Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Wangari Maathai Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Wangari Maathai, and supports the standard of individuals’ achievements and contributions to environmental preservation. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • How do you think the environment might impact the politics, economy, and lives of individuals in a region?
  • What might cause an environment to change? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read the description on the Wangari Maathai topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Depth,” “Way Back When,” or “Mother Nature.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about Wangari Maathai while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a news report announcing Wangari Maathai’s election to parliament. Describe how her activism led to political change in Kenya.  (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the effects of the Green Belt Movement on the environment, women, the Kenyan government, and Maathai herself. (Essential  Literacy Skill: Summarize key details)
  • Creative Coding: Code a flag representing Wangaari Maathai’s legacy. (Essential Literacy Skill:Make logical inferences from explicit details)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students complete the Wangari Maathai Worksheet, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Wangari Maathai Quiz

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Sortify: World Changing Women: This game challenges players to sort influential women by attributes, such as when they lived, their professions, and more.  

Famous Scientists Unit: Continue to build understanding around individuals’ contributions to society by exploring more BrainPOP biographies.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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