Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Understand how human activity can cause the loss of biodiversity.
- Understand how humans can have a uniquely negative impact on environments.
- Understand how humans can play a positive role in restoring and protecting environments.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Students need to have a basic understanding of ecosystems, climate change, and evolution.
- This tutorial will provide a solid review of ecosystems for any student and includes quiz questions.
- This NASA video shows the changes in greenhouse gases over a year's time.
- A review of climate change can be found in this video. (7 minutes)
- Climate change effects can be seen in this documentary. A good amount of the video focuses on Florida. (45 minutes)
- This tutorial on natural selection will provide a good review for any students. The tutorial also includes practice quiz questions and could be assigned for homework.
- It will also be helpful for students to have a basic understanding of how both human and natural forces impact populations of species in a given ecosystem.
- This is a great overall video on how ecosystems work and are affected by humans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text. Context clues may prove helpful as well.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in this article include: title, subtitle, headings, photographs, and captions.
- Students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. How do humans (like you) impact their environment?
Students can list many positive and negative impacts here: driving in a car (which releases carbon monoxide into the environment), throwing away garbage (adds garbage and waste into the environment), recycling (keeps waste products for adding to the landfill), use of water (the waste of water for excessive cleaning or for accidental waste), damaging plants (walking through the woods, driving ATVs, etc. will damage the plant life), campfires (release CO2 into the atmosphere).
2. How do humans depend on the environment?
Humans rely on the environment and its products for many things, including:
- Oxygen: Plants release oxygen that is necessary for humans to breathe.
- Water: Plants purify water that can later be used by humans.
- Food: Humans rely on plants (mostly domestic plants) for both animal and plant-based food.
- Other Products: Most of the products we use everyday begin as part of our environment. Just considering paper, we use a wide variety (toilet paper, writing paper, money, paper towels, etc) everyday, and these all originate in trees.
3. What could be some negative results of decreasing the world's biodiversity?
This loss of biodiversity will decrease the number of different species on our planet. This will have immediate effects (for example, the decrease of trees in the Amazon rainforest has contributed to the increase in greenhouse gases) and more long-term effects (the extinction of current species will have a domino effect on the adaptivity and longevity of other species in the environment). This loss of biodiversity will mean that future generations may live in a world where there are no rhinos, gorillas or elephants.
4. How can humans use fossils to learn how ecosystems have changed over time?
Fossil remains are used to understand different aspects of an ecosystem. Individual fossils contain information about the lives of specific organisms and how they interacted with their environment. Fossils can also show the conditions that were present in the environment during the organism's lifetime. Fossils can also show how the species within an environment evolved over time. By looking at fossils in the order of their formation, scientists can see how the organisms changed and evolved to fit their environment over time. The number and variety of fossils also gives scientists an insight into the biodiversity of an area.
5. Do you think that humans have a more positive impact on the environment or a more negative impact?
Answers to this question will vary. The teacher should push students to explain their reasoning using prior experience, the information presented in the article, and the information presented in any videos they may have watched in the teaching phase.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. The teacher should begin the class by initiating student prior knowledge using the guiding questions.
2. Next, the teacher will ask the students to list the ways that humans impact their environment. Students can do this on their own or with partners.
3. Then, ask the students to share their lists with the class. The teacher can use the examples given by the students to create a class list that can be used for future reference. Also have the students write down any impacts that were not on their own lists.
4. Further divide examples into 2 lists: positive and negative impacts on the environment.
5. Next, the teacher will have the students watch the video Human Effect on the Environment: Wake-up Call. Ask students to add any other impacts they missed.
6. Now the teacher will tell the students that they will be reading an article that studies the impact that humans have on an ecosystem in the Caribbean.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the text. For class discussions that will follow, it will be helpful to have students number each paragraph within each section.
2. Provide each student with a note-taking guide (version A).
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Ancient Fossils Show Effect of Humans on Caribbean Wildlife
- Subtitle: Fossils found in flooded cave tell new story about nature-human interactions
- Headings: Some species more adaptable, Which species went, which remained?
- Captions: Located under each photograph
4. Have students complete the note-taking guide as they read, labeling and categorizing information as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- There is a version B of the note-taking guide that includes a few extra terms to define, as well as some clues for answering the questions. It can be used with struggling readers at the teacher's discretion.
- Students will need access to a dictionary to help them define the terms.
5. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the following words while reading, teachers might use the following definitions to help them:
- Ecosystem: a biological community of organisms interacting with each other and their environment
- Environment: the whole natural world, or a particular geographical area
- Human forces: humans using their abilities to understand, break down, or rearrange the natural world
- Invasive species: any living organism that is non-native in an ecosystem, whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm
- Climate: the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period
- Fossils: the remains of ancient organisms in a petrified form or as a mold or cast in rock
- Habitat alteration: a change in the land or how the land is used, causing an impact on local ecosystems
- Ice Age: a time period when the overall temperature of the Earth was reduced, extensive ice sheets were found, and all living organisms were impacted
- Biodiversity: the variety of living organisms on the planet
- Adaptability: how capable a population is of adjusting to changing conditions
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers. This additional answer key displays what the article might look at after text coding.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
1. The climate has always changed or has changed many times, so there is no reason to assume that change is caused by humans.
Recent data shows that humans are the leading cause for the climate change the world is now experiencing. Research shows that humans are the direct cause for the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Although the climate has changed in the past due to natural events, and will continue to change due to natural events, the unprecedented climate change seen recently can only be attributed to human activity.
2. Ecosystems change little over time.
Although it may appear to students that ecosystems do not change very much (based on their level of interaction with their local ecosystem), ecosystems are constantly changing. More recently, most of these changes are due to the impacts of human activities. These activities range from deforestation to urbanization, and they have a immediate, drastic impact on the surrounding environment.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Point out the use of some textual specifics in the introduction that quickly illustrate a few major points from the article.
- Point out the last sentence of the introduction and how the writer made the main point clear. Direct the students back to the prompt and remind them the main part of the prompt asked them to include and describe the ways that humans impact their environment.
- Point out the writer's use of transitions. Also, point out the use of textual evidence throughout the paragraphs.
- In the final paragraph, point out how the concluding paragraph connects to the main point. Brainstorm with students additional ideas about how to wrap up the piece.
- Throughout the sample response, have students identify the effective use of domain-specific vocabulary, such as environment, ecosystem, human impact, and biodiversity.
3. Teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
1. At the end of class, the teacher can conduct a quick formative assessment to see if any additional review of the material is necessary. The teacher will begin by handing each student a blank index card and having all students write their names at the top of the index card. Next, the teacher will project the following questions on the board:
- List and describe 3 ways that humans have impacted the biodiversity of our environment.
- List 2 ways that individuals can have a positive impact on the environment.
2. The teacher will direct all students to answer these questions independently on the index card. The teacher will collect these cards to assess the individual understanding of each student. If remediation is required, the teacher can use some of the additional Extension activities in a follow-up lesson.
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They must refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
The prompt: Write a multi-paragraph response that describes the impacts humans have on the biodiversity of an ecosystem. Cite evidence from the article describing the negative and positive impacts that humans, as individuals and as a society, have on their environment.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"