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Deforestation Research Assignment
Mary Tricarico, Westfield High School

CORE QUESTION: How does deforestation affect people throughout the world? How can we curb population growth?

OVERVIEW: As we enter the 21st century, one of the most pressing environmental problems is deforestation. Many of the world’s forests are being burned or cut down in order to make way for grazing and farming lands or new buildings and paved roads. If the deforestation continues at this rapid rate, the world’s forests will vanish in 100 years. This lesson encourages students to understand deforestation and its effects on people throughout the world. This lesson also encourages students to develop ways to curb deforestation.

TIME REQUIRED: A minimum of two eighty minute class periods.



Social Studies: Analyze the effects of deforestation on people throughout the world.

English: Utilize research skills in order to obtain information about deforestation and its effects on specific countries and regions.

Science: Understand the process of deforestation and its effects on the environment.



  1. Students will be able to define deforestation.
  2. Students will be able to understand the effects of deforestation on the environment.
  3. Students will be able to understand the effects of deforestation on specific people.


Day 1:

  1. Students will begin by answering a stem sheet.
  2. The teacher will ask for student responses to the first stem. Students will share their thoughts, and the teacher will write student responses on the board. The class will then come up with a clear definition of the term “deforestation.”
  3. The teacher will make a chart on the board (see below), and ask for student responses to the second and third stems. The teacher will record student answers on the chart, and discuss responses with the class.

    Causes of Deforestation

    Effects of Deforestation

  4. The teacher will continue student discussion by asking for student responses to the fourth stem. (The areas of the world that are most affected by deforestation are. .) After brainstorming ideas and recording student responses on the board, the teacher will distribute student atlases and ask students to locate the countries and regions that currently contain heavily forested areas. (If a class set of student atlases are not available, the teacher can use an overhead transparency to illustrate this point.)
  5. Students will share their responses to the last stem (Some ways I can help to stop deforestation are . . .) All responses should be recorded on the board. If the teacher would like to extend the lesson, they could devise a class plan to curb deforestation. The teacher could also have the students put this plan into action.)
  6. The teacher will distribute an article from NASA’s Earth Observatory which describes tropical deforestation and why it happens. The students will read the article, and complete a series of guided reading questions.

Day 2:

  1. The teacher will go over the guided reading questions from NASA’s Earth Observatory.
  2. The students will be broken up into pairs, and they will be asked to research one of the following areas of the world in the school library or computer lab:






    Central America


    Ivory Coast





  3. Students will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about his/her topic.
  4. Once students have completed questionnaires and plans for curbing deforestation, they will be asked to present the information they’ve collected to the class.



  1. Stem sheet and class discussion (Day 1)
  2. Guided reading questions (Day 1)
  3. Research and completion of questionnaire (Day 2)
  4. Oral report on individual countries (Day 2)

To learn more about the influence of the International Environment on our global society, click on the links below:
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