ALEX Lesson Plan


"The Lorax"- An Environmental Issue

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Kelly Morton
System: Blount County
School: Cleveland High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 23952


"The Lorax"- An Environmental Issue


Students watch "The Lorax" as an introduction to environmental issues. Students need not have prior knowledge of terms. This lesson follows the learning cycle. Students design a plan to make the Truffula trees sustainable and economically viable.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
CE (K-12)
3. Citizenship
CE (K-12)
5. Fairness
CE (K-12)
8. Cooperation
CE (K-12)
13. Tolerance
CE (K-12)
17. Cleanliness
CE (K-12)
20. Respect for the environment
CE (K-12)
22. Creativity
SC (9-12) Botany Elective
12. Describe the ecological and economic importance of plants.
ecological—algae-producing oxygen, bioremediation, soil preservation;
economic—food, medication, timber, fossil fuels, clothing
  • Analyzing effects of human activity on the plant world
  • SC (9-12) Environmental Elective
    1. Identify the influence of human population, technology, and cultural and industrial changes on the environment.
  • Describing the relationship between carrying capacity and population size
  • SC (9-12) Environmental Elective
    4. Identify the impact of pollutants on the atmosphere.
  • Identifying layers of the atmosphere and the composition of air
  • Describing the formation of primary, secondary, and indoor air pollutants
  • Relating pollutants to smog and thermal inversions
  • Investigating the impact of air quality on the environment
  • Interpreting social, political, and economic influences on air quality
  • SC (9-12) Environmental Elective
    8. Identify major contaminants in water resulting from natural phenomena, homes, industry, and agriculture.
  • Describing the eutrophication of water by industrial effluents and agricultural runoffs
  • Classifying sources of water pollution as point and nonpoint
  • SC (9-12) Environmental Elective
    12. Identify positive and negative effects of human activities on biodiversity.
  • Identifying endangered and extinct species locally, regionally, and worldwide
  • Identifying causes for species extinction locally, regionally, and worldwide
  • SC (9-12) Marine Biology Elective
    11. Describe positive and negative effects of human influence on marine environments.
    positive—reef restoration, protection of endangered species;
    negative—pollution, overfishing
    TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
    12. Use digital tools to publish curriculum-related content.
    Examples: Web page authoring software, coding software, wikis, blogs, podcasts
    SC2015 (9-12) Biology
    6. Analyze and interpret data from investigations to explain the role of products and reactants of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of matter and the flow of energy.
    a. Plan and carry out investigations to explain the interactions among pigments, absorption of light, and reflection of light.
    SC2015 (9-12) Biology
    8. Develop and use models to describe the cycling of matter (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, water) and flow of energy (e.g., food chains, food webs, biomass pyramids, ten percent law) between abiotic and biotic factors in ecosystems.
    SC2015 (9-12) Biology
    13. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain how organisms are classified by physical characteristics, organized into levels of taxonomy, and identified by binomial nomenclature (e.g., taxonomic classification, dichotomous keys).
    a. Engage in argument to justify the grouping of viruses in a category separate from living things.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    2. Use models to illustrate and communicate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration as carbon cycles through the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    3. Use mathematics and graphic models to compare factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    4. Engage in argument from evidence to evaluate how biological or physical changes within ecosystems (e.g., ecological succession, seasonal flooding, volcanic eruptions) affect the number and types of organisms, and that changing conditions may result in a new or altered ecosystem.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to describe how human activity may affect biodiversity and genetic variation of organisms, including threatened and endangered species.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    10. Design solutions for protection of natural water resources (e.g., bioassessment, methods of water treatment and conservation) considering properties, uses, and pollutants (e.g., eutrophication, industrial effluents, agricultural runoffs, point and nonpoint pollution resources).*
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    14. Analyze cost-benefit ratios of competing solutions for developing, conserving, managing, recycling, and reusing energy and mineral resources to minimize impacts in natural systems (e.g., determining best practices for agricultural soil use, mining for coal, and exploring for petroleum and natural gas sources).*
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    15. Construct an explanation based on evidence to determine the relationships among management of natural resources, human sustainability, and biodiversity (e.g., resources, waste management, per capita consumption, agricultural efficiency, urban planning).

    Local/National Standards:

    National Science Education Standards TEACHING STANDARD A: Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
    TEACHING STANDARD B: Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning.
    TEACHING STANDARD D: Teachers of science design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science.

    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    To analyze "The Lorax" as an introduction to Environmental Science.
    Evaluate the impact of humans and corporations on the environment.
    Synthesize ideas for industry and humans to work together for the good of the environment.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    The students will use publishing software and multimedia presentations to present viable options for conservation of the environment. Read Write Think Printing Press

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:


    Technology Resources Needed:

    Google Video player, computer with Internet, word processing software, presentation software (computer lab preferable)


    Students need not know correct environmental science terms. Allow them to describe the ideas in their own terms and during class discussion, introduce them to the proper terminology. This video can be referred to throughout the course because there are so many issues covered in the video.

    1.)Teacher downloads Google Video Player
    (Google Video Player)
    This allows you to download Google Video Player

    2.)Teacher loads The Lorax
    (The Lorax on Google Video)
    This is the video to watch. Approximately 25 minutes long.

    3.)Students watch "The Lorax" and write down all environmental issues they see during the movie.

    4.)Students grouped by teacher (take into account learning styles of each) and compile a common list of environmental issues.

    5.)Teacher facilitates classroom discussion of issues and includes any that are left off and feel are most important. (See ATTACHMENT: The Lorax Environmental Issues.doc for examples)

    6.)During this time, students are introduced to the proper terminology that matches up with the issue they listed. Explaining the terms with the students' own definitions will make them easier for the students to remember.

    7.)Students may be grouped and given terms from attachment to define and explain. These may be saved for later and revisited as the term is used in later instruction.

    8.)Students are assigned an area or problem to develop a solution that is acceptable to both industry and environment in the video. Presentation of solution can be in the form of a PowerPoint, newsletter, public awareness announcement, newscast, or brochure.

    9.)Students are given a rubric based on the presentation method they choose (See ATTACHMENT: lorax rubric.xls).
    Allows you to make a rubric and customize it to meet your needs.

    10.)Students present solutions to the class.

    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    A rubric will be used to assess students' presentations. (See ATTACHMENT: lorax rubric.xls)


    Students who finish early can design proposals for community awareness. They could prepare a debate for and against both the environmentalists and the industry to be presented to the class. Student can also assist other students with research or solution design (with teacher permission).


    Some students may need to be given a list of the vocabulary words with definitions before the video and assigned only a small number to watch for during the video. Some students may need to be grouped with a peer helper to be the recorder when they see the idea. Students could also be given a list of issues and asked to circle issues when they see them.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.