In this activity, students will learn how an increase in visitors is impacting national parks and then have a debate about limiting the number of visitors to national parks.
Teachers will use these slides from ASU to teach this lesson.
Students can prepare for their arguments by reading the information found in the linked articles.
This lesson cuts across many subject areas.
Teachers should check that they can access the articles in their region. If the articles are not accessible, teachers should find alternative articles for students to use as they prepare their arguments.
The "Every Kid in a Park" link no longer works. This lesson is still great because there are at least two resources for each side of the debate.
Students can debate in small or large groups.
After the debate students could research the national parks that get the least visitors each year and come up with a public service campaign to promote those parks in order to redistribute the number of visitors going to the same parks.
Other resources on this topic include this video from the National Park Service about a program that brings students from urban high schools into the national parks to learn about the environment, this video on how nature can boost your health, and this video on the water infrastructure system built for visitors to a national park.
This activity will offer students the opportunity to engage and proffer solutions to conserve recreational parks. The activity is valid and recommended.
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.
HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Civics
D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
Dimension 2: Geography
D2.Geo.12.6-8 Explain how global changes in population distribution patterns affect changes in land use in particular places.