Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Environmenal Detectives at Work

Christy Clanton
Bay District Schools


Environmental Detectives at Work engages students in an investigation of the influence of one human on our natural world.


The student reads text and determines the main idea or essential message, identifies relevant supporting details and facts, and arranges events in chronological order.

The student understands how human activity affects the physical environment.


-Albert, Richard E. Alejandro's Gift.
Chronicle Books. 1994
-Student paper and pencil
-Chart paper and markers
-Student copies of Environmental Detectives Levels Chart
(see attached file)


1. Gather materials
2. Pre-read the book


1. The teacher poses the question, -What is the possible effect of you, as one individual, on your environment?-. Students discuss the question in teams of four. Team reporters share their team's thoughts with the class, with the teacher recording thoughts on chart paper.

2. The teacher invites the class to explore one man's influence on the desert. The teacher reads aloud to the class, Alejandro's Gift (written by Richard E. Albert and illustrated by Sylvia Long). The teacher focuses the class' attention on the illustration on pages 1 and 2 of the book and asks the class to categorize details that are man-made or naturally occurring in the environment.

3. Students are then asked to act as Environmental Detectives to investigate Alejandro's effect as a human on the natural environment of the desert. Students are referred to the Environmental Detectives Levels Chart to set level challenges for themselves. Students collect and write clues, giving specific examples from the text that prove that one human, Alejandro can affect the natural environment.

4. Students self-evaluate their work as detectives using the Environmental Detectives Levels Chart. (see attached file)

5. As a follow-up activity, it would be interesting to have the students jot down five to seven clues in their world/environment to show the impact they also have had on the environment.


Students self-evaluate their work using the Environmental Detectives Levels Chart.

Attached Files

File Attachment     File Extension: pdf

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