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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Deforestation

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  • Determine the causes and consequences of deforestation
  • Develop plans to reverse this trend
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will determine the causes and consequences of deforestation and develop plans to reverse this trend.

Generate a class discussion on the meaning of the term "deforestation." Refer students back to the CNN Student News video on deforestation to review the most notorious example of deforestation, which is happening in the Amazon Basin.

Ask students: How do you think that the loss of this ecosystem might affect the rich biodiversity of Brazil? Do you think that humans should be concerned about the situation? Why or why not?

Following the discussion, divide the class into small groups. Require each group to locate a site in the world where deforestation is taking place. Direct groups to conduct research to determine:

  1. The human communities and major plant and animal species that share this ecosystem,
  2. The primary causes of the deforestation in this region (e.g., clear-cutting, slash-and-burn agriculture, overgrazing) and why these actions are taking place,
  3. The potential impact of continued deforestation in the region on humans, climate, biodiversity, economy and physical geography.

Once groups have gathered their information, challenge them to consider ecotourism as a way to raise awareness of and promote respect and revenue for their chosen forest regions. Direct each group to write a public service announcement (PSA) script or design an informational brochure that uses ecotourism as one way to combat deforestation.

Correlated Standards


Content Standard C: Life Science

Students in grades 5-8 should develop an understanding of:

  1. Populations and ecosystems
  2. Diversity and adaptations of organisms

Students in grades 9-12 should develop an understanding of:

  1. Interdependence of organisms
  2. Behavior of organisms

The National Science Education Standards ( are published by the National Academies Press.

Social Studies

Standard III. People, Places and Environments: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.

Standard VII. Production, Distribution and Consumption: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( are published by the National Council for Social Studies (


Standard 4: Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision Making

B. Students will plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

C. Students will collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students are published by the International Society for Technology in Education.


Amazon Basin, deforestation, biodiversity, species loss, climate change, environment, ecosystem, ecotourism E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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