|The curriculum series is available for free downloading in PDF format below. If you are not able to view PDF documents, go to www.acrobat.com and download Acrobat Reader at no charge. |
NOTE: Due to copyright restrictions we are unable to post four of these lessons on-line. Please submit your request via the email link provided and they will be emailed or mailed to you (if you provide a mailing address).
The Series is also available in hard copy format from the MSU Bulletin Systems for $25.00 at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/viewitem.cfm?INVKEY=E2926
Units & Lesson Plans
- Table of Contents
- How to Use This Learning Series
I LOVE MY COMMUNITY!
Land Uses -- There Are So Many!
Students put together zoning pieces on a puzzle board to design a smooth running community. They then list land uses on sticky notes and categorize them into each of the zones, competing in a contest to see who can put the greatest number of land uses on their community puzzle board.
Map It: How Well Do You Know Your Neighborhood?
Students draw a map from memory when they imagine that they are flying in a helicopter and looking down on their neighborhood.
City Planning is Colorful!
On a local map, students use city planner colors and follow a legend to color land use zones. They understand that proper zoning colors are used to identify different land uses (zones) in their community.
Walking Neighborhood Surveys
Groups of students engage in a neighborhood walk, surveying community land use, natural features, traffic and streets, architecture and historic resources, and diversity and culture. The students report their findings.
My School and Other Community Services -- Where and Why?
Why is my elementary school here? Where is the fire station? The locations of such services are often planned to provide convenient access for the entire community. By using local examples, students explore reasons why civic facilities are located where they are in their community.
Neighborhoods Improvements -- A Class Project to be Proud Of
For this class project, students begin by establishing neighborhood improvement goals. In small groups, they role-play city planners and design neighborhood improvements. As a class, students build a large-scale improvement model, and then present it to various groups. Finally, students help to accomplish a neighborhood improvement goal, gaining a sense of community pride.
GEOGRAPHY ALL AROUND ME
Michigan Map Road Trip
Working in pairs, students use a Michigan road map to fill in blanks while taking an imaginary road trip. They locate and identify characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements. In addition, Appendix 6 includes a road trip of the Grand Rapids/Kent County area.
Here's Looking at Your Place: A Community Profile Exchange
Students explore their own community and create a community profile that they exchange with students of other Michigan or Great Lakes communities. Students gather information for and write letters to an exchange classroom.
My Neighborhood, How Has It Changed?
Students examine aerial photographs of their neighborhood and compare two photographs of the same area, taken at least 10 years apart. They will locate and identify changes that have taken place in the area and then write compare and contrast statements. (If local maps are unavailable, they can use the Fruitland maps that are provided.)
Students graph and interpret trends in farmland and population data. They also plot land use scenarios and evaluate the pros and cons of developing farmland.
Landmarks, "I See One!"
Students learn to identify community, state and national landmarks. They will use a decision making model to choose one landmark to promote or preserve as a national or state recognized landmark.
WOW! THE ENVIRONMENT IS IMPORTANT
A Slice of Planet Earth
By observing (or performing) the slicing of an apple, students become aware of the small fraction of the Earth's limited land resources that support all human life.
Food Web Forest Munchers
Students will use body movement, pantomime, and food tokens to simulate the feeding motions of forest and open land organisms and identify their interconnectedness in a food web.
Students simulate a process of land development by acting as vegetation, herbivores, carnivores, and land developers. Through physical activity, they will identify organisms as part of a food chain, recognize the importance of suitable habitat for wildlife, and understand and describe some effects of land development on planets and animals.
Green Space Metaphors
Students will develop an appreciation for and an understanding of green spaces through the power of "hands-on" metaphors, linking the characteristics and natural functions of green spaces to the familiar realm of everyday life.
Character Education and Responsible Land Use
In this three-part lesson, students read stories about model citizens who worked to beautify the environment. The students then develop their won land use code of ethics from discussion cards and work on a real land use dispute. Lastly, students tract their success in living responsibly on a "Good Citizen" chart.
IT'S FUN TO BE INVOLVED!
Students create a collage (design a plan) of human land use activities around an image of a pond. They evaluate the effects of different kids of land use on wetland habitats, and discuss and evaluate lifestyle changes to minimize damaging effects on habitats.
Landopoly: A Decision-Making Game
Students play a board game to develop their land use decision-making skills. Through the various choices posed in the game, students are asked to consider both economic and environmental well-being in making land use decisions.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Students conduct a mock public hearing to make a group decision on a land use development project. They learn that every voice gets heard and that individual citizens can make a difference.
Follow The Bill: An Issue Investigation
In this issue investigation project, students practice citizenship when they identify, follow, analyze, evaluate and lobby for or against pending legislation affecting a land use issue.
- Resources for Teaching
- Service Learning and Action Project Options
- Framework Overview and Complete Framework
- Traveling Trunks at Your School
- Kent County Area Lesson Extensions and Adaptations
- Review and Evaluation of Materials
There are several valuable on-line resources for teachers. Here are just a few:
AgEducate - AFBF Foundation for Agriculture
American Planning Association - Kids and Community
Bureau of Land Management
California Foundation for Ag in the Classroom
Council for Environmental Education and Project WILD
EE-Link, Environmental Education on the Internet
The Enrichment Channel
EPA's Environmental Education Page
Region 5 EPA Environmental Education Page
EPA Teaching Center
EPA Student Center
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
Farm Software for Kids
Food, Land and People
The Gateway to Educational Materials
The Global Learning & Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program
Institute for Ecosystem Studies
Izaak Walton League of America
Learning to Give, An Action of the Heart. A Project for the Mind.
