Desertification: Cause and Effect - Arizona Geographic Cause and Effect ... deforestation, dams) and adapt to the environment. ... deforestation by writing a paragraph comparing

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  • Desertification: Cause and EffectStudents learn about the causes and effects of desertification

    threatening the African Sahel.

    Author Barbara StoutGrade Level 6-8 and High SchoolDuration 4-5 class periods

    National GeographyStandards

    Arizona GeographyStrand

    Other Arizona Standards

    ELEMENT TWO:PLACES ANDREGIONS4. The physical andhumancharacteristics ofplaces.

    ELEMENT THREE:PHYSICALSYSTEMS7. The physicalprocesses thatshape the patternsof earth's surface.

    ELEMENT FIVE:ENVIRONMENT ANDSOCIETY15. How physicalsystems affecthuman systems.

    Concept 2 Places andRegionsGrade 6PO 2 Describe the factorsthat cause regions andplaces to change.Grade 7PO 1 Describe the humanand physical characteristicsof places and regions.PO 2 Explain the conceptof regions and why theychange.High SchoolPO 3. Examinegeographic issues (e.g.,drought in Sahel, migrationpatterns, desertification ofAral Sea, spread ofreligions such as Islam,conflicts in NorthernIreland/Ireland, Jerusalem,Tibet) in places and worldregions.Concept 3 PhysicalSystems(Strand 6 Earth and SpaceScience Concept 1Structure of the Earth)Grade 7PO 3 Explain the followingprocesses involved in theformation of the Earthsstructure- erosion- deposition- plate tectonics

    Strand 2 World HistoryConcept 9 Contemporary WorldGrades 7 and 8PO 3. Analyze how world events of the late 20th

    century and early 21st century (e.g., terrorism,globalization, conflicts, interdependence, naturaldisasters, advancements in science andtechnology, environmental issues) affected, andcontinue to affect, the social, political,geographic, and economic climate of the world.High SchoolPO 4. Examine environmental issues from aglobal perspective (e.g., pollution, populationpressures, global warming, scarcity of resources).

    Strand 5 EconomicsConcept 1 Foundations of EconomicsGrade 6PO 1. Identify how limited resources andunlimited human wants cause people to choosesome things and give up others.PO 2. Determine how scarcity, opportunity costs,and trade-offs influence decision-making.Grades 7 and 8PO 1. Explain how limited resources andunlimited human wants cause people to choosesome things and give up others.PO 2. Analyze how scarcity, opportunity costs,and trade-offs influence decision-making.Grade 8PO 3. Analyze how individuals, governmentsand businesses make choices based on theavailability of resources.High SchoolPO 1. Analyze the implications of scarcity:a. limited resources and unlimited human wants

    influence choice at individual, national, andinternational levels

  • Desertification: Cause and Effect

    - volcanismConcept 5 Environmentand SocietyGrade 6PO 1 Describe ways thathuman dependence onnatural resourcesinfluences economicdevelopment, settlement,trade and migration.PO 2 Describe theintended and unintendedconsequences of humanmodification (e.g., irrigation,aqueducts, canals) on theenvironment.Grade 7PO 3 Describe howhumans modifyenvironments (e.g.,conservation,deforestation, dams) andadapt to the environment.Grade 8PO 1 Describe howhumans modify ecosystems(e.g., deforestation anddesertification).High SchoolPO 1. Analyze how theEarths natural systems(e.g., Gulf Streampermitting habitation ofnorthern Europe,earthquakes, tsunamis,periodic droughts, rivercivilizations) affect humans.PO 4. Analyze theenvironmental effects ofhuman use of technology(e.g., irrigation,deforestation, overgrazing,global warming,atmospheric and climatechanges, energyproduction costs andbenefits, watermanagement) on theenvironment.

