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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Worksheet
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States, South and Central America



CFR Education: Stopping Deforestation in the Amazon Simulation

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  • This article details the options for addressing the emergency situation of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, while being mindful of the fragile diplomatic relationship with Brazil.
  • After reading the article, students can choose one of the three proposed policies and take part in a discussion following the format of the teacher's choice.
Teaching Tips


  • With a printable PDF, students can access this article either online or have a physical copy, if there is a need to highlight or annotate.
  • This is an excellent resource to show students just how fragile policy-making is when you have to consider emergency situations, diplomatic relations, and other important factors.

Additional Prerequisites

  • If you are having students take part in a model National Security Council, it may be beneficial to show students a video of one being done.
  • Students may need the terms deforestation, sovereignty, scrubland, savannah, gross domestic product, sanctions, and others defined before reading the article.
  • Students should understand what climate change is, how humans are contributing to climate change, and how old-growth trees capture carbon.
  • Students may benefit from looking at how the Amazon rainforest has changed from a map or image.


  • Students who have anxiety about public speaking can either present their ideas in writing, utilize a discussion board, or debate with the teacher.
  • Students may benefit from a graphic organizer to clarify their ideas and make sense of the reading.
  • Language arts students can write a letter to a policy-maker, urging them to employ their chosen stance.
  • Have students explore the idea that none of the solutions can actually force Brazil to act in the way we might like and how to address the Tragedy of the Commons issue in many places around the world.
Scientist Notes
This article explains the complexities of the U.S. influencing the Brazilian government to slow down or stop its deforestation in the Amazon. The article does explain why deforestation is occurring and the pros and cons of it. This article and activity is a great way to allow students to come to their own conclusions based on the information provided. While the focus of the article and related activity is about countries' sovereignty, students will have to consider climate change and climate justice in their opinions. This is because climate change is a global problem where changes in one country can impact many others. The webpage also includes a handout that further explains how to use the article as a class activity and includes other resources. The information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
      • D2.Civ.7.9-12 Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
      • D2.Civ.9.9-12 Use appropriate deliberative processes in multiple settings.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.11.9-12 Evaluate how economic globalization and the expanding use of scarce resources contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among countries.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
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