By Lisa Liu, April 5, 2007
- Elementary School
- Urban Planning
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions;
Interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs
Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the likeGlobal Connections
explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered speciesLanguage ArtsVisual Arts (K-4)
- evaluate positive and negative interactions between individuals and their community
- identify different types of green spaces in their community
- acknowledge and learn about the benefit of green spaces to the environment
- compose a persuasive essay
- "Awareness to Action" poster (or photos of places in a community and people interacting with their community, e.g. parks, open fire hydrants, people planting, people littering, schools, etc.)
- Map of the neighborhood
- "Community Inventory Worksheet"
- "Green Spaces Worksheet"
- chart paper
- Wildlife refuge/habitat gardens
Part I: Community Inventory
1. Write “community” on the board. Have students create a semantic web of what community means to them. 2. Inform students that they will be examining what people do in their community and whether those actions are beneficial to the environment. Define “community strengths” as the ways people work to improve the environment and the things in the community that are beneficial to the environment. Define “community weaknesses” as ways in which people are harming or neglecting their environment. 3. Display “Awareness to Action” poster. (Note: This was obtained from an organization called Earth Force www.earthforce.org, but the teacher can use pictures from the newspaper or Internet for the lesson.) 4. Inform students that they are to complete the “Community Inventory” worksheet by identifying strengths and weakness in the poster. Identify 2 or 3 strengths/weaknesses as a class. 5. Divide students into small groups. Give each group 10 to 15 minutes to complete their worksheet. 6. Allow groups to share their findings and record the findings on the board. 7. Discuss with students what activities/places they found on the poster that are similar to their own community. Brainstorm possible ways to address some of the weaknesses that were found, and how to enhance or protect the community strengths.
Part II: Green Spaces
8. Ask students to list the green spaces that they see or interact with in their community. 9. Categorize the places the students mention as a park, garden, tree, wildlife refuge/habitat garden, or streetscape. 10. Provide students with a definition for each of the 5 types of green spaces the students will be focusing on during their community walk. 11. Break the students into small groups for their community walk and provide each group with a camera. Each group will have a Green Spaces handout with the neighborhood map on one side, and a log to record their pictures on the back.12. Students will be given the tasks of taking pictures of: a) green spaces b) people interacting with their environment c) things they see as strengths and weakness (they should note actions they see that either help or harm the environment) d) other things that they notice because they really “like” or “dislike” what they see 13. Once the pictures are developed. Students can: a) Categorize their pictures in terms of community strengths and weaknesses and/or b) Map the different types of green spaces they saw on a large blow-up map of the neighborhood. Give students different color stickers to code for the different types of green spaces. They should examine the map to determine if certain streets are “greener” than others.
Enrichment Extension Activities
- Students can go on a trip to a Wildlife Refuge Center since they are not likely to find one in their neighborhood.
- Students can brainstorm and work on a project discussing ways they can green their home and/or school.