    international levels

    Reading Standards for 6-8 for Literacy inHistory/Social StudiesKey Ideas and Details6-8.RH.1 Cite specific textual evidence to supportanalysis of primary and secondary sources.9-10.RH.1 Cite specific textual evidence tosupport analysis of primary and secondarysources, attendingto such features as the date and origin of theinformation.Craft and Structure6-8.RH.4 and 9-10.RH.4 Determine the meaningof words and phrases as they are used in a text,including vocabulary specific to domains relatedto history/social studies.Integration of Knowledge and Ideas6-8.RH.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., incharts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps)with other information in print and digital texts.Range of Reading and Level of TextComplexity6-8.RH.10 By the end of grade 8, read andcomprehend history/social studies texts in thegrades 68 text complexity band independentlyand proficiently.9-10.RH.10 By the end of grade 10, read andcomprehend history/social studies texts in thegrades 910 text complexity band independentlyand proficiently.

    Writing Standards for 6-8 for Literacy inHistory/Social Studies, Science, andTechnical SubjectsText Types and Purposes6-8.WHST.1 Write arguments focused ondiscipline-specific content.a. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue,acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) fromalternate or opposing claims, and organize thereasons and evidence logically.b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning andrelevant, accurate data and evidence thatdemonstrate an understanding of the topic ortext, using credible sources.c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to createcohesion and clarify the relationships amongclaim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.d. Establish and maintain a formal style.e. Provide a concluding statement or section thatfollows from and supports the argumentpresented.9-10.WHST.1 Write arguments focused ondiscipline-specific content.a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish theclaim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, andcreate an organization that establishes clearrelationships among the claim(s), counterclaims,reasons, and evidence.

  • Desertification: Cause and Effect

    relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims,reasons, and evidence.b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly,supplying data and evidence for each whilepointing out the strengths and limitations of bothclaim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner thatanticipates the audiences knowledge level andconcerns.c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link themajor sections of the text, create cohesion, andclarify the relationships between claim(s) andreasons, between reasons and evidence, andbetween claim(s) and counterclaims.d. Establish and maintain a formal style andobjective tone while attending to the norms andconventions of the discipline in which they arewriting.e. Provide a concluding statement or section thatfollows from or supports the argument presented.Production and Distribution of Writing6-8.WHST.4 Produce clear and coherent writingin which the development, organization, andstyle are appropriate to task, purpose, andaudience.a. Produce clear and coherent functional writing(e.g., formal letters, envelopes, procedures,labels, timelines, graphs/tables, experiments,maps, captions, charts, diagrams) in which thedevelopment, organization, and style areappropriate to task, purpose, and audience.9-10.WHST.4 Produce clear and coherent writingin which the development, organization, andstyle are appropriate to task, purpose, andaudience.a. Produce clear and coherent functional writing(e.g., formal letters, envelopes, experiments,labels, timelines, graphs/tables, procedures,charts, maps, captions, diagrams, sidebar, flowcharts) in which the development, organizationand style are appropriate to task, purpose, andaudience.Research to Build and Present Knowledge6-8.WHST.9 and 9-10.WHST.9 Draw evidencefrom informational texts to support analysisreflection, and research.


    The desert environments around the world areexpanding every day due to both natural causessuch as drought, wind, and erosion, as well ashuman causes such as overgrazing, poorconservation practices, and lack of crop rotation.This process of desert expansion is calleddesertification and is threatening the Sahel regionin northwest Africa.


    In this lesson, students will become familiar withthe causes and effects of desertification, througha variety of modalities including: taking vocabularynotes, reading an environmental article,completing cause and effect graphic organizersand writing an expository essay.

