THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING HABITAT

THE CANDY CULPRIT

How your daily choices impact rainforests thousands of miles away and what you can do to help

INTRODUCTION

Do you like a good detective story? This project-based lesson is a great way to captivate kids’ imaginations while they put on their detective hats and learn how one’s daily choices can impact rainforests thousands of miles away. In the classroom or learning at home fun and engaging film noir-style detective videos introduce and explain each step of the lesson.

Students embark on an investigation in which each lesson builds upon the one before it. Students uncover how the ingredients in their candy may be harmful to the rainforests and those who live in them. They learn about sustainable practices and companies that follow them or don’t. Clear and specific Action Items in each of five project steps walk them through how to accomplish each task. Good Detective Strategies and Helpful Hints are included. The lessons target Grades 4-8 but may be easily adapted for younger or older grades.

Video produced by Laura Lee Bahr and Ezra Werb.

YOU'RE THE DETECTIVE

Five steps lead you on an investigative journey to discover how you can protect the world’s rainforest

WHY ARE THE WORLD’S TROPICAL RAINFORESTS IMPORTANT?

Rainforests are often referred to as “the lungs of the planet” because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, just as our lungs do.

One of the biggest issues affecting endangered species and “the lungs of our planet” is habitat loss due to human activities. But why are humans cutting down the rainforest?

They use the land to make all sorts of different products—but the truth is, there are more sustainable ways to get these products that wouldn’t have such a destructive impact.

What are these products? And who are the people responsible for producing them?…

It’s time to put on our detective hats because we have some mysteries to solve.

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Lesson developed by Laura Lee Bahr, 2020

LEARNING GOALS

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • ​Palm oil production is part of a widespread issue for habitat and species loss—which are occurring at higher rates than ever before
  • Palm oil is used in everyday consumer products, sometimes under different names
  • You can research and investigate the ingredients of food products and make discoveries about where they are sourced and how they are produced
  • ​There are people at companies who make decisions about how their ingredients are sourced and produced
  • You can write letters and communicate with people at companies who make decisions about sourcing and producing palm oil
  • You can make choices about what you buy and what companies you and your family patronize

OBJECTIVES

  • To understand that there is a long line of decisions and actions that result in how products get made
  • To understand that, as a consumer, you have choices
  • To understand that you can better educate yourself using tools like the internet to do research
  • To understand that you have a voice, and you have ways of making it heard—even by people you have never met
  • To find ways to use your voice in your own unique way, and create something meaningful to yourself and others
  • To discover that our everyday choices can impact the futures of species and ecosystems that are thousands of miles away
  • To motivate you to consider your own impact on the world’s environment​​

For sources from which we acquired information for this lesson, and for helpful resources on this website, please visit the Good Detective Strategies and Helpful Hints page.

FOR TEACHERS:

COMMON CORE STANDARDS, STEAM INTEGRATION, and STATE STANDARDS

This project supports many critical skills and standards across grade levels, including these common core standards:

Language Arts:
Reading: Informational Text 
Key Ideas and Details Standards
Integration and Knowledge of ideas

Writing:
Text Types and Purposes: Write informative explanatory text
Production and Distribution of writing
Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Science and Technical Subjects:
Key Ideas and Details
Craft and Structure
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Will meet individual state science standards on the ways communities can reduce their impact on Earth’s resources and environment.

If you are a teacher who is interested in using this project for your class and would like assistance in determining how it meets your individual state’s standards and STEAM integration, or how to differentiate across grade levels, please write us at: info@neprimateconservancy.org.

Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2020. You may freely use, copy and share these Learning Activities for educational purposes. 
​For questions or comments, e-mail us at info@neprimateconservancy.org