Deforestation in the Amazon Learning Activity - One World Education

Deforestation in the Amazon Learning Activity - One World Education

Reflection Title: Deforestation in the Amazon Learning Activity: Weighing the Benefits by Juliet Armerding Subject Area: English/Language Arts Focus A...

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Reflection Title: Deforestation in the Amazon Learning Activity: Weighing the Benefits by Juliet Armerding Subject Area: English/Language Arts Focus Areas: deforestation, rainforest preservation, persuasion, support, cause and effect Grade: 6-8 Duration: 3-6 class periods (135-300 min) Common Core State Standards: Writing: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 Reading: 7, 8 Learning Activity Overview: Through this Learning Activity, students will be introduced to the controversial topic of deforestation in the Amazon region. After reading, reflecting, and engaging in dialogue analyzing the cause and effect relationships of deforestation, students will have the opportunity to craft a persuasive letter convincing others of the dangers of Amazonian deforestation. Objectives: (LW – Learner Will) * LW be able to identify the pros and cons of deforestation work in the Amazon * LW analyze cause and effect relationships regarding deforestation in the Amazon * LW craft a persuasive letter by taking a side to the argument * LW support argument in letter with specific and factual examples Preparation: * Copy student Reflections and worksheet Reflection Prompt: In her reflection, Emma writes, “Why is the loss of the rainforest important? There are a million reasons and if the forest was protected, everyone would benefit.” Essential Question: What is the benefit of a natural resource like the rainforest? What cause and effect relationships exist?

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Procedure: Step 1: Cause and Effect Review (30 minutes, or as needed depending on students) Begin with a review of cause and effect relationships. A sample activity: give out cards with either a “cause” or “effect” on them. (Cause: Mariana neglects to brush her teeth several times a week. Effect: She develops several cavities.) A good way to review would be to tie in a past unit/novel to make authentic applications with familiar characters/situations. After students have found their “cause and effect” partner, review the relationship between the two. Why is it important to recognize cause and effect relationships in literature? History? Our world? Step 2: Reading the Reflection (20 min) Hand out copies of Emma’s Reflection and read as a class. After the first reading, ask students for their initial take-aways. This will help you gauge the amount of background knowledge students have on the topic of Amazonian rainforests, deforestation, and the need for preservation. Step 3: Pros and Cons/Cause and Effect (20 min) Split students into groups and have them re-read the reflection, looking for examples of cause and effect relationships (what are the causes, or reasons behind this deforestation? what are the effects of deforestation?) Create a list/chart on the board. Reflect on all of the effects of deforestation, ask: how does this make you feel? Does it affect you personally? Should you care about this, or not? Who is to blame? (This response could be extended into a homework activity.) Step 4: Where is the Evidence? (Flexible) As a mini-extension or HW assignment, have students find examples of products that may have come - in part or wholly - from the rainforest. Before doing so, examine as a class the specific items mentioned in Emma’s reflection that have come from the rainforest. (Furniture, rubber, wood, beef from cattle, cars, coffee, chocolate, fruits, etc) Have students look for items around their homes, in stores, public places, etc. Students should list 5-10 products. Step 5: Who Needs to Know? Take a Stand (15 -25 min) In her reflection, Emma cites several large companies that are responsible for exploitation of the natural resources in the Amazonian rainforests. How are Wal-Mart, Toyota, and IKEA, amongst others, to blame in this process? What do they need to know regarding this problem? Using the information in Emma’s reflection, students create a list examining three major aspects www.oneworldeducation.org

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of the rainforest that have been affected: indigenous peoples, wood/plants, and animal life. Discuss: What are the negative effects on each of these groups? Why should we be concerned about the future of each of these? Have students craft an argument statement, which will be the foundation for their persuasive letter. (What will they PROVE to one of the companies?) Step 6: Crafting a Persuasive Argument (2-4 class periods, as needed) Using the student understanding of the causes and effect relationships of deforestation of the rainforest, and their stance on the issue, students will craft a persuasive letter to one of the companies referenced by Emma. In their persuasive letter, students must reference at least 5 cause and effect relationships as support for their argument. Take the students through the brainstorming and planning steps of the writing process in class, where teacher and student/peer input can be provided. Assign the drafting/peer editing/revision /publishing stages at teacher discretion. Resources for persuasive letters available from Scholastic.com: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/unitplan.jsp?id=65 Step 7: Share the Cause with Others Now that students have a strong understanding of the issue, take time to share their understandings with others (particularly younger students). Invite younger students into the class and put on display student letters, allowing older students to lead discussions with the younger students. Or, publish student work around hallways in the school or in school newspaper. Finally, do send the student letters to the corporations! Students Demonstrate Understanding By: * Engaging in discussions and correctly identify cause and effect relationships * Creating an argument around the topic of deforestation * Composing a persuasive letter that include several causes/effects to support their argument Global Extension Activities: Provide students with access to the Rainforest Alliance’s website. Students can research ways to support rainforest sustainability in their everyday lives - including purchasing certified products that are produced in sustainable ways. Students can promote such products and lifestyle choices to their peers in various forms (intercom/special announcements, posters/fliers, “news conference” for grade level, etc).

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