Resource Type
Completion Time
More than a week
Elementary and Up
Download and Share
Angela Mazur
Sound and sight maps
Outdoor gear for bog walk
Computer and projector
Music Video: Love Song to the Earth
Plant Identification flash cards
Climate and Science flashcards created from info learned in class
magnifying glasses
Book: The Trouble with Dragons (Debbie Glilori)
Dry erase board and markers
Audubon Application and Ipad
Examples of music translating Climate Change


"Looking down from up on the moon, it’s a tiny blue marble. How’d have thought the ground we live on, could be so fragile?"

Love Song to the Earth, Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Paul, Leona Lewis, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, Angelique Kidjo, Nicole Scherzinger, Kelsea Ballerini, Christina Grimmmie, Victoria Justice, and Q’orianka Kilcher

In this lesson, intermediate music students will not only earn a greater appreciation for Alaska, but also for nature. These plans are designed to allow students to learn how to use sound and sight maps in order to identify aspects of our region in Southeast Alaska. In addition, students will be working toward learning more about the basic concepts of Climate Change in order to write creative lyrics for songs our entire school will learn. At the end of the unit, students will perform their unique songs in a school wide assembly.


Students will be able to:

  • Effectively identify different species of plants and trees on and near our school campus.
  • Positively work in groups in order to create a unique climate song using proper meter and rhythm skills.
  • Successfully discuss and learn main vocabulary terms concerning climate change.

Lesson Preparation

First Half of Lesson:

  1. Create flashcards with plants, flowers, trees, and birds in our region with the rhythm value written underneath. Ex: Fireweed= ti ti ta or tri-pi-let
  2. Create sound and sight maps with rubric for students to take on adventure bog walk.
  3. Complete KWL chart of plants, flowers, trees, and birds in Alaska with class on board
  4. Review how to be an active listener and proper etiquette and safety in the wild and in nature
  5. Create list of plants, flowers, trees, and birds class wants to find on our walk on board
  6. Review plant identification
  7. Listen to Alaska (or local) Bird Calls from Audubon App and review bird identification

Second Half of Lesson:

  1. Review rhythm and meter skills
  2. Create measures of four beats in groups as review
  3. Using flashcards created, discuss and share specific vocabulary words for nature and climate change: greenhouse effect, climate, climate change, global warming


This lesson will be divided into four class sessions across two weeks in music with grades 3-6.

Day 1:

  • Begin with introducing pictures of Alaskan plants, flowers, trees, and birds students may have seen over their summer vacations hiking, camping, fishing, or exploring.
  • Continue with group work as students are divided and given flashcards and quiz each other on identifying the simple species covered by the class. Allow students to assign each card an instrument to play as they say the name out loud. Example: Twisted stalk (ti ti ta played on Guiro).
  • Hand out sight and sound maps to students and explain the goals of next class.
  • Talk about hiking etiquette and how to be a good listener in nature.
  • Prepare students for next class and remind them to wear proper gear for the outdoors.

Day 2:

  • Meet students in hall at start of class with materials needed for bog walk:
    (maps, pencils, clipboards, magnifying glasses, camera, safety backpack and radio)
  • Pair students in buddies in hall before approaching exit to building.
  • Walk in pairs, in line, to the bog
  • Stop several times to identify sounds, flowers spotted, leaves to plants, and trees
  • Turn back papers as walk back into building
  • Meet classroom teacher to go back to class-as waiting in line, debrief and reflect on experience: What was your favorite sight? What was the most peculiar sound? What is something you have never seen?

