Unit Planning Template

unit template.doc

Grade 7 Environmental Unit

Revised Environmental Unit


  • Create a question board that can be added to at any time.
  • Include at the beginning that a journal or a blog will be used for each activity.

Website Resources

Key Questions
Why should people care about the planet Earth?
  • How do we depend on the environment?
  • What are some problems facing the environment?
  • What do you think will happen to the environment during your lifetime?
  • Of all the ways that we may be doing harm to the earth, which concerns you most?
  • What are some things that you and your peers can do to show your respect and care for the environment?
Key Objectives
The key objectives to focus on:

  1. Identifying audience, role, purpose, and situation is important when considering the appropriate and correct language to use and in order to understand what is heard, read, or viewed.
  2. Draw on prior knowledge and experience by considering what they know and need to know about the topic.
  3. Formulate questions before listening.
  4. Make inferences based on text and prior knowledge
  5. Draw conclusions based on evidence in text.


Concept 1: How do we depend on the environment?

Approximate Length: 1 week

Lesson 1
Resource: George, Chief Dan. And My Heart Soars

      • Make it a SO WHAT type of activity
  • For the Making Connections worksheet, add in a third column for an explanation
  • For the after reading, insert some reflection for how do we depend on the environment? for closure
  • Put assessment at the top of the lesson (both links)

Assessment: - Connection Rubric
Making Connections Worksheet

Before Reading: Explain that a heart can soar when a person cherishes and takes care of something. For example, my heart soars when I planting a seed and watches a flower grow. Brainstorm when the students' hearts soar.

During Reading: Together as a group read the poem. At the end

After Reading: Have students complete the connection sheet. (Text to Text – Text to Self – Text to World )

Diaries of the Leadership School

· Visualize what’s wilderness, instead of brainstorm; either as a group activity or individually; train them on visualization (what is wilderness? What is leadership?)
· During reading will be individual
a. Model first, then more together, then alone
b. Add reading strategies
· Read word the After, don’t include a poem, possibly a paraphrase, or do a search for a picture, and then state why. Pick the one that they liked the best.
· As an extension, they can paraphrase or explain their drawing.
· Include: How does this relate to depending on the environment?

Pre Reading: Present to the students the title of the article. Have students brainstorm what they think is a Wilderness Leadership School.

During Reading: Have students visualize the images that come to them as they read the diary entries.

After Reading: Have students represent their visualizations by either drawing the images, or writing a poem which focuses on the imagery using descriptive words. The entries may be recorded in the students’ unit journal or if the computers are accessible, have students write one blog diary entry.

Assessment: Visualization Rubric and Blog Rubric
Visualization worksheet

Ten Commandments for the Earth

  • Have fun with the Old English (Thou shalt….., etc.)
  • Instead of discuss, use “dissect”. Command means…..
  • For the during reading, instead of “summarize”, “use put into your own words”. Have students condense each commandment into one line.
  • For the After:
    1. Take a commandment, and do an inquiry
i. What is society doing to improve and uphold this law? (garbage, etc.)
1. start as a class possibly
2. anti-littering campaign, tree planting, garbage picking day
    1. this leads into the after reading, the inquiry should be placed in the after reading section
    2. the inquiry can be in groups (based on numbers and importance)
    3. together as a group, they can ut together a wiki page, and add links
i. if wikis are not accessible, make a bulletin board
    1. then they can do the after reading part
i. include a closure (ask the question about depending on the environment)

Pre Reading: Discuss the word “commandment” and have students share their understanding of the word. Discussion should eventually lead to the Ten Commandments as to live our lives by. Divide students in groups of 2 or 3 and begin a discussion with the following question: If you could think of “ten commandments” to save the Earth, what would they be? (Allow the groups 5 minutes to reflect, discuss, and compose commandments)

During Reading: Have students summarize each commandment after reading each one. Focus summaries on the following questions: What laws (if any) are in place to control any breech of the commandments? What is society doing to improve and uphold these commandments?

After Reading: Have students write a blog entry on how they will follow one or more of the commandments which are relevant to their lives and they have a connection to. If the computers are not accessible, have students record their thoughts in their daily journal for this unit.

Assessment: Blog Rubric

Because this topic is now finished, look back at the three responses, and figure out where their thoughts are in relation to the MAIN question: Why should people care about the environment?
In a KWL chart as a class for more guidance
Individually for less guidance

Lesson 2
What are some problems facing the environment?

Conway, Kevin. Gaia: A Medical Report

· Get the students to understand what a medial report is
· Don’t do all the vocabulary, choose the main words that are key to understanding
o Kids need to understand –itis, and understand what these words mean
o This one should be a group read
o Use chart below instead of the one linked:
§ For before reading, model one word
§ For during read, guide through 5 key words
Word or phrase
Word parts, related words
Prediction of meaning
Meaning from discussion or dictionary
Image to remember meaning
Homo sapiens


· Take out the assessment
· We need to ask the question: What’s the problem facing the environment? (Humans)

Pre Reading: Introduce students to vocabulary. Have students write the definitions of any terms they know and understand.

During Reading: Using context clues or dictionaries students continue writing the definitions of the vocabulary words.

After Reading: Students complete the Sum It Up activity sheet.

Assessment: Completion of the definitions and the Sum It Up activity sheet
Vocabulary Words

Cousteau, Jacques. A Plea for the Sea

· This will be a Think Aloud, with a link to a source for back ground information
· The students will only listen, but will also have to attack 5 vocabulary words, and a Sum It Up sheet
Then ask the question “What problems are facing the environment?”

Pre Reading: Introduce students to vocabulary. Have students write the definitions of any terms they know and understand.

During Reading: Using context clues or dictionaries students continue writing the definitions of the vocabulary words.

After Reading: Students complete the Sum It Up activity sheet.

Assessment: Completion of the definitions and the Sum It Up activity sheet
Vocabulary Words

Harris, Jack C. The Green House Effect

· Before: KWL chart does not relate to the main one for the main question.
· During: record the words on the chart above
o Fill in KWL chart as you read (especially the L part)
· After reading
o Ask the question: DO you know what you believe?
§ Show one pro and one anti greenhouse effect arguments
§ Add to your KWL chart so that you can make an informed decision
§ Put any other questions into your blog/journal
§ Also answer the question of “What is a problem facing the environment?”

Pre Reading: Students begin recording their knowledge of the greenhouse effect on a K-W-L handout.

During Reading: Students select five vocabulary words and record the definitions in their personal Environmental Dictionary.

After Reading: Students complete the K-W-L handout and must ask two questions about greenhouse effect.

Assessment: Completion of the K-W-L handout and the two questions.

The Man Who Sent Garbage to the Sea

· Before: Instead of them creating a plan, they can write down what they already do with the garbage.
· During: Double-Entry Jounral:
Jot notes

· Pick the best image from above and publish it.
· After reading, complete a slide show answering the question “What is the problem with garbage?”
o Put in links to help with slide show creation (don’t use power point).
o Assessment: Slide Show checklist

Pre Reading: Discussion question: If you had to make up a plan to get rid of the garbage in your town/area/farm, what would it be? Introduce vocabulary barge and discuss land fills (personal experiences/connections, ideas)
During Reading: Have students write jot notes on the imagery presented in the text.
After Reading: Have students complete the handout This is How I See the Text.
Assessment: Completion of the handout and jot notes
Visualization Rubric

Look at the questions: “What are the problems facing the earth?” “Why should we care about the Earth?”

Lesson 3:

What do you think will happen to the environment during your lifetime?

Success Stories: Preserving Endangered Species

o These are the causes for endangerment:
o Using pictures of endangered and not endangered animals, classify them.
o Provide links
o Provide a link for the world map.
o Verify guesses from the BEFORE activity.
o Research animals to see if they are endangered or not.
o Show discovery.net small shows about environmental issues.
o Go back and look at the other articles we have already seen in this unit.
o Answer the main question after viewing.

Pre Reading: Discussion questions - What endangered animals are there now? What could you do to prevent an animal from becoming endangered?

During Reading: Using a world map students locate the countries of the listed endangered animals in the article.

After Reading: Students research 3-5 more world endangered animals and map the countries on the map. Students research a Canadian endangered species and present their knowledge as a 5 W’s and How report.
Assessment: Small research report presented either orally, artistically, or multi media.

A Fable for Tomorrow, Form the Book Silent Spring

· BEFORE: take out “discuss”, and use “speculate”
· The rest is all good

Pre Reading: Analyze the last sentence of the introduction. Discuss what “strange blight” could have been descending on a “healthy, prosperous town”?
During Reading: Students complete handout Story Map of the key events of the fable.
After Reading: Students will complete the handout Sum It Up (referring to the Story Map for key ideas)
Assessment: Completion of Story Map and Sum It Up activities.

Concept 4: What are some things you and your peers can do to show you respect and care for the environment?
The students will choose to read some of the resources below in answering the main question for this concept:

How Green Are You?
Their Future is at Stake: Jeff Gibbs and the Environmental Youth Alliance
Hug a Tree: the Cjipko Movement
They Went, They Saw, They Picked Up
Exxon Valdez: The Disaster the Couldn't Happen

Then clarify what the fable does for the environment, and answer the BIG question: “Why should we care about the environment?”

Lesson 5
Of all the ways we may be doing harm to the Earth, which one concerns you the most?

1) Give the students these resources, and they can read them to get ideas.
2) This will be the pursuing part/inquiry part
a. They pick a topic and research it
i. They choose questions and find their response (collection of thoughts)
1. the question should not be fact based
2. Mini-lessons:
a. Documenting
b. Persuasive essay writing
3. Projects:
a. Written
b. Voice thread
c. I movie
d. Photo story
e. Jump cut
f. How can I use design and techniques to persuade?
depending on the students’ experience, you may want to limit not the above applications

THEN, relating the learning from the whole unit to the essential question: Why should we care about the environment?