- Understand how plants support healthy environments
- Learn about the uses of plants in urban environments
- Learn about the disruption of natural resources and how it affects humans and the environment
- Natural Disruptions Activity Sheet printable
- Computers for student use
Make copies of the Natural Disruptions Activity Sheet printable for each student.
Step 1: Tell students that cities and nature are connected in countless ways. Ask for volunteers to give a few examples of how city dwellers interact with nature on a daily basis and how they depend on nature for their well-being. To expand on the topic, offer these facts:
Water: Most cities do not have their own water supply, so they must depend on clean water that comes from other places. Often this source is a river or a distant reservoir. If that river or lake becomes heavily polluted or begins to run low, the city is in trouble. Cities rely on healthy, natural ecosystems upstream to provide them with clean water.
Air: The atmosphere is a shared resource, and air pollution produced in one location can spread to other places. Without pollution controls and natural systems, such as healthy forests, air quality can decline.
Land: Cities need trees and plants for many reasons. They moderate temperatures and can help prevent the “heat island” effect. They also improve air quality and mental health.
Step 2: Explain that when natural systems are disrupted, there are wide-ranging effects. Deforestation, wetland destruction, and pollution can cause damage both to physical infrastructure — through flooding, for example — and to public health. The rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing disruptions as well, and promises to create many problems in the future, including rising temperatures, extreme storms, and coastal flooding. In all of these cases, working to maintain a healthy plant world will help prevent or mitigate many of these problems.
Step 3: Distribute the Natural Disruptions Activity Sheet printable. Explain the activity instructions and give students time to complete them.
Step 4: Discuss where some of the natural disruptions listed in the activity sheet are currently happening in your region. Have students complete the activity with online research to find out how humans are affected.
Work together as a class to consider solutions to the problems listed on the Natural Disruptions Activity Sheet printable and brainstorm ideas about what you may be able to do at your school. Have students use their scientific knowledge and technological creativity.