As Iowa’s population and economy both grow in the 21st century, challenging questions face the state’s residents about how to best use land to balance the competing, yet interdependent, needs of Iowans, its economy, and its environment. Students watch a video about working landscapes—defined as places where people live and work in a way that minimizes damage to the local environment—to see if they are a possible solution to Iowa’s modern challenges. Students then consider their own lives, including where their families live, work, and go to school, to determine if the three elements of a working landscape (social, ecological, and economic) are in balance, or if one element outweighs the other two.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 8: Modern Iowa." In this unit, students will explore the challenges and opportunities facing Iowa in the 21st century.
SS.3.6/SS.4.5/SS.5.6: Identify challenges and opportunities when taking action to address problems, including predicting possible results.
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of Working Landscapes handout
- Explain to students that as Iowa’s population and economy both grow in the 21st century, questions challenge the state’s residents about how to best use land to balance the competing, yet interdependent, needs of Iowans, its economy, and its environment. We all need to utilize the Earth to live, but we cannot overextend our use of the Earth’s resources. The goal is to have our living and working needs met without harming the environment.
- Tell students they will be watching a video about a “working landscape” that shows the healthy balance between humans and the environment. Distribute the Working Landscapes handout, and instruct students to take notes while watching the video.
- Play the video, Working Landscapes – Basics. [3:03]
- Have students complete the handout and review the answers as a class.
- A “working landscape” is a healthy, natural ecosystem that thrives under human influence. [0:02]
- The three areas of a working landscape that must be kept in balance are; social, ecological, and economic. [0:40]
- Mutual sustainability is when everyone within the environment balances their own needs with the needs of the ecosystem. [0:30]
- Answers will vary.
- Answers will vary.