Human Use of Resources—Land Plan Challenge

Summary: Community planning can balance human needs and the health of natural resources. In this classroom modeling activity from Windows to the Universe, “students use simplified maps to plan towns, being conscious of water resources, and then learn how their town fits into the larger community.”

Concepts to teach: Maps, land planning, water resources

Goals: Students will work together to learn what services and resources a town needs, and how to meet those needs while protecting water resources.

Standards:
H.2L.2, H.2E.4, H.4D.1, SS.HS.GE.07, SS.HS.GE.08

Specific Objectives:

  1. Learn what services and resources a town needs, and that land planning to protect water resources is important.
  2. Discover that planning a town requires group decision-making, and is most effective if done over a large area and with the cooperation of many communities.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • The Geography of Land Planning (previously entitled Land Plan Challenge) —This lesson plan from the National Earth Science Teachers Association includes worksheets, standards, and suggestions for assessment. Students use simplified maps to plan towns, being conscious of water resources, and then learn how their town fits into the larger community.
  • After mapping, discuss the effects of various types of land use might have on the nearby streams and other waterways. This concept will be further explored in the Human Impact section of the Land and Water Use focus area.
  • Compare and contrast the fictional towns created by students to real maps of the local area.

Assessment:

  • Assessments included in the Land Plan Challenge lesson plan, including “Have student groups write a proposal letter to readers of neighboring towns about what they would like to see changed and why.