Students investigate and report on their connection with a special place and with their greater community.
This is one of 8 activities that can be found in PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Places We Live module. To get the activity, attend a training and receive PLT’s Places We Live secondary module. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:
Case Study: Sense of Place in the New Jersey Pine Barrens
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Generate: The Game of Energy Choices
Generate: The Game of Energy Choices is a board game from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that teaches students about the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future; and what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality. Teachers can download a printable version of the game and accompanying materials.
Earth from Space
This Smithsonian Institution website provides students (and teachers!) access to views of conditions and events on earth that are nearly impossible to document from the Earth’s surface. The site proves interactive; explaining how satellite imagery is gathered and used to better understand the world around us.
Looking for questions to evaluate your students’ awareness of the world in which you live? Here are 30 Questions to help get you started.
View a Location from Space
If classes are interested in looking at their school from space (or their house – for that matter) they can try the Map Machine from National Geographic or Google Maps.
“What Happened to Our Village Green?”
“What Happened to Our Village Green?” is an article in the Huston Chronicle by C.E. Hunt that discusses the loss of “green space” for children to learn and play.
The Place Where You Live
Orion magazine has reinstated its popular column called “The Place Where You Live.” This is a space where students and educators can share thoughts and experiences related to their communities or personal places. First-hand feelings are shared, such as what connects individuals to their special place, the history it holds, their hopes and fears for it, as well as resources necessary to protect it, prepare it for the future, and/or improve it.
iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting, or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connection with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.
Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!
Agents of Nature – Free Mobile App
The Agents of Nature Mobile Game is a place-based, environmental education game for iOS and Android devices that blends best practices in gaming industry technology with experiential outdoor education. It is designed to connect youth with nature, educate them about local ecosystems, and promote physical activity using readily accessible technologies. After downloading the free app, students head out to participating sites in their community and search for hidden QR codes which unlock challenges based on the mysteries of nature. Possible locations include Mount St. Helens, Los Angeles, Houston, and more. Try it today!
EPA’s new EnviroAtlas tool is designed to help communities and researchers make informed planning and policy decisions related to the environment and ecosystems. EnviroAtlas provides datasets and interactive tools to allow users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. EnviroAtlas includes over 300 data layers, letting users analyze how decisions affect ecosystems and their ability to provide goods and services. Key components include:
Why Trees? Video
As we know, trees represent more than just beautiful natural elements of our land, they also provide shade, manage water, stop erosion, protect streams, soothe the soul, clean the air, protect the quality and health of water, and attract homeowners, renters, and shoppers. Check out this Doodle Lecture created by Alabama Cooperative Extension that unveils the many benefits of having trees in our communities.