Tropical Deforestation: Problems and Solutions

Activity Plan V


Three 45 minute sessions


Reading paper & pencils

questions for expert groups


    This lesson begins with a discussion that focuses on why tropical forests are in trouble and some of the basic characteristics of tropical rainforests. After the introductory discussion participants break into expert groups to discuss one aspect of the topic. The information is then shared by the experts with each team. Cooperative learning strategies used are:
      Think/Pair/Share Round Table Heads Together Team Roles and Rewards Jigsaw


    Be able to categorize and organize information. Be able to analyze information.

Big Ideas:

Tropical deforestation is a complex issue that is the result of economic, social, and political problems, exacerbated by special characteristics of tropical topography, soils, and other physical features.

Many of the causes of tropical deforestation originate from the actions of individuals, corporations, and governments in developed countries, and have serious consequences on tropical forests. The effects of tropical deforestation are complex and farreaching, with longterm environmental consequences.


Students will think and write what they think are the reasons tropical forests are in trouble. Students will pair, share their ideas and then square share ideas with teammates, creating a team list. A whole class discussion will follow, and ideas will be listed on chart paper. Round Table - Student teams will be asked to think about what they already know about tropical forests. Each group will make a team list on 1 piece of paper, with each person writing down 1 idea at a time, and then passing the paper to the person on the left. Teams will continue to write and pass the paper until the time is up. Whole group share, recording on chart paper. Heads Together - Teams will discuss their opinions of the following question: Do you think the actions of people in developed countries, such as the United States, contribute to tropical deforestation? Team reporters will report out opinions of the team. Whole group discussion. Students will be given reading and focus questions. Students will meet in expert groups to read, discuss, and answer focus questions for their assigned section of the reading. Expert groups will prepare a short lesson on the topic for their team. Teams will return together and experts will present lessons, with teammates taking notes. Class discussion of material, followed by a discussion of the learning process (How did your participation in teams affect your learning?)

NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards: Science 5.1, 5.7, 5.12; Social Studies 6.6


Kagan, Spencer. Cooperative Learning. San Juan Capistrano, CA: Kagan Cooperative Learning, 1992. Mastny, Aleta Yon, et al. Science Teams Teacher's Manual. Brunswick, NJ: Consortium for Educational Equity, Rutgers University, 1992.