First Grade, Lesson 4: Who Takes Care of the Maya Forest Corridor?

First Grade, Lesson 4: Who Takes Care of the Maya Forest Corridor?

Concept 

The work of conservationists is tireless. It demands a knowledge of the ecological dynamics and the relationship that humans have in each region. A ranger is responsible for balancing human use with the health of the environment.

Essential Question 

Making sure animals and people are safe in their habitats is a big job. Who makes sure we are safe, healthy and comfortable?

Step 1 -- Connect (The Concept to Prior Knowledge)

Step 1

Challenge

Students identify the rules, laws, jobs and people who help them feel safe, keep them healthy and make them comfortable and happy. They identify the rules, laws, jobs and people who look after the livelihood of animals, particularly those in the Maya Forest Reserve.

Materials

- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. Students make a list of all the rules, laws, jobs and people who make their playground and school safe. They extend this list to include their homes.
  2. Students identify changes that have been made to their playgrounds or homes to increase safety or comfort.
  3. Students may draw a picture to show one incident/person who helps them feel safe in their neighborhood or play space.

Step 2 -- Literature/Discuss (Give Expert Information Book; Ask Questions)

Challenge

Students identify the people who are trying to keep the rainforest safe for the four focus species.

Materials

- Book: The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry
- Book: My Dad the Ranger, a Rainforest Alliance story

Procedure

  1. Read The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry. Identify the threats to the animals and the rainforest that are identified in this book.  Discuss the reasons that people might be cutting down trees in the rainforest.
  2. Read My Dad the Ranger, a Rainforest Alliance story. Talk about the ways that the ranger is protecting the four species of focus. Discuss people in the lives of the students who provide safety and health. What do they do that is different than the ranger?
  3. Visit the Adopt-A-Rainforest pages about Belize for a discussion of threats to the environmentally important Maya Mountain Marine Corridor and efforts to protect it.
  4. Give a short overview of Belize and the Maya rainforest: Belize's tropical rainforests are home to more than 220 tree species and 350 species of birds. Forest areas include the largest true subtropical rainforest in Belize, with a great diversity of rare and endangered plants, birds, insects and animals, including five species of wild cats. Cover information about what the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE) is doing to protect Belize's rainforests. Due to its tremendous natural diversity, TIDE with the support of The Nature Conservancy and the Rainforest Alliance, is working to conserve the "Ridges to Reef" conservation corridor in Southern Belize.

Step 3A -- Practice (Math and Learning Centers)

Challenge

Students carry out a variety of interesting comparisons between the two environments: their neighborhoods and the marine corridor. Students create a column graph that compares the threats to the safety of humans and animals within both environments.

Materials

- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. Have students brainstorm the kinds of things that might threaten the integrity of their playground, school or home.
  2. List those things in columns labeled respectively. Then list the things that might threaten the Maya Forest Marine Corridor (both the forest and the watershed).
  3. Compare and contrast the sources of threats and the results of threats.

Step 3B -- Create (Performance Tasks Related to Standard Indicators)

Challenge

Using the materials they have studied, students will translate what they know into a symbolic representation.

Materials

- Paper
- Art Supplies

Procedure

  1. Students will create a 3D model of the two environments in small groups. This might be in the form of a diorama or a flat cookie sheet sized model.
  2. Students will talk about the ways the two environments are the same and what threats they face in the future to their safety, health and comfort.

Step 4 -- Present

Challenge

Students will write stories that use the two different 3D representations as a background for a personal exploration of the rainforest or of an exploration of their playground from the perspective of a jaguar, howler monkey, manatee or loggerhead turtle. The stories will highlight where animals feel safe, where they can get what they need to survive and whether they feel comfortable.

The Rainforest Alliance curricula is unique in that it teaches language arts, math, science, social studies and the arts while addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics. Our multidisciplinary curricula present information on forests, biodiversity, local communities and sustainable practices. Lessons provide a global perspective on the importance of protecting the world's natural resources, locally and globally, while giving students opportunities for direct action.

To help teachers seamlessly integrate our resources into their lesson plans, we have correlated our kindergarten through 8th grade and climate curriculum guides to the Common Core State Standards for both English language arts and mathematics. Please feel free to use these correlations to help guide you through these lessons, as well to help you identify extensions and adaptations to advance your work.

The Rainforest Alliance can help your school district incorporate local standards and closely align our curricula with the educational mandates in your region.

In addition to the above standards, the education program seeks to advance alignment opportunities with the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; National Education for Sustainability (K-12) Student Learning Standards.

For any further inquiries, please contact us at education@ra.org.

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