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Monday Morning Ready02.19.2016
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Barack Obama has granted national monument status to nearly 1.8 million acres. The land is part of the scenic Southern California desert. It is a move the White House says will maintain in permanency the region's fragile ecosystem and natural resources. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you think it's important to protect places like these? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think President Obama chose these three regions to establish as national monuments? What impact do you think the change in status will have on these areas?

Grade 7-8

According to the White House, granting national monument status to the three areas identified in the article will protect natural resources, wildlife habitat and unique historic and cultural sites. It will also provide a variety of recreational opportunities. Which of these do you think is the most important reason for granting national monument status to an area? Why?

Grade 9-10

Do you think the federal government should be responsible for protecting fragile ecosystems? If not, who do you think should take on this responsibility? Why?

LESSON PLAN
Campaign for a National Monument

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.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Obama Just Established Three New National Monuments Covering Over a Million Acres
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about three national monument sites that President Obama designated back in July 2015. They include Waco Mammoth National Monument, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and Basin and Range National Monument.

Inspirations from the Forest
This exhibition from Smithsonian Folklife explores the ways our national forests—timberlands, grasslands, mountains and waterways—have served as inspirations for those who create works of art.

Botany and Art and Their Roles in Conservation
The lessons in this issue of “Smithsonian in Your Classroom” introduce students to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. The students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian artist.

Endangered Site: Historic Route 66, U.S.A.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the important role this 2,400-mile highway has played in U.S. history and what people have done to protect it.

America’s Favorite Landmarks
In this lesson, students use Google Earth and other websites to explore America’s most prominent and famous buildings. They compare and contrast architectural styles and write a position paper defending or arguing against their chosen building’s rank in the list of structures featured on the America’s Favorite Architecture website.
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