A student from historic Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, shows off her dirty gloves from working on a "conservation lab." A "conservation lab" is vacant land converted into productive land for pollinators, birds, biodiversity, stormwater treatment demo areas, and generational care for the environment. These labs are low maintenance and a low-impact design.
Conservation Lab A student from historic Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, shows off her dirty gloves from working on a "conservation lab." A "conservation lab" is vacant land converted into productive land for pollinators, birds, biodiversity, stormwater treatment demo areas, and generational care for the environment. These labs are low maintenance and a low-impact design. © Devan King

Nature Lab

Youth Education Resources for Ages 11-14

Interactive nature-based lesson plans for middle school age students. 

All Resources for Ages 11-14 (U.S. Grades 6-8)

Download our educational resources for students ages 11-14 (U.S. grades 6 through 8). Lessons include biological interactions, terminology, the impact of reforestation and urban trees on human health, and more. Each lesson plan comes with a free teacher's guide and video.

Teacher Guide

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Seeing the Wood for Trees: Sustainable Forestry (video)

In this lesson, students interact with Google Earth to identify forests that have been logged selectively versus those that have not. They also learn how to distinguish the appearance of forestry methods in satellite images.

Forests: The Stuff of Life Going from Maine’s snowy St. John’s Forest to a nearby lumber yard, this video teaches how healthy, sustainably logged forests can provide us with a sustainable supply of wood products while also supporting rich biodiversity.

Teacher Guide

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Fighting Fire with Fire (video)

Wildfires occur naturally when lightning strikes a forest or grassland. Alternatively, controlled burns, also known as prescribed fires, are set by land managers and conservationists to mimic the effects of natural fires. In this lesson, students explore controlled burn scenarios and the positive impacts of fire on ecosystems. Download the Powerpoint here.

Fighting Fire with Fire Can fire positively impact the ecosystem? Wildfires occur naturally when lightning strikes a forest or grassland. Alternatively, controlled burns, also known as prescribed fires, are set by land managers and conservationists to mimic the effects of natural fires.

Teacher Guide

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Bee Detective: Declining Bee Populations (video)

Honeybees benefit humans in many ways: They are important pollinators of food crops and producers of honey and beeswax. Learn about the features of a honeybee colony and the potential causes of colony collapse disorder (CCD). 

Pollinators: Putting Food on the Table Show students the incredible importance of pollinators to agriculture and landscapes with this video filmed in Colorado's Yampa Valley. Students build a pollinator garden and learn how little of their picnic would be possible without pollinators.

Teacher Guide

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The Need Is Mutual: Biological Interactions (video)

Organisms have a variety of relationships. In this lesson, students learn to categorize relationships according to their impact on organisms and the terminology for these biological interactions, for example, symbiosis.

Coral Reefs: Feeding and Protecting Us From the remote Pacific island nation of Palau comes a video lesson in mutualism, both among coral reef organisms and between people and the coral reefs that define their nation.

Teacher Guide

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How Natural Areas Filter Water (video)

Nature works to filter water and to release water over time, thereby reducing the amount of artificial treatment needed to filter water and helping to prevent flooding. In this lesson, students learn about the importance of water quality for human health and agriculture. 

How Nature Makes Clean Water How does a watershed work — and why are these natural filters critical for clean drinking water? This video explores how