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Teacher's Guide
Unit Three: Knowledge
Arrow Activity Tasks

Students will:

  • define knowledge.
  • Learn how Roots & Shoots members make a difference.
  • complete a questionnaire to determine how their lifestyles affect the planet.
  • conduct a community evaluation.
  • research and discuss a community problem.
  • choose a problem and research it more fully
  • journal about problems based on their evaluation results and propose projects to help.
Arrow Dr. Jane’s Lesson
Dr. Jane started the Roots & Shoots program because young people were asking questions about the world and its inhabitants and they wanted to do something to help the earth, animals, and human community. In this section, students learn that Dr. Jane sought out help and information from youth, teachers, and others to help shape the Roots & Shoots program into what it is today. Students also learn about the importance of knowledge and research from a group of students who are helping solve a problem in the community based on information they have gained through research.

Arrow Duration
  • 1 ½ hours
Arrow Materials
  • All required information resource materials are online, links provided.
Arrow Connecting to the Content
It is important that youth recognize they can have a positive impact on their communities despite their younger age. One of the first steps to improving anything is to gather information about the situation. Students gain this experience by first conducting a community evaluation to determine the status of their air, land, water, plants, animals, and humans. After analyzing initial data, students then choose a problem and research it further. This sets the foundation for proceeding sections in which students help solve the problem.

Arrow Before You Begin
Before you begin, go to the Roots & Shoots website to register your class for Roots & Shoots membership and to learn about the benefits of being a member.

Arrow Procedure
  1. Have the class access Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary and find the definition of knowledge. Point out the different definitions listed. Considering the purpose of the Knowledge section, which definition do they think best applies to the word knowledge?
  2. Learn how Roots & Shoots members make a difference.
  3. Ask students to take the Ecological Footprint Quiz to learn how their lifestyles affect the planet.
  4. Instruct the class to conduct a community evaluation. Divide the class into small groups and have them research and record answers to one of the following community evaluation topics:
    • Water, Land, Air
    • Plants
    • Animals
    • People
  5. As a class, have students discuss the questions listed below. Have them listen to what other groups learned from their evaluations and have them take notice of the problems that concern them most.
  6. Instruct students to choose one of the issues they discussed and research it more fully. Have them use the tips provided below.

    Bringing It Together: Topics for a Class Discussion

    1. Based on all this information, what did you find were the five most important issues facing the environment, animals, and humans in your community?
    2. Can you trace the sources of these problems? What are they and why are they occurring? Are the problems caused by the pursuit of a specific goal, for example, satisfying basic needs or generating income? Or do they arise from lack of information or communication?
    3. As Roots & Shoots members and community members, what is your connection to these problems?
    4. How aware are people of these problems? Are they recognized as problems in the community or school? Are people concerned?
    5. What are the biggest consequences of these problems?
    6. Can you think of any solutions to these problems? If so, why aren’t these solutions being implemented now?
    7. What resources would you need (equipment, funding, information, transportation, time) to carry out some of these solutions?
    8. If you propose a solution, how would it benefit the community? Are there community members who might not agree with this solution? If so, could you work out a compromise?

  7. Have the class complete their journal entries by summarizing the information they gained through in-depth research of a community problem. Can you think of a project idea that would help solve this problem?

    Research and Discuss a Community Problem

    Now that you have completed the community evaluation, you have information about a variety of issues and problems in your community. Choose one that is of particular interest or concern to you. Research that issue or problem more fully.

    • Ask around! You can get information from many of the adults in your school including teachers, counselors, administrators, maintenance workers and coaches. Parents and neighbors can be valuable resources, as well.
    • Use the internet: Using a search engine such as Google, put in terms that relate to your problem or issue and the name of the community affected by it (this could be your city or town, or perhaps your neighborhood or school). Examples:
      • homeless – Birmingham, Alabama
      • abandoned animals – Hanover, New Hampshire
      • native plant species – El Dorado County, California
      • recycling – District of Columbia Publish Schools Washington, D.C.
      • wildlife rehabilitation – Lawrence, Kansas
    • If your problem or issue involves human behavior, you may want to conduct a survey; for example, if you want to learn more about energy consumption in your school, you could interview staff and students about their energy usage.
    • Contact your local volunteer clearinghouse; you can find this information in a phonebook or on the internet.

Arrow Assessment

Have students:

  • explain the meaning of the word knowledge.
  • share their community evaluation findings.
  • discuss answers to the questions in Bringing It Together: Topics for a Class Discussion.
  • indicate why they chose their problem or issue they did. What extra information about the issue did they learn and how did they get the information?
Arrow Extensions
  1. Students may want to find a community leader in the subject area of the problem they are studying and meet with him or her to gain more information about the problem.
  2. Students can conduct evaluations of their own school by conducting School Environmental Surveys. There are 6 different surveys measuring the following:
    • Garden/Landscape/Compost
    • Transportation
    • Hazardous Substances
    • Recycling/Waste Reduction
    • Energy
    • Indoor Air Quality
Arrow Terms
  • Air quality index – A measure of pollution levels that enables the public to determine whether air pollution levels in a particular location are good, moderate, unhealthful, or worse.
  • Cull – to select from a group; in elephant culling, to select from a group for the purposes of killing them.
  • Igneous rocks – Also called volcanic rocks, are formed from melted rock that has cooled and solidified.
  • Knowledge – The body of things known about or in science.
  • Metamorphic rocks – Form while deeply buried within the earth’s crust when igneous and sedimentary rocks are subjected to pressures so intense or heat so high that they are completely changed into denser, more compact rocks.
  • Sedimentary rocks – Formed at the surface of the earth, either in water or on land in layered accumulations of sediments.
  • State soil – Represented by a soil series that has special significance to a particular state. Areas with similar soils are grouped and labeled as soil series because their similar origins, chemical, and physical properties cause the soils to “behave” similarly for land purposes.
  • Watershed – The area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, or groundwater.
Teacher's Guide
Unit One
  ArrowTree Exercise
Unit Two
Unit Three
Unit Four
 Related Topics:
  ArrowABC's of Chimp Behavior
  ArrowDr. Jane's Scrapbook
  ArrowMultiple Intelligences
  ArrowOnline Dictionary
  ArrowTree Sketching Guide
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