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Lesson Plan #: AELP-VOC0017
Submitted by: Richard Oakes Peters, Ed. D.
Email: docdk39@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: Augusta State University (GA) Date: February 28, 2000

Grade Level(s): 3, 4, 5, 6


  • Language Arts/Vocabulary

Duration: Five 30-45 minute sessions Description: Cooperative work groups define, study, and incorporate vocabulary terms/words into conversations and writings.

Goals: As a result of investigating selected vocabulary terms/words, students will:

1) understand the meaning of terms/words used in ecology-related literature and conversations
2) understand the meaning of ecology-related messages (e.g., lectures, discussions, debates, visuals) conveyed in mass media (print/nonprint and Internet)
3) have empathy for the plight of organic species within geographic areas
4) aesthetically appreciate the beauty of organic species and the grandeur of nature’s landscape
5) comprehend MAN/NATURE relationships within geographic areas.

Objectives: Students will:

1) define selected terms/words using dictionaries
2) discuss selected vocabulary within assigned groups
3) incorporate defined terms/words into sentences, essays, and reports
4) create bulletin board displays
5) correctly spell terms/words (quizzes, tests, writings, visual displays)
6) use print materials (trade books, texts, magazines, newspapers) to find data
7) use nonprint materials (films, filmstrips, slides, videos) and Internet web sites to find data
8) write about the ‘beauty’ of nature (diaries/logs, sentences, essays, reports)
9) draw pictures depicting the ‘beauty’ of nature, 10) talk about the perceived ‘beauty’ of nature.


  • dictionaries
  • print sources (trade books, texts, magazines, newspapers)
  • Internet web sites
  • community resources (people, places, things, processes)
  • community/area/regional maps
  • 8mm/16mm motion picture cameras and film
  • still photography cameras and film
  • video tape equipment and tapes
  • construction paper-scissors-glue-tape-crayons-markers
  • audiovisual presentations (films, filmstrips, slides, videos)

Procedure: Students will be organized into 3-4 member cooperative work groups.

1) Each group will be assigned vocabulary terms/words to define. For example:

BIOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT – all living organisms of other species living around Man within a geographic area,
BIOME – a particular array/varieties of plants within a geographic area,
CONSERVATION – the management and protection of a valuable resource(s),
DENSITY – the number of species inhabitants within a geographic area,
DEFORESTATION – destruction of forest areas within a geographic area(s),
ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY – protecting the native diversity and the ecological patterns/processes that maintain that diversity,
ECOLOGY – the relations between living organisms/species and their environment within a geographic area(s),
ENVIRONMENT – all the conditions, circumstances, etc surrounding and affecting the development/survival of an organism/species within a geographic area(s), ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS – the amount of pollutant emitted into the environment within a geographic area(s),
EXTINCTION – the destruction/elimination of an entire species (forever) within a geographic area(s),
FAUNA – the animals of a specified region or time, FLORA – the plants of a specified region or time,
INORGANIC – non-living matter,
NATURAL RESOURCE – an organic or inorganic form of wealth supplied by nature,
NATURAL RESOURCE RESTORATION – an endangered resource or region is renewed,
ORGANIC – living organism(s); animal or vegetable, SPECIES – a single, distinct kind of animal (fauna) or plant (flora) having certain distinguishing characteristics.

2) Group members will:

a) write sentences using defined terms/words,
b) appropriately use defined vocabulary in group conversations/discussions,
c) create bulletin board displays – giving visual examples of defined terms/words,
d) create short stories based on defined terms/words (e.g., the BIOME of a selected geographic area, the EXTINCTION of an organic species, NATURAL RESOURCES to be found in the local community/region),
e) research the local community for examples of defined terms/words, and collect data,
f) incorporate data into presentations made to the class.

3) Collectively, the class creates a vocabulary report (defined terms/words, essays, visuals, etc) that will be left with the grade-level teacher — the report will be used by next year’s class – as a resource for their investigations.

Assessment: Students demonstrate knowledge/abilities by:

1) using dictionaries and other sources to define terms/words,
2) correctly spelling vocabulary terms/words,
3) talking about ecology-related terms/words and topics,
4) writing about ecology-related terms/words and topics,
5) reading about ecology-related terms/words and topics,
6) creating bulletin board displays,
7) researching data in the local community,
8) working cooperatively with classmates,
9) creating art work depicting one’s perceived ‘beauty’ of nature.

Useful Internet Resources:

Worldwide Fund for Nature

National Wildlife Federation

World Resources Institute

Environmental Protection Agency

The Nature Conservancy

Conservation International

Wildlife Conservation Society

Environmental Defense Fund