Deforestation Project Ideas

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Use these project ideas to help your middle or high school-age students apply their knowledge and extend their thinking about the topic of deforestation. Each project can be assigned to individuals, partners, or teams.

Deforestation Projects

In these deforestation projects, your middle or high school-age students can combine their research, critical thinking, and presentation skills to apply knowledge about the topic. Each project can be utilized with individuals, partners, or teams. The projects include a brief description, a list of materials, and step-by-step guidance for carrying out the tasks. Adding a reflection component at the end of each project can serve to solidify student learning. Consider assigning a journal entry, having students record a short audio response, or host a whole group discussion that reflects on both the project process and lessons learned.

Forest Mapping

In this project, students will use digital mapping tools and historical information to identify the impact of deforestation on a selected area of the country or world.

  • Materials: technology access, digital mapping tools (like maps with satellite imagery), historical land use information about selected geographic area, data tracking sheet (optional, for added support), art supplies, poster board
  1. Explain to students that they will be analyzing information to determine how deforestation has affected a specified (or student-selected) geographic area.
  2. Discuss the reasons for deforestation. Ask students to consider thought-provoking questions, such as ''how could people use the space they already have rather than cut down forests to make more room?'' or ''should human needs (housing, business, entertainment, etc.) take precedence over animal and plant life?''
  3. Begin by providing a brief overview of a digital mapping tool that allows students to zoom in and ''look around'' to identify how land is being used.
  4. Provide an online or print resource that contains historical information about land use in a selected area of the country or world.
  5. Give students time to use their resources to identify the changes in their geographic area over time. Determine the amount of time to be tracked based on the resources you find. Consider providing a data tracking sheet or organizer of some kind, for added support.
  6. When research and analysis has concluded, have students create a chart(s) or graph(s) that depict the land use changes. Encourage them to write some text on their posters, as well, detailing the impact of deforestation on both people and animals / plants in the selected area.
  7. Allow students to share their work with others. Consider displaying their work, as well.

Habitat Loss

In this project, students will research and report on the effect of habitat loss on animals, particularly focusing on habitat fragmentation and modern efforts to remedy the problem.

  • Materials: research resources, examples of habitat fragmentation remedies (e.g. wildlife bridges), research guide or organizer (optional, for added support), technology access, presentation software

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