Green Space? (Green Spaces #1)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Dec 1, 2022

This lesson introduces the idea of green spaces to students. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students examine the idea of a green space and listen to the book Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn the definition of green space and explore their neighborhood using Google Maps or Google Earth. 

Step 3 - Inspire: Students design their own "perfect green space."


  • This lesson creates a collaborative learning environment for students as an introduction to green spaces and how to create more green spaces.
  • This lesson features kinesthetic learning if teachers walk with their students around their school.
  • Students will develop a strong connection to self and community through the read aloud of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.
  • This lesson features excellent vocabulary development.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 1 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Green Spaces unit.
  • It is necessary to procure a copy of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez for this lesson.
  • Identify the green spaces on your campus on your own before introducing this lesson to your class to make sure that you have accounted for all the green spaces.


  • Think-pair-share during read aloud where students can make predictions or answer questions.
  • You can pause the read aloud before the text is read for students to make observations and predictions about the story.
  • Groups of students with mixed abilities can collaborate on their green spaces map.
  • Possible extension: Do a campus tour and have students take notes on green spaces they observe.

This lesson introduces students to green spaces and how they can be identified and mapped. The read aloud, vocabulary, and external links are thoroughly sourced and written. This lesson has passed our science review.

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.1.3-5 Construct maps and other graphic representations of both familiar and unfamiliar places.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • Students turn and talk about the guiding question "When you hear the words 'green space,' what do you think of?"
  • Teacher reads the book Sofia Valdez, Future Prez out loud to the class.
  • Teacher leads students in a summarizing activity.
  • Teacher leads students through a series of social-emotional questions:
    • How do you think Sofia felt when the clerk told her she couldn't build a park because "she's just a kid"?
    • What would you do if you had no parks or green spaces in your neighborhood?
    • Is this fair?
    • How would that make you feel?
  • Teacher shares the EPA definition of green space and gives students think time to create a kid-friendly definition of green space.
  • Teacher asks for student definitions of green space.
  • Students think about the green spaces in their school and community.
  • Teacher uses Google Maps to project the area around their school.
    • Students think, notice, and wonder about the green spaces in their community.
    • Students count the green spaces in their community and share their experiences with them.
  • Optional activity: Teacher takes students on a campus walkthrough while students record the location of green spaces. Upon returning to the classroom, students help the teacher color in the green spaces on a blank school map similar to Google Maps.
  • Teacher leads students in reflecting on Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.
    • What did Sofia do to create a green space in her community?
    • What can YOU do to create a green space in YOUR community? Or at your school?
  • Students create their own perfect green space on a sheet of paper.
  • Students should include:
    • Land that is partly or completely covered in hardscape (roads, parking lots, rooftops, etc.)
    • Grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.
Green Spaces Unit Lesson Plans


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