This week in one of my social studies classes, we have been discussing deforestation and the effects it has on the environment in Africa. We have had some interesting conversations and discussions. One of our discussions stemmed around the American scientist Michael Fay and his 465-day, 2000-mile walk through the forests in Central Africa. The students could not fathom why anyone would want to take a journey like this one. I explained to them that scientists have various interests, and Fay's interest was to follow, observe, and collect data on what he saw along his journey. Ultimately, the data collected can help preserve lands. By preserving lands, animal and plant life can also be spared.
I found it interesting that one day this week, after our discussion in class, logging trucks were able to wipe out many acres of trees right down the road from our school. I noticed it one day on my way home from school. A lightbulb went off, and I pulled over on the side of the road and snapped a couple of pictures. I thought, "What a wonderful illustration for my students...right down the road." So the next day, I displayed the picture and asked the students to tell me what was happening. Immediately, one of my kiddos said, "Hey, it's like what we were talking about the other day." I just smiled. Then we talked about the reasons people cut trees down here and how important it is to replant once we clear trees.
These are two pictures I took while on the side of the road that I shared with my students.
I love how my students were able to visualize the process, even though the reasons and motivations for the land clearing may not have been the same as in Africa.