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Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch Partnership

Global Forest Watch is an interactive, online forest monitoring and alert system that provides users globally with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Instructor should become familiar with the resources provided with this tool in advance of use with students.
  • Data and mapping tools could be used to begin a unit/discussion on the importance of forest coverage with student-driven outside research on the ecological and human processes that drive forest cover.

About the Science

  • Easy to use and to access, the interactive online forest monitoring and alert system shows current forest cover and forest loss across the globe as well as statistics parsed out and ranked by country.
  • Uses real-time datasets across the globe (data available from 2001 to 2014).
  • Datasets are displayed on a global map and include information on forest change, cover, use, and conservation, as well as human population density and claims to land. The map makes it easy to summarize data by a specific country or region and the information is available in 15 languages.
  • Comments from Expert Scientist: Very good resource, and a lot of opportunities for educators to design their own activities or have students explore.

About the Pedagogy

  • Start here http://www.globalforestwatch.org/howto for tutorials on step-by-step instructions on how to use the tools. There are also introductory videos http://www.globalforestwatch.org/about/videos explaining the purpose of the project, in multiple languages.
  • Supports open-ended lesson plans. Aligned with NGSS by allowing students to explore data and address a variety of questions. No lesson plans or teaching instructions are provided, although educators can use this data to address questions relevant to their community.
  • Incorporates the ecological and human-dimension of forest cover, which lends to policy-level discussions, particularly around vulnerable populations.
  • Provides opportunity for online discussion with various online communities and other users of the tool.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Also, much of the work is done via interpretation of satellite imagery, which is valid, but the methods are not always clear in terms of how the data was generated. This is less of a concern for lower-grade students though.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Requires internet access to download data.
  • Data is searchable & downloadable via a multitude of parameters (forest change, cover, use, conservation, human populations). Source code available on Github.
  • Excellent technical quality. This is a beta version, however; so it is likely to be changed (and continually updated). Users are invited to provide feedback, share their data, create their own apps to customize data for their own interests, etc.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Performance Expectations: 1

MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

MS-LS4.D1:Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P1.2:ask questions to identify and/or clarify evidence and/or the premise(s) of an argument.

MS-P1.3:Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS3-3: Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.

HS-ESS3-6: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS3.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

HS-ESS3.C2:Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation.

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

HS-LS4.D1:Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth. Sustaining biodiversity also aids humanity by preserving landscapes of recreational or inspirational value.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Patterns, Cause and effect

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

Science and Engineering Practices: 3

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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