After watching a video on natural changes, students identify challenges to farming/sustainability of small family farms and how climate changes influence economic decisions.
This lesson is part of "Great States | North Dakota | Unit 6: Agriculture and Economy" where students will learn about the major resources and enterprises that form the basis of North Dakota’s economy.
4.5.4: Explain how the physical environment (e.g., rainfall, climate, natural hazards) affects human activity in North Dakota
8.3.4: Describe factors (e.g., climate, population, tax laws, natural resources) governing economic decision making in North Dakota and other regions (e.g., Midwest, Southeast).
- Video: Mother Nature in Charge | Lee Gessner
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Lee Gessner’s Rising Waters handout
- Tell students they will be watching a short video from a series about the Devils Lake water situation. Increased precipitation has caused the lake to double in size. Some landowners are trying to move, others are trying to protect and save what land hasn't been swallowed by the waters. This video is about one man’s worry about rising waters on his farm.
- Provide students with the Lee Gessner’s Rising Waters handout. Instruct them to take notes on the significant ideas discussed in the video.
- Play the video, Mother Nature in Charge | Lee Gessner [1:11].
- Explain that Lee Gessner is losing land and equipment of his farm to rising waters. Explain that this is occurring because Devils Lake is a closed drainage basin, meaning it has nowhere (such as a stream or river) for excess water to go. Increasing rain and snowfall has led to the lake’s rising waters. His story is one of many plaguing the farm owners of North Dakota. It might be helpful to play more videos from the Mother Nature in Charge collection. They are available from the main video page.
- Have students write a paragraph about how the factors they learned about are affecting the livelihood of local North Dakotans.
Points to look for in the paragraphs:
- Can’t fight mother nature
- As the lake floods, farmers lose fertile land and crop storage
- Farmers have to be creative and flexible, but eventually some might have to move
- This disrupts the local economy and the way people make a living
This video is one of a series about the rising waters of the Devils Lake in North Dakota. For more on this issue, see the Mother Nature in Charge collection on PBSLM.