This unit aims to familiarize middle school students who live in an urban environment with the benefits of spending time outdoors and in their own natural surroundings. The topic of survival in nature is connected to how nature can help us thrive as individuals and a society. The elements of the unit are spread throughout the school year with time spent outside. Students will read nonfiction, prose and poetry and write about the natural phenomena they encounter with a focus on trees. Writing will include nature journaling, poetry, responses to text and even short fiction. A focused portion of the unit is in survival themed book clubs and the author provides a curated list of such books appropriate for middle school. Students will do a brief study of global climate change and its impact on natural surroundings. American Indian legends are interwoven with time spent outdoors during various seasons, as a way to encourage students to see their own obligations to preserving our planet. Experiential learning is encouraged whenever possible so that students can experience nature through all their senses. Students will complete a culminating project as well as final reflection to solidify their year-long learning about nature.
(Developed for English Language Arts, grade 7; recommended for English Language Arts, grades 6 and 8)