- Big Ideas
- Essential Questions
- Content Outcomes Addressed
- Standards Addressed
- Pre- and Post-Assessment
- Investigation 1: Learning from Our Elders
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Resources for This Lesson
- Members of our communities are valuable resources for learning about how land use in our communities has changed over time.
- Resources like local museums and official town records can aid our understanding of local history and trends.
- Our surroundings are not static, but always changing.
- How has our local environment changed?
- What local efforts for preservation of land and animals exist/existed?
Content Outcomes Addressed
- Students will develop an understanding of local history and of how the environment has changed in recent history.
- Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS2.E (K-2) (9-12); ESS3.A (K-2) (3-5) (6-8) (9-12); ESS3.B (9-12); ESS3.C (K-2) (3-5) (6-8) (9-12); LS4.D (K-2) (3-5) (6-8) (9-12); LS2.C (3-5) (6-8) (9-12)
- Science and Engineering Practices: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8
- Crosscutting Concepts: 1-4, 7
- Writing: W.1.K, W.2.K, W.3.K, W.5.K, W.6.K, W.7.K, W.1.1, W.2.1, W.3.1, W.5.1, W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2, W.5.2, W.6.2, W.7.2, W.8.2, W.1.3, W.2.3, W.3.3, W.4.3, W.5.3, W.6.3, W.7.3, W.8.3, W.1.4, W.2.4, W.3.4, W.4.4, W.5.4, W.6.4, W.7.4, W.8.4
- Speaking and Listening: SL.1.K, SL.2.K, SL.3.K, SL.4.K, SL.5.K, SL.6.K, SL.1.1, SL.2.1, SL.3.1, SL.4.1, SL.5.1, SL.6.1, SL.1.2, SL.2.2, SL.3.2, SL.4.2, SL.5.2, SL.1.3, SL.2.3, SL.3.3, SL.4.3, SL.6.3, SL.1.4, SL.2.4, SL.3.4, SL.4.4, SL.1.5, SL.2.5, SL.3.5, SL.4.5
- Mathematical Practice: MP.3
- Measurement & Data: 3.MD.B.3, 1.MD.C.4
National Geography Standards: 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18
Many cultures continue to rely on oral history to pass important information and history to younger generations. Tribes in Kenya, like the Maasai, are governed by elders who serve as teachers for younger generations by providing oral histories of the land. This lesson will attempt to replicate that same model to help students better understand the local landscape and the changes it has undergone in recent history.
- oral history: the process of handing down information by word of mouth rather than through writing
Pre- and Post-Assessment
Assess prior knowledge by having students draw a map of what they think the area they will be studying looked like 10, 20, 30, 50, or even 100 years ago. How does it compare to the area today? Have students repeat the activity at the end of the lesson, and ask them to compare the two maps. What were their misconceptions at the beginning of the activity? What were they correct in predicting? Is there more or less green space?
- The local landscape never changes.
- The community does not keep records from the past about the local landscape, or if it does, these records are not available to the public.
Investigation 1: Learning from Our Elders
How has our local landscape changed in recent history?
- An individual who has lived in the area for a significant amount of time
- An area to visit and/or photos of the area
- Before the speaker arrives, ask students to brainstorm questions to ask. Have them consider the following: types of animals, land use, size of human population, etc.
- Ideally, bring the students and the speaker to the area the speaker will be talking about. If circumstances do not allow the students to bring photos of the area from different time periods, ask the speaker to do so. The speaker should talk about how land use has changed and why.
Have the students and the speaker consider the following questions:
- Is there more or less green space available now than then?
- What problems regarding land use currently exist? What is being done to address those problems? What more could be done to address those problems?
Using the webcomic they studied in Unit 5, Lesson 5 (see http://xkcd.com/1338/), have students fill in the changes the area they are studying has experienced between the past and now. They can then write a third-person narrative to accompany their findings.
Have students write a first-person narrative from the point of view of a tree, an animal, or some other organism living in the area. How might this type of narrative differ from that of a human?
Extension for Older Students
Americans move with great frequency, which can make the activity above difficult. The following activity seeks to use local resources as a stand-in for a community elder.
- Copies of historical photos, maps, etc. of the area from local museums, libraries, Town Hall, etc.
- Current photos of the same places
- Indigenous Knowledge Chart (print out from Resources, above right)
- Investigate the historical resources available in your town. This may vary greatly depending on what exists. See what local museums, libraries, or even the town records (surveyor maps could be very helpful) have available. Some of these materials may be accessible online.
- Ideally, find older photos of easily recognizable areas (like the main street in town or even the school itself). If possible, compare it with a modern photo taken from a similar angle. Have students complete the Indigenous Knowledge Chart (see Resources, above right) to identify what changes have occurred. Are the stores the same? Is the area busier today? How much green space is present?
Have students write a short paper explaining what their research revealed, being sure to include what changes they identified and why they think those changes occurred. Students should then present their paper, photos, and other visual resources to the class. If possible, post the visual materials in correct reference to each other on the board or wall.