Big Idea

In this lesson, we will gain a deeper understanding of the crucial role that forests play in maintaining biodiversity, regulating the water cycle, and contributing to the carbon cycle. We’ll learn how deforestation impacts us all.

Take Action

In the ‘Take Action’ section of this lesson, we will build a simulated tree seeder capable of planting seeds to reforest areas impacted by deforestation!

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Describe at least two important role trees play in maintaining life on Earth
  • Explain the negative impacts of deforestation
  • Describe different ways we can promote reforestation 
  • Build an automated tree seeder prototype with the Climate Action Kit that uses:
    • loops to plant seeds evenly across a field
    • conditional statements, variables and arrays to customize the seed density on a case-by-case basis

Materials

Per 1-3 students:

  • Climate Action Kit or Smart Vehicle Kit
  • micro:bit
  • Computer with access to Microsoft MakeCode
  • Pencil or dry erase marker
  • Light Bristol board or chart paper for the tree seeder to drive on

Get to Know the Content

  1. Make sure you’ve completed the ‘Getting Started with the Climate Action Kit’ course
  2. If it has been awhile, review the kit components featured in this lesson:
  3. Review the lesson

Big Idea (15 minutes)

Learn about how forests affect biodiversity and our environment and what we can do to prevent deforestation!

Take Action (45 minutes)

Students will learn about technology being used in reforestation efforts and build their own automated tree seeder prototype.

We’ve provided 3 ways students may build the project to support scaffolding and differentiation in your classroom: ‘Use’, ‘Modify’, and ‘Create’.*

ActivityDescription
UseStudents will follow a step-by-step tutorial to build & use their tree seeder. The goal here is to help them develop a better understanding of its features without requiring actual coding.

Success Criteria
I can:
– build a tree seeder prototype with the Climate Action Kit
– explain how the hardware and software of my project work together
– identify the specific code blocks that allow my prototype to drive and plant seeds
– calculate the distance and time it would take to plant a certain amount of seeds with my prototype

Resources
Tutorial
Final Code
Modify Students will follow a step-by-step tutorial to build their tree seeder. After this, they will modify the code and complete a challenge to improve the device.

Success Criteria
I can:
– build a tree seeder prototype with the Climate Action Kit
– make changes to my code to learn how it works
– identify and explain how specific MakeCode blocks allow my tree seeder to drive and plant seeds at regular intervals
– combine conditional statements, variables and arrays to customize the seed density on a case-by-case basis

Resources
Tutorial
Final Code
CreateStudents will work in small groups to research different technology used in reforestation. They will then design and build their own prototype with the Climate Action Kit.

Success Criteria
I can build an automated tree seeder prototype with the Climate Action Kit that can:

– drive and navigate through a field
– distribute seeds evenly throughout said field

Resources
Blank Project

*Irene Lee, Fred Martin, Jill Denner, Bob Coulter, Walter Allan, Jeri Erickson, Joyce Malyn-Smith, and Linda Werner. 2011. Computational thinking for youth in practice. Acm Inroads 2, 1 (2011), 32–37.

Use the following criteria to assess student learning. Students can:

Conversations

  • Discuss the role forests play in maintaining life on Earth
  • Explain the purpose of each smart component and building block in the main build (Use, Modify, Create)
  • Explain the purpose of the different control structures (loops, conditionals), arrays and variables in the tree seeder project (Use, Modify, Create)

Observations

  • Methodically test and debug their code to ensure it functions as intended (Modify, Create)

Products

  • Add comments to the code to demonstrate their understanding of each block (Use, Modify, Create)
  • Add a feature that allows the user to change the seed density (Modify)
  • Design their own prototype that satisfies provided criteria (Create)