Lesson Plans

Civic Actions to Impact the Future

Students make connections between the past, present, and future of the environment through their own imaginings, analysis of a primary source image, and the poem “Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now” by Matthew Olzmann. After, students might assess waste or pollution in their school or local community, then consider actions they could take…

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Map: Poetry & Environmental Justice

Students analyze NASA images depicting climate change and maps denoting Indian land cessions*, then read the poem “Map” by Linda Hogan. After, students discuss how the poem, images, and maps provide context to the theme of environmental justice. Students follow up and take action by researching local instances of environmental justice / injustice and write…

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Natural Disasters: Nature’s Fury

Students analyze a variety of primary sources to examine Americans’ life changing experiences with nature during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then research the Library of Congress online collections to broaden their understanding of how communities have dealt with disaster. Next, students connect their investigations to a literary work of historical fiction based…

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Explorations in American Environmental History: The Photographer, the Artist, and Yellowstone

Students analyze primary sources to understand the impact photographer William Henry Jackson and artist Thomas Moran had on the creation of Yellowstone National Park and how their artistic talents contributed to the creation of the American West. After, students may research a local environmental issue and create a work of art (photograph, painting, poster, etc.)…

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Environmental Resource Management: Local and Historical Perspectives

Students analyze primary sources to understand the contexts of America’s concern for the environment. After, students produce a paper or presentation on a contemporary topic of local concern that incorporates historical perspectives with current issues.

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Shrinking Glaciers

Students analyze historical and contemporary maps to calculate glacier loss on Mount Rainier over time, then explore ideas for slowing glacier loss.

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Carbon Footprints, Climate, and Civic Causes

Students make connections between environmental science and civics as a means to impact the environment and the quality of life using sources from the Library of Congress and science concepts to consider the role as civic environmentalists. Students identify how humans have influenced climate change since the Industrial Revolution and a variety of methods that…

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