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Campaign for a National Monument

Students will conduct research to identify a location they think should be granted national monument status. They will compose a list of reasons justifying their selection. Then they will create a promotional campaign to support their cause.

PROCESS:

  1. Inform students that granting national monument status is a way of protecting vulnerable areas. The article identifies three broad benefits. It says the status helps maintain fragile ecosystems, protects natural resources and provides recreational opportunities. 
  2. Explain that areas selected for this status have unique traits. Then point out that President Obama didn't select the three newest national monuments by chance. People worked hard to bring the regions to his attention. They created promotional campaigns and lobbied to protect the natural and cultural sites found in these areas.
  3. Have students visit the Bureau of Land Management's site on National Conservation Lands to learn more about areas that are identified as national monuments or national conservation areas.
  4. Instruct students to conduct research to identify another location they think should be granted national monument status. Encourage them to compose a list of reasons explaining why they think the area should be protected. Then have students create a promotional campaign to support their cause.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to present their promotional campaigns to the class. As they do, instruct classmates to record key reasons for granting each area national monument status. After the final presentation, poll the class to see which area students think is most deserving of this designation. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Provide poster board and art supplies. Instruct groups to create a poster featuring three reasons the areas they selected should become a national monument.

Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Provide poster board and art supplies. Instruct groups to create a poster featuring important natural resources and cultural sites in their selected areas. Challenge them to write a short speech supporting their cause.

Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct pairs to create a storyboard and then film a one-minute commercial promoting their selection.

Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct pairs to create a website promoting their selection. Tell students that their websites must include at least four pages: an introduction, a page on natural resources, a page on cultural sites and a page for frequently asked questions about the region.