Third Grade Lesson 4: How Can We Keep our Forests Intact and Have our Chocolate Too?

Third Grade Lesson 4: How Can We Keep our Forests Intact and Have our Chocolate

Concept 

By using different methods of growing and harvesting rainforest foods, we can sustain its biodiversity.

Essential Question 

How can we keep our forests intact and have our chocolate too?

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

Challenge

Students consider the different perspectives on the use of resources that are available from different bioregions.

Materials

- Magazine/newspaper articles about local development projects

Procedure

  1. Students consider the different uses of a tree. Brainstorm the different ways that a tree might represent value among students and among different interest groups like loggers, farmers, bee keepers and fruit farmers.
  2. Teachers prepare students by identifying a local development project that students can relate to. Provide magazine/newspaper articles and/or have local decision-makers communicate the issue with students.
  3. Teachers will design a simulation that will have students address the different interests of community members in a particular piece of land. A challenge from the local community is selected by students or by the teacher as a focus for discussion. It might be the future of an empty lot or a farmer’s field that is for sale. Stakeholders are interested in using some of the local land for their own purposes. Students are to decide on a solution to which stakeholder(s) are entitled to use the local piece of land. Explain that a stakeholder is a person or group that has a direct or indirect interest or stake in a matter.
  4. Help students identify the different interest groups and create a personal profile of a representative from each group of stakeholders. Include a representative from the plant and animals present in the bioregion.
  5. Students take the roles of different stakeholders and have a debate about their right to use this land for their own purpose.
  6. A panel of students who listen to debate and sit in decision-making roles consider the testimony and decide on a land use plan.

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

Step 2

Challenge

Students consider land use decisions from another perspective, that of rainforest inhabitants.

Materials

- Ghana Slideshow [PDF]
- Ghana Slideshow Script [PDF]
- Ghana Teacher Summary [PDF]

Procedure

  1. Use the Rainforest Alliance Ghana Slideshow to introduce students to the country of Ghana.
  2. Students compare and contrast their communities and land use issues with the communities in Ghana. Students identify the problems present and think about all the stakeholders involved.
  3. Students research Ghana's geography and focus on the different uses of the Ghanaian rainforest.

    Resources for Discussion:
  4. Have the students enact a role playing sequence similar to that in Step 1 with a focus on the rainforest of Ghana. Include a chocolate producer and consumer in the process.
  5. Questions for discussion:
    • Who is involved in growing chocolate in Ghana?
    • What are the different ways to grow chocolate?
    • Who are the stakeholders?

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

Challenge

Students integrate their knowledge of chocolate production with the effects on the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the rainforest.

Materials

- Research tools (Internet, Encyclopedia, etc.)
- Paper, pencils

Procedure

  1. To begin to understand the demand for chocolate, students create a survey to discover how much chocolate they eat at home, in their class and in their school.
  2. Students research chocolate demand, land use issues and trends in tropical rainforests of Ghana.
  3. Students create word problems to teach others about how much chocolate people consume and how it affects tropical rainforests.

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

Challenge

Students shift their perspective from taking care of their own bioregion to taking care of the rainforest.

Materials

- Paper
- Art supplies

Procedure

  1. Students create scenarios that ensure that the people of Ghana can continue harvesting from the rainforest, cacao trees are made available for chocolate exports and the forest is conserved.
  2. Challenge students to create comic strips stories to explain their scenarios.

Step 4 -- Present (Edit Work/Students Present Projects)

Challenge

Students use their knowledge to take action to help conserve the rainforest.

Materials

- Comic strips from step 3B

Procedure

  1. Students send their comic strips with letters to the Rainforest Alliance to share their knowledge about Ghana's rainforest and their concern for the people of Ghana. The comic strips might include suggestions about how different chocolate producers/manufacturers can ensure we can keep our forests intact and have our chocolate too.

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.

Third Grade Resources

Species Profiles

Rainforest Posters

  • Inside the Canopy [PDF] – Structure and species of the rainforest
  • Status Report [PDF] – What is happening to the rainforest


Terrarium Instructions [PDF]

Rainforest Products

Teacher summary [PDF] – The Rainforest Alliance Learning Site provides a downloadable overview of cocoa farmers in Ghana with useful information to introduce you to the lesson topic.

Profiles in Sustainability

Certificate of Accomplishment [PDF]