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Farming in the Platte River Valley Lessons

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AGRICULTURAL ECOSYSTEMS - Exploring Local and Global Land Use Change - Lesson 2

OVERVIEW: Humans have converted large amounts of natural lands into developed land over time to meet our survival needs. In large part, natural or semi-wild lands have been converted into agricultural or residential areas in which humans live and/or produce food (crops or livestock).

This lesson will engage students in visualizing personally relevant land cover and land use change near in their city or near their school grounds. Then, students will explore global shifts in land use change by 1) using maps to examine land use shifts over 300 years. Finally, students will examine a historical narrative about land use changes in the Great Plains due to both natural and human impacts. Students will document changes in the Great Plains landscape by creating a Then-and-Now poster.

AGRICULTURAL ECOSYSTEMS - Exploring Local and Global Land Use Change - Lesson 2

AGRICULTURAL ECOSYSTEMS - Part I: Stability and Change in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems



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Contents address the following Next Generation Science Standards:

Part I: Stability and Change in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems:

MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Part II: Engineering Sustainable Agricultural Ecosystems:

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

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

MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services (water purification, nutrient recycling, prevention of soil erosion, etc.).

MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.