Aug 152013


Photo Credit: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

In 1980, 6% of Michigan’s landscape was covered by urban areas. Experts project that by 2040, 18% of the landscape will be developed into urban areas. This comes at a huge cost to natural landscapes including the ecosystem services they provide. In this activity, students will be divided up into groups that represent different landscapes including farmland, wetlands, forests, prairies and urban areas. Students in these groups will identify reasons and share arguments for protecting natural landscapes or developing areas for urban expansion. Students are allowed to debate the topic between groups and to come up with a reasonable solution to the problem of expanding urban development. Specific examples in the local community provide grounds to really understand how this plays out in the real world.

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand the reasons for protecting farmland, wetlands, prairies and forests from urban development
  • Identify reasons for expanding urban development
  • Develop an argument for an issue they are assigned to and debate with other students about why their perspective is correct


Lesson Plan

Lesson created by Brook Wilke