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Resource Language:

English

Regional Focus

North America, United States

The Public Trust Doctrine - Government's Role in Protecting Natural Resources for the Future

Authors: Project Look Sharp, Cindy Kramer & Sox Sperry
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College
Subjects: Social Studies, Civics, Justice, Health
Formats: PDF, Downloadable MP4/M4V
Resource Types:
  • Activity, 30-60 minutes
  • Lesson Plan
  • Video, 5 minutes, 13 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 56 seconds
Synopsis
  • In this media literacy activity, students will analyze two video clips about youth who sued the government in an effort to protect the environment for future generations. 
  • Students will examine how the videos use different approaches to convey their messages. 
  • The resource includes a lesson plan and two video clips. 
Teaching Tips
Positives
  • The lesson plan includes discussion questions for several academic subjects.
  • Students will learn how youth can use the law to advocate for climate action.
Additional Prerequisites
  • Teachers must create a free account to access the materials.
  • The video clip titled, Trust 350, ends abruptly in the middle of the last segment.
Differentiation
  • Students could respond to the questions individually or in small groups before discussing their answers as a class.
  • Civics and law classes could research environmental lawsuits that have been brought against governments.
  • Other resources on this topic include this article on a youth activist who took part in a climate change lawsuit against the United States government, this video on who is responsible for fixing climate change, and this TED video on thinking about the next seven generations when planning for the future.
Scientist Notes

The resource is appropriate to critically analyze the role of government and its responsibility to protect the environment for future generations. This resource is recommended for training students on climate advocacy and debates.

Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.6-8 Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.
      • D2.Civ.12.6-8 Assess specific rules and laws (both actual and proposed) as means of addressing public problems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
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