Students watch a video about private vs. public ownership of land that uses land ownership in the Loess Hills as a primary example. They learn about the different uses of land and make arguments for either side of the issue.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 1: Introduction & Geography." In this unit, students will be introduced to the history and geography of Iowa. Students examine the societal challenge of balancing competing demands on fragile resources.
CG.SS.3.10: Explain how rules and laws impact society. (21st century skills)
H.SS.4.21: Analyze conflicting perspectives on historical and current events/issues.
SS.5.5: With teacher direction, construct responses to compelling questions supported by reasoning and evidence.
- Video: Working Landscapes – Public vs. Private
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Ask students to think of a working landscape in Iowa that they have seen or visited. This landscape might be a farm, a lake used for recreation, a river known for fishing, a hiking trail, etc. Then, ask them to imagine that this place has been sold to an individual company that wants to build something there such as a shopping mall or housing complex. How would they react?
- Indicate that they will be watching a short film focusing on land in the Loess Hills that will raise some issues about land ownership. As they watch, one side of the room should listen for arguments supporting private ownership of land and the other side should listen for arguments supporting public (governmental) ownership.
Play the video, Working Landscapes – Public vs. Private. [2:59]
- Ask students to share the arguments they heard and note their ideas on the board. Then, ask students to discuss which side has the stronger arguments.
- Private groups and landowners can protect the fragile environment. [0:36]
- Some private groups/landowners allow public use of private lands (e.g., trails). [1:44]
- If citizens do the job to protect land properly, then there is no need for government protection. [2:10]
- Government entities manage state parks, nature preserves, visitor centers, and hunting grounds, where people can visit. [1:06]
- Some residents think government intervention is necessary for the future sustainability of the Loess Hills. [2:05]
For more information and discussion questions, see the “Support Materials” on the video page.