The Leopold Education Project
Michigan Environmental Education
Michigan Farm Bureau's Agricultural Education Resources
Michigan Forests Forever Teachers Guide
Michigan 4-H Youth Development
Michigan History for Kids
Michigan House Civics Commission
Michigan State University Extension
National Geographic Society
Natural Resources Conservation Service
North American Association for Environmental Education
PBS Teacher Source
Project Learning Tree
The Rouge Education Project
Seeds of Change Garden
T.E.A.C.H. Great Lakes
USDA Science for Kids
University of Michigan Environmental Education Site
World Wildlife Fund
Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education
|This Land Is Your Land is a set of land use curriculum materials that was designed to help students grow and develop into involved citizens who understand the importance and practice of wise land use. |
Upper Elementary Focus
The learning series has been designed for upper elementary -- 3rd through 5th grades -- although the lessons are easily adaptable to any grade level.
The curriculum materials offer important and unique benefits to teachers and students that include:
What Teachers Are Saying...
- Fun and creative teaching strategies and learning methods, including experiential and hands-on components.
- Easy to follow materials that fit well into existing curricula.
- Lesson plans that meet the Michigan Curriculum Framework Content Standards and Benchmarks and prepare students for MEAP testing. Michigan standards and benchmarks are included in the curriculum and are listed by their numerical code and written out completely.
- An unbiased introduction to controversial land use issues, presenting all sides of an issue in a fair and honest manner.
- Lessons in each unit that build knowledge and skills for inquiry, investigation, analysis, decision-making and action.
- Projects at the end of each unit that can be displayed at fairs, in a class celebration or for guest speakers.
- Evaluation strategies directed toward a variety of learning styles that assess student learning.
- Adaptation ideas and computer extension activities to further student understanding and investigation.
- Background information, additional data, facts, resources and reference material for each lesson plan.
- Flexible Lesson Plans organized into fun, thematic teaching units.
"This is a very good lesson. It is easy for the kids to visualize the impact of development. It was easy to do, and the students really enjoyed it. In fact, they keep asking to do it again."
Dennis Thompson, 3rd Grade
Endeavor Elementary Kentwood, MI
"They LOVED it! ...It is a well thought out lesson that allows children to think and move. "
Wendy McLenithan, 3rd Grade
Explorer Elementary Kentwood, MI
"Excellent! Enthusiastic! Excited!"
Marilyn Stuart, 4th Grade
East Oakview Elementary Grand Rapids, MI
"They were engaged and enthusiastic. A good lesson plan, especially for reinforcement of previously taught concepts."
Deb Russo, 5th Grade
Highlands Middle School Grand Rapids, MI
For more information on This Land Is Your Land or to order a hard copy at cost, please contact:
Kendra Wills About Us
Agent and Project Coordinator of United Growth for Kent County
775 Ball Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1307
Tel: (616) 336-3265
Making the Urban-Rural Connection
United Growth for Kent County is focused on promoting positive regional growth through public education, capacity building and applied community leadership. The long-term goal of united Growth is to prepare citizens and policy makers to develop and implement creative land use policies that promote urban redevelopment and farmland/open space preservation.
Special thanks to the design team, and to the following partners: Michigan State University Extension's Children, Youth, and Family Programs; the MSUE Land Use Area of Expertise Team; and the Victor Institute for Responsible Land Development and Use.
Visit the United Growth for Kent County web site.
Why is Land Use Planning Important?
Land development that consumes productive farmland and natural areas is one of the most important environmental issues facing Michigan. Land use affects where we live, work, play, and go to school. Land use planning can minimize the loss of prime farmland or natural habitats, and help to avoid degradation of urban areas.
This Land is Your Land was developed to provide teaching material to reach our youth. It was designed so that young people can contribute solutions to current land use issues as well as participate in making sound decisions now and in their futures.
Flexibility of Lesson Plans
Lesson plans are organized into fun, thematic teaching units that can stand alone as a course of study in social studies and/or science. Since land use is a multi-disciplined topic, individual lesson plans can also be selected and used as unique supplemental material.
About the Design Team
The curriculum design team consisted of planners, designers, farmers, agricultural and environmental organizations, public officials and educators. The design team served as a review body that consulted on the framework and learning objectives. In order to ensure quality and appropriateness, teachers reviewed and piloted several lesson plan, sending the lessons through several revisions.
If you are an adventurous teacher looking for a new way to give your students an exciting classroom experience, the This Land Is Your Land traveling Resource Trunk may be what you are looking for. The Traveling Trunk offers exciting, object-based learning opportunities for your students, and when used in conjunction with the This Land Is Your Land curriculum, enhances and extends lessons. Trunk contents include: student reading books, teacher curriculum materials, CD Roms, music, games, zoning and road maps, a land use issue power point presentation and other educational materials related to land use. Click on Teacher Trunk for a complete list of contents.
Traveling trunks are available on a first come, first served basis and are free of charge, except for the $30 deposit that will be refunded upon return of the trunk. Teachers are responsible for picking up and returning the trunk. In the case where trunks will need to be shipped, the borrower is responsible for shipping charges. The loan period is three weeks. Reservations must be made in advance. Please contact Kendra Wills, at (616) 336-3265 or via email at email@example.com for more information.
Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status or family status.
Michigan State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties cooperating.
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal opportunity institution.
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