After watching a video on the Northern Plains grasslands, students create a list of reasons the grasslands are valuable.
This lesson is part of "Great States | North Dakota | Unit 8: Modern North Dakota" where students will learn about the concerns and challenges that the people of North Dakota face today.
4.5.3: Identify the location and characteristics of significant features of North Dakota (e.g., landforms, river systems, climate, regions, major cities)
4.3.2: Identify ways that natural resources (e.g., soil, minerals, trees, fish, people) contribute to the economy of the local community and North Dakota
8.5.1: Describe the location and characteristics of the three regions of North Dakota including the Red River Valley, the Drift Prairie, and the Missouri Plateau
- Video: America's Grasslands: A Threatened National Treasure | Our Least Appreciated and Most Threatened Biome
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Northern Plains Grasslands handout
- Explain to students that there are endangered grasslands of the prairie and Great Plains states. Tell students they will watch a video that further discusses this issue.
- Provide the Northern Plains Grasslands handout to students. Instruct students to take notes as they watch.
- Play the video, America's Grasslands: A Threatened National Treasure | Our Least Appreciated and Most Threatened Biome [7:10].
- Ask students: what is causing the grasslands to become endangered?
- Have students complete the questions on the handout.
- After reconvening to discuss students’ answers, ask students why it might be difficult for people appreciate the grasslands and understand why they need to be protected?
- The grasslands are becoming endangered due to agricultural pressure. Native grass is disappearing as farmers till the land for cropland. [1:29]
- The great plains are not as breathtaking as other landscapes appear to be [3:23]. They have a “subtle beauty.” People who are not native to the area drive right through the flat, vast land without appreciating the wildlife [5:05].
- Value of Grasslands
- Breeding habit for waterfowl, migratory birds and other wildlife [1:46]
- Offers biodiversity in plants and insects for the ecosystem [2:55]
Home to 250 plant species, 150+ species of birds [5:26]
- Historical preservation: teepee rings, wagon trails [6:20]
- Environmental Impact
- Loss of native grasses [0:23]
- Reduction of America’s largest breeding ground (prairie & wetlands) for waterfowl [2:36]
- Need to balance food needs with conservation