Day 3:

  • Review experience from last week/last class
  • Answer questions:
    • Why is it important to appreciate and love our natural world?
    • How can we use music to help others appreciate and respect our natural world?
  • Segway into sharing music videos on climate; after each video have students share:
    • Something they enjoyed musically
    • Something they learned about our climate
    • Something they think we should tell others
  • Use flashcards created with climate change terms to begin explaining several big ideas
  • Explore and share content: NASA’s Kids Ask BIG QUESTIONS
  • Use the site above to explore a topic of interest (allow class to select) and use partners in class to allow kids to read on their own and ask questions. Follow up with class short discussion.
  • End class with a reading of The Trouble with Dragons and a preview into the final lesson: Writing our own songs on Climate Change and Loving Nature

Day 4:

  • Recap previous lesson: What was a big question the NASA kids helped us answer last class? How can music help us to teach others about what we have learned the last three days in music class?
  • Get into small groups to review rhythm counting and creating measures of four. Give each group buzz words from the week: flower names, tree names, glossary from climate change in order to create phrases that can fit into four beat measures.
  • Bring everyone together to share final project for the class: Creating our own song as a class to teach others:
    • Select popular tune kids vote on (nursery rhyme, pop song, patriotic tune, etc.)
    • Select theme for song kids vote on (loving nature, what’s in our own backyard, the changing climate)
    • Share buzz words to use for particular theme and write them on the board for kids to reference
  • Divide students back into group to write eight 4 beat measures (one verse) for our song. Each group will produce their music on blank sheet music writing paper.
  • While students are working, the teacher will be creating and writing the chorus to the song on the board
  • Compile verses and share rough draft of song with each other at end of the class.


After this unit, the students will continue to learn the song, edit if, necessary, and polish for an assembly performance.

Other extensions

  • Write a letter to the superintendent asking permission to post a recording of our song on the ASD (school district) website.
  • Write a letter to local news reporter in order to publish our work in the local paper.
  • Encourage students to write their own songs at home and bring them in to share throughout the rest of the school year.



Students will be evaluated on a daily basis for:

  • positive and engaged participation
  • successful collaboration in groups and pairs
  • creative input in discussions, group sharing, and daily projects

In addition, students will be evaluated on their ability to use musical skills learned in previous classes in order to write a coherent and musically sound piece to share with others.

Musical skills to be evaluated:

  • Steady beat
  • Rhythm writing
  • Vocal expression

Author / Credits

Angela Mazur created this four-day lesson plan as a capstone project for the 2016 teacher training course entitled: Climate Change: Seeing, Understanding, and Teaching, held in Denali National Park. The course is facilitated by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) in partnership with Alaska Geographic and the National Park Service.

File Attachments

  • Sight Map-Mazur
  • Sound Map-Mazur


AK.A. A student should be able to create and perform in the arts. A student who meets the content standard should:
A.1. Participate in dance, drama, music, visual arts, and create writing.
A.2. Refine artistic skills and develop self-discipline through rehearsal, practice, and revision.
A.3. Appropriately use new and traditional materials, tools, techniques, and processes in the arts.
A.4. Demonstrate the creativity and imagination necessary for innovative thinking and problem solving.
A.5. Collaborate with others to create and perform works of art.

AK.B. A student should be able to understand the historical and contemporary role of the arts in Alaska, the nation, and the world. A student who meets the content standard should:
B.4. Investigate the relationships among the arts and the individual, the society, and the environment.

AK.C. A student should be able to critique the student’s art and the art of others. A student who meets the content standard should:
C.1. Know the criteria used to evaluate the arts. These may include craftsmanship, function, organization, originality, technique, and theme.

AK.D. A student should be able to recognize beauty and meaning through the arts in the student’s life. A student who meets the content standard should:
D.6. Recognize that people connect many aspects of life through the arts.

Improvise rhythmic and melodic ideas, and describe connection to specific purpose and context (such as personal and social).

Evaluate, refine, and document revisions to personal musical ideas, applying teacher-provided and collaboratively- developed criteria and feedback.

Present the final version of personal created music to others, and describe connection to expressive intent.

Attachment Size
Download Lesson (PDF - 117KB)116.84 KB 116.84 KB
Download Sight Map (DOC - 2MB)1.78 MB 1.78 MB
Download Sound Map (DOC - 2MB)1.79 MB 1.79 MB