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Investigating Deforestation Through An Earth Systems View Using Landsat

My NASA Data, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This activity has students use an Earth Systems perspective to identify the various causes associated with changes to Earth's forests as they review Landsat imagery of site locations from around the world.

This activity takes one 50 minute class period

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • This activity could fit in an ecology unit as a way to model interactions among the spheres in the Earth System.
  • Other resources provided at the bottom of the page are useful, especially for lower grade levels.
  • Consider ending the lesson on something more uplifting, hopeful, and empowered, so students are not overwhelmed with negativity related to deforestation (e.g. mention reforestation projects, show local mitigation examples, or activities where you plant a tree).

About the Content

  • The science content of this deforestation activity incorporates up-to-date content and imagery; however, to a novice interpreter of Landsat images, content is needed to support the interpretation of imagery in the activity.
  • My NASA Data has short videos on their website that explain how Landsat images and the data they provide are interpreted.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths: All of the resources to implement this lesson are included. It accommodates classrooms with access to technology as well as those that do not have access.
    Suggestions: None.

About the Pedagogy

  • This activity requires that the teacher understand the data in the Landsat images.
  • The activity will work best if the teacher helps students make deep connections between the components of the Earth system and deforestation. Students will need support in how to interpret false-color Landsat images.
  • Grade level 3 seems like a stretch, but it could be used as a basic resource for an artisan master teacher to show the stark difference over time. They probably also need different metrics.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There are supports provided for teachers with different technology capabilities within their classroom such as Google Classroom integration, and access to PDFs.
  • Can be done offline (print beforehand) or online; technology requirements are confusing in this respect.
  • If the page does not load, try using a different internet browser.
Entered the Collection: January 2022 Last Reviewed: July 2021

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