  • Desertification: Cause and Effect


    African Regions Map African Regions Map (with place names) Teacher Background Notes on Physical

    Regions of Africa Vocabulary T-Chart on Desertification Vocabulary T-Chart Answer Key Cause and Effect Student Model #1 Cause and Effect Answer Key for Model #1 Desertification Article (for 6-8 readers) USGS Desertification Article (for High School

    readers) Cause and Effect Sequences #1, #2, and #3 Cause and Effect Sequence Answer Keys for

    #1 and #2 Writing Prompt for Cause and Effect of

    Desertification Desertification Essay Ideas and Content

    Rubric Desertification Essay Word Choice Rubric All answer keys should be made into



    The student will be able to:

    locate: the Sahel, Sahara Desert, KalahariDesert, Namib Desert, Atlas Mountains,Ethiopian Highlands, DrakensbergMountains, savanna, tropical rainforest,Nile River, Congo River and Great RiftValley on a map of Africa.

    define vocabulary words related todesertification.

    read an environmental article ondesertification.

    diagram cause and effect sequences ofdesertification on a graphic organizer.

    write an expository essay on the causesand effects of desertification.


    SESSION ONE1. Brainstorm with the students: What it is like inAfrica? What is the landscape like, the people,etc? Write on the chalkboard as the students givetheir impressions.

    2. Distribute the African Regions Map and havestudents label and color the regions. Display theAfrican Regions Map (with place names) as anAnswer Key on the overhead projector.

    3. Discuss the physical geography of each of theregions, as they copy and color. (Information onthe regions is located in the Teacher BackgroundNotes.)

    4. Distribute the Vocabulary T-Chart and havestudents fill in the definitions from the overhead.

    SESSION TWO1. Distribute the Cause and Effect Student Model#1. Discuss the Cause and Effect SequenceExample, then demonstrate how to diagram thesequence into the Graphic Organizer, using theCause and Effect Answer Key for Model #1.

    2. Distribute the appropriate Desertification Article(either for 6-8 or High School readers). Discusshow the cause and effect sequence model can beused to interpret information in the article.

    3. Instruct students that while they read the article,to look for examples of cause and effectsequences.

    4. Distribute the Cause and Effect Sequence #1to guide students in completing the cause/effectsequence on Desertification. Help studentsdiagram on the graphic organizer, using theAnswer Key for Sequence #1.

    SESSION THREE1. Redistribute the Desertification Article and handout Cause and Effect Sequences #2 and #3.

    2. Allow students to work in pairs and explain theywill need to perform the following tasks:

    Reread the article and identify specific causeand effect examples of desertification.

    On Cause and Effect Sequence #2, formulatea complete three-step sequence in fullsentences.

    Diagram the three-step sequence on thegraphic organizer.

    Do Cause and Effect Sequence #3 next,utilizing the above procedures for Sequence#2.

    SESSION FOUR1. Distribute Writing Prompt for Cause and Effectof Desertification and discuss the criteria for thewriting assignment.

  • Desertification: Cause and Effect

    2. Distribute the Desertification Essay Word Choiceand Desertification Essay Ideas and ContentRubrics for the expository essay

    3. Students write a Cause and Effect expositoryessay utilizing the Cause and Effect Sequences#1, #2, #3 and Vocabulary T-Chart.


    Grade the Cause and Effect sequencing graphicorganizers #1, #2, and #3 for accuracy andcompleteness. Student should score 80% orhigher.

    Utilize the Desertification Essay Ideas and ContentRubric and the Desertification Essay Word ChoiceRubric to grade the paper. Mastery is considered 4or higher in each category.


    Have students analyze Cause and EffectSequences on deforestation (e.g. destruction ofthe tropical rainforests or other types of forests,

    such as deciduous or temperate coniferous). (SeeDeforestation lesson)

    Have students compare desertification withdeforestation by writing a paragraph comparingand contrasting desertification with deforestation.


    - Expanding Deserts by Paula Hogan- The Spread of Deserts by Ewan McLeish- Last Frontiers for Mankind: Deserts by

    Lawrence William- United Nations Secretariat of the Convention

    to Combat Desertification

    - UN Food and Agriculture on desertification

    - Land Degradation and Desertification

    - National Geographic Video "Africa's PhysicalFeatures"

    - NGS Picture Pack transparencies "Geographyof Africa"

    - NGS Africas Natural Realms Map, September2001


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