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Regional Focus


Investigating Deforestation Through an Earth Systems View Using Landsat

Author: My NASA Data
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences
Formats: Jamboard, Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video
Resource Types:
  • Lesson Plan, 50 minutes
  • Video, 34 seconds
  • Video, 58 seconds, CC
  • Interactive Media
  • Activity
  • Video, 3 minutes, 44 seconds, CC
  • This NASA lesson plan includes a number of resources to support students' exploration of the causes of deforestation and the links between Earth's systems and deforestation. Students will:
    • Observe and analyze imagery taken from NASA's Landsat satellite.
    • Observe a time-lapse video of deforestation and global land cover map.
    • Identify the different causes of deforestation in different areas.
    • Develop a graphic model to describe the causes of deforestation.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will use evidence from recorded data imagery to represent and discuss the factors contributing to deforestation and the role that humans play in global deforestation rates.
  • All materials are included and accessible in multiple formats.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms biosphere, atmosphere, land cover, and deforestation.
  • You may want to print off the Graphic Organizer or group students to utilize the digital version to complete this activity.
  • For further exploration, check out the nifty Global Forest Watch Interactive Map.


  • Students can complete this activity individually or in groups.
  • Students could further explore the root causes of deforestation related to human activity and brainstorm solutions at various levels (individual, community, state, national, global).
  • Students could respond to the videos in a written response or group discussion.
Scientist Notes
The Google Slides interactive card resource is valid and will guide students to interpret Landsat imageries. The resource is valid and recommended to understand the rate of deforestation in Brazil up to 2019. Educators should note that this resource will not be sufficient to explore present changes in Brazil's forests.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • 4-ESS2-2 Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
      • 5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
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