The science curriculum is intended to be the first portion of this program. Through a myriad of experiential learning activities, student's are asked to investigate their city from multiple perspectives. These investigations will be chronicled in their journals, and become the basis for creating their original songs. Below is a collection of original content, and compiled environmental curriculum from various national agencies.
Please complete these first two lessons, before starting the other curriculum options:
Program Introduction and Building Ecological Awareness
Distribute course materials, Inform and inspire the students about the program, generate a collaborative definition of the respective city, and begin the writing process.
City Observations and Nature Journals
Share student observations of their favorite street and engage in the nature journal process.
Please feel free to choose at least 1-2 lessons from the following material:
Biomes - Lesson Plan
Introduce and inform students of the regional biomes across Northern America, and define and distinguish between biotic and abiotic components in the environment.
Trees - Lesson Plan
Create a basic understanding of tree taxonomy, biology, and function, build an awareness of the benefits of trees within the urban landscape, and conduct field identification of sample leaves.
Biofilia - Activity
Students conduct interviews in a public space to assess how individuals understand and respond to natural settings in an urban context. Download handout here.
Inventorying and Mapping the Urban Forest - Lesson Plan
Students will inventory trees in their area by recording tree names, height, diameter at breast height, and location; create frequency charts of three dominant species; and create a picture map of their study area. This activity is from University of Florida's Project Learning Tree and created by Bebette de Vera, Martha C. Monroe, and Jennifer A. Seitz. Complete Unit can be downloaded here.
Water Wonders - Lesson Plan
Students will be able to state how an urban forest, paved area, and compacted area respond after rainfall and explain how an urban forest can help communities reduce erosion and flooding, improve water quality, and recharge aquifers.This activity is from University of Florida's Project Learning Tree and created by Bebette de Vera, Martha C. Monroe, and Jennifer A. Seitz.
Investigating a Livable Community - Lesson Plan
Students will survey an audience and tally results, compare and contrast results from different people, and state one psychological or social benefit of an urban forest. This activity is from University of Florida's Project Learning Tree and created by Bebette de Vera, Martha C. Monroe, and Jennifer A. Seitz.
Community Inventory - Activity
A worksheet to log the number of biotic and abiotic elements in the student's neighborhood. Activity from "What's Good in My Hood?" created by Akiima Price.
If Water Could Talk - Lesson Plan
Students investigate where water is in their community, its cycles in the urban environment, and how their community depends it. Lesson plan from "What's Good in My Hood?" developed by Akiima Price.
Local Environmental Non-Profit Research Project - Lesson Plan
Students will identify, research, and report on a local non-profit working on an environmental issue that is significant in their city. Students will gather and synthesize information and present their findings.
Designing Complete Streets - Lesson Plan
Students will develop deepened understanding of the dynamics of a city street, its challenges and its opportunities. They will apply results of their investigation to the design of a “complete street”. Created by Tom O’Dowd of Bard College.