Classroom Adventures

Nature Rangers

Discover plant structures and the interconnectedness of forest ecosystems.

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Grade Level 3-5

Life Science

Stay In My Classroom

How has an invasive plant made it to the Great Smoky Mountains?

A park ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains discovers a mysterious plant that may not be native to the area and needs your students’ help to identify it. As they identify the plant and analyze the impact it could have on the ecosystem, they realize it’s invasive and must be eliminated immediately.

Students will learn of an emergency impacting the area. They’ll work as a team to problem solve a solution so they can return to their task of eliminating the invasive plant and saving the Great Smoky Mountains.

Supplement your science unit with our interactive Nature Rangers simulation. Students are placed into teams to conduct research, collaborate to find solutions to urgent challenges, and experience real-world careers: biologist, botanist, ecologist, and forester.

Then, integrate our engineering activity and nonfiction science writing exercise where it fits best to continue students’ understanding of the engineering design process and scientific communication.

While Nature Rangers primarily focuses on life science themes, it also integrates Earth science and engineering topics.

“Nature Rangers is awesome–it’s the most I’ve seen my class engaged all year!”

– Abigail Jones, William Ramsay Elementary School (Virginia)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the life cycle and structure of plants

  • Understand the interconnectedness of forest and water ecosystems

  • Solve problems using the engineering design process

  • Communicate scientific ideas through non-fiction writing

  • Enhance scientific vocabulary

  • Approximate program time: 1 hour

  • Pre- and post-lesson activities available

  • Closed captioning available

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned

  • Internet connection required

  • Device with audio/video capability required

  • No personal student data collected

  • Online teacher training available

In Partnership

Classroom Adventures was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.