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Resource Language:

English

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West

Where Are All the Trees?

Author: Meighan Hooper
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, Justice
Resource Types:
  • Interactive Media
  • Game
Synopsis
  • In this interactive game, students play the role of an urban planner who must decide if Los Angeles needs to plant more trees. 
  • The game includes two informational videos and an interactive tree equity map with a variety of demographic indicators that students can use for research.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Students receive immediate feedback when they select an incorrect answer.
  • Students have the opportunity to choose between a male and a female avatar.
  • Students cannot fast-forward through the videos.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students cannot go backward in the game; instead, they have to start over from the beginning. 
  • Students should be familiar with the concept of urban planning.
  • Students will need access to a device and an Internet connection.

Differentiation

  • Social studies classes could use this game in a lesson about urban planning or city design. Before playing the game, students could discuss the following questions:
    • What makes a neighborhood a nice place to live?
    • Who is in charge of maintaining neighborhoods?
    • What is the role of the local government in residents' happiness, health, and safety?
    • What impact do trees have on a neighborhood?
  • Science classes could discuss the role that science and data play in municipal decision-making. After playing the game, students could discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups:
    • Why is it important to use data, such as the tree equity map, when making decisions?
    • How can scientists help government officials design solutions to municipal problems?
    • The game provided you with a science-based video on planting trees, a data-driven map about tree equity, and a video that featured a community member's personal story. How are the three sources similar? How are they different? Why might an urban planner consider all three sources when deciding where to plant trees?
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on the connection between systemic racism and the number of trees in neighborhoods, this TED video on planting a million trees in Sierra Leone, and this interactive resource on urban tree planting.
Scientist Notes
This game provides insights on the best approach of tree planting to sequester CO2 emissions, improve air quality, increase urban health, and tackle climate change. It adopts a case study from Los Angeles and explains the need to integrate local people in co-creating sustainable urban reforestation actions in their communities. This is recommended.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • MS-LS1-6 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
    • 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.
      • 3-ESS3-1 Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.2.6-8 Explain specific roles played by citizens (such as voters, jurors, taxpayers, members of the armed forces, petitioners, protesters, and office-holders).
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.12.6-8 Explain how global changes in population distribution patterns affect changes in land use in particular places.
      • D2.Geo.2.3-5 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their environmental characteristics.
    • Dimension 3: Developing Claims and Using Evidence
      • D3.4.3-5 Use evidence to develop claims in response to compelling questions.
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