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Database Provider

Author

Grist

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Biology, History

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 20 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Format

YouTube Video

How Turf Grass Lawns Became the Largest Irrigated Crop in the U.S.

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Synopsis
  • This video discusses the popularity and growth of lawns in the United States, showing clips of commercials and ads from many decades ago. 
  • It highlights the large amount of land used for lawns and the water, pesticides, fertilizers, and gas-powered lawn equipment required to maintain them, making them polluting and sterile environments. 
  • It also showcases examples of native plants, rain gardens, food gardens, and other grass-like options to use instead of a monoculture carpet of high-maintenance grass. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The historical context and examples in this video may help students understand the influence of media on society.
  • There are a number of solutions presented that students could take action on in their communities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • One of the historical ads presented in this video may be seen as disrespectful to women and/or religious individuals, so you may want to address this with students or skip to 0:26 in the video.
  • There may be ads before the video.
  • The link to the Metropolitan Integration Research Center and the link to "tips for what to do with your own lawn" do not work.

Differentiation

  • Advanced students could use this video to supplement this topic and then write a paper persuading their school, city, county, or home owner's association to convert a percentage of their turf grass to edible plants, a garden, and/or native trees, bushes, and flowers.
  • Pausing the video to explain concepts or review terminology may be helpful for some students.
  • A discussion and reflection paper could be completed after the video to allow students to assess their feelings about the content presented and think critically about solutions.
  • Other resources about this topic include this interactive media and data resource about nitrogen pollution, this video about biodiversity, and this mini-unit about water pollution.
Scientist Notes
This 4-minute video outlines a short history of the cultivation of lawns on properties within the U.S. It presents issues with water use, fertilizers, and agriculture. This is a short, clear resource with sources provided in the video description. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking and Listening (K-12)
      • SL.9-12.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
  • Social Studies
    • History
      • History 1 (D2): Students understand major eras, major enduring themes, and historic influences in United States and world history, including the roots of democratic philosophy, ideals, and institutions in the world by analyzing and critiquing major historical eras: major enduring themes, turning points, events, consequences, and people in the history of the world and the implications for the present and future.
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