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Database Provider

Author

EPA

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, English Language Arts, Health

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Outdoors

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Healthy Environment, Healthy You

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Synopsis
  • In this outdoor journaling activity, students spend time observing the natural environment and then answer one of three prompts on happiness, anxiety, or self-esteem. 
  • Students will learn that spending time in nature can be an important component of mental health. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This outdoor activity can help break up the usual indoor routine.
  • The activity does not require a lot of preparation.
  • Students will learn how to recognize their feelings and emotions and how spending time in nature may improve their mental health.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The resource provides three different journal prompts. Teachers could use different prompts throughout the year or let students choose the prompt that they would like to write about.
  • Students should have some knowledge of ecosystem services. Teachers may consider giving a quick overview of the concept.
  • Some students may not want to share their journal responses in a group discussion. 

Differentiation

  • Classes that do not have access to a nearby natural space could use this 360° rainforest video to give students an immersive nature experience inside the classroom before using the journal prompts.
  • Social studies classes could discuss how historically marginalized groups do not have the same access to green spaces as privileged groups do and how this could impact people's health.
  • In life skills, physical education, health, or advisory classes, students could come up with a plan or a goal for spending time in nature. Students could keep a weekly nature journal and see how spending time in nature makes them feel.
  • Other resources on this topic include this SubjectToClimate lesson on disappearing green spaces and environmental justice and this Khan Academy video on the impacts of urbanization on people and the environment.
Scientist Notes
This activity allows students to observe and evaluate ecosystem services and link the environment with human health. This is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • 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.
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