Life Cycle - Natural Environment (3B)
Post Lab

  • Analyzing the importance of natural environments. 
  • Exploring ways to keep local environments natural.
  • ecology
  • natural environment

Students read The Lorax and Through a Frog's Eye.  


Students may not be aware that humans and wildlife share environments. The more urban your school is located, the more the term "natural environment" is difficult to understand.  

Many times humans intrude into the range of different wildlife habitat, causing some of the wildlife to move or even go extinct.  Wildlife is present  not only in tropical rainforests and other remote places, but in urban areas.  Many animals adapt to changing conditions.  

Humans and wildlife all depend on the Earth for their living conditions.   Humans and wildlife require food, water, shelter, cover, and habitat space.  Any environmental changes in any of these components can affect the life of an organism.  

Environmental science helps us to understand the importance of keeping areas natural.  In many of our urban centers it is sometimes difficult to find open spaces that  are still natural or reflecting an area before humans arrived. 

This is a perfect time to discuss environmental issues that may have occurred during the year.  Students need to be reminded how humans increase pressures on wildlife.  These pressures can be reduced if all humans respect areas designated as wildlife areas.

  1. Read  The Lorax  by Dr. Seuss as a class.  The book is a fictional story about what happened to a forest when people didn't use it wisely.  You can use this story to emphasize how humans can destroy an area very quickly.  
  2. You may want to emphasize the moral of the story by having students write a story about whether they think the story line of The Lorax was realistic.  Have them think about whether the people in The Lorax really needed thneeds in the first place.  Was it worth cutting down the truffula trees to make thneeds?  Why did the Once-ler keep making so many?  How was the wildlife affected with the Once-ler cut down so many truffula trees?  

  3. Read Through a Frog's Eye by April Yang and Frances Kwong.  Go over some of the specialized vocabulary in the book

    Coir logs - Roll of coconut fiber, often used in bioengineering systems to provide erosion control along a stream bank, also helps to  support the establishment of new vegetation, especially willow stakes

    Erosion -  Removal of soil particles by wind and water

    Eucalyptus tree -  A tall tree, whose outside bark peels and native to Australia.  Arrived in California in the 1800’s as a quick growing tree.  It produces chemicals that do not allow many native wildflowers and grasses to live in the undergrowth.


    Lagoon -  A body of water that is not moving


    Meander -  When a creek moves into a “s” pattern, reflecting a slow down of water velocity.


    Pacifica Frog   The name of the character in “Through a Frog’s Eye” referring to the Pacific Chorus or Tree Frog (Pseuacris regilla) which is found in Mission Creek


    Restoration -  Bringing an area back to a specific time (before humans lived in an area; before the ice age,  etc)


    Rip-rap  - A layer, facing, or protective mound of stones, randomly placed to prevent erosion or scour at a structure or embankment; also the stone so used


    Straw wattles -  Temporary large, woven mat  made of straw, that is placed over a steep bank and to hold back erosion and to act as a surface for seeding quick growing wildflowers and grasses. 


    Sycamore tree -  Grows along creek beds and has a characteristic greenish-gray  smooth bark.  Native sycamores have large tree lobed leaves.


    Tule -  This aquatic plant with long, green reeds.  Tules go dormant during the winter and grow rapidly during the spring and summer. Native to California wetland areas.


    Turkey vulture -  A large bird with a characteristic red-orange, naked, small head.  The bird is a scavenger that feeds on the meat of dead animals.


    Webbed feet -  An adaptation by birds, amphibians, and reptiles that usually use the water for swimming.  Helps capture water to help propel more efficiently.

  4. If you would like more information on the actual creek and more specialized lesson plans, visit the following link:

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