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        Iowa | Activity 9.6: Land Management

        Students watch a video about land management, and learn about landowners’ rights and responsibilities. They learn that there are particular considerations for fragile Iowa lands like the Loess Hills, and that local governments can use zoning to regulate land use, but that—at the time of the video—the Loess Hills didn’t have many zoning laws.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about land management, and learn about landowners’ rights and responsibilities. They learn that there are particular considerations for fragile Iowa lands like the Loess Hills, and that local governments can use zoning to regulate land use, but that—at the time of the video—the Loess Hills didn’t have many zoning laws. Students then consider the pros and cons of establishing a farm in a residential area of the Loess Hills, and debate before a zoning board whether the zoning should be changed to allow the new business.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa Unit 9 | Activities for Grades 8–12." This unit is comprised of activities for 8th grade and high school students. In this unit, students will explore the environmental, historical, and political factors that characterize the state of Iowa.

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        H.SS-Gov.9-12.28: Identify local and state issues in Iowa and evaluate formal or informal courses of action used to affect policy. 

        SS.9-12.12: Apply a range of deliberative and democratic strategies and procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms, schools, and out-of-school contexts.

        G.SS-Geo.9-12.20: Assess the impact of economic activities and political decisions on urban, suburban, and rural regions.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain that land management involves how we treat the land and how it is maintained for future use. Land management is a complex topic that must balance the desires of various landowners against each other, as well as consider current and future land use needs. In this video, students will learn about the rights and responsibilities that private owners have, and ways in which the government can regulate those rights and enforce responsibilities.

        1. Distribute the Land Ownership handout, and instruct students to take notes as they watch the video.

        1. Play the video, Working Landscapes – Ownership. [4:18]

        1. Have students answer the questions on the handout.

        1. Divide students into three groups. Group 1 represents Landowner #1, Group 2 represents Landowner #2, and Group 3 represents the County Council (government).

          • Landowner #1 lives in a house on the side of a hill in the Loess Hills.

          • Landowner #2 lives above her and wants to build a hog farm on his property, but currently zoning only allows for residential use.

          • Have Landowners #1 and #2 debate in front of the County Council Zoning Board (Group 3) why the hog farm is positive or detrimental to their respective lands, and whether the zoning should be amended to allow animal farming.

          • Group #3 then weighs the pros and cons (considering the land rights of each landowner in addition to the current and future land use and economy), deciding whether to zone for a hog farm. Is there a compromise?

        Answer Key:

        1. Right to build a house, put a sidewalk, build a business, right to clean water and clean air [0:40]

        2. Responsibilities: Not to pollute the water, not to pollute the air, influence others’ property (such as not mowing the lawn or picking up trash) [0:55]

        3. Considerations can include:

          1. Landowner #1: safety/cleanliness of her land and water (concerns that hog runoff can contaminate her water; noise concerns; farming could harm the ecosystem (erode the soil, damage the natural plant and animal ecosystem currently on the hill); a farm could dissuade tourism in the Loess Hills

          2. Landowner #2: farming is a capital improvement to the land; it’s his land, and it’s good for his income; a farm is good for the county’s economy because it brings in employees, who will pay to utilize local services as well as pay personal taxes to the county if they live nearby; and the county can tax his business

          3. The Zoning Board must weigh: the rights of Landowner #1 to vs. rights of Landowner #2; could the hog farm damage the Loess Hills and can that damage be mitigated or is the damage a small cost for the boost to the economy; which use of the land is better now and in the future; is there a compromise to satisfy both landowners, while keeping the land both improved and healthy?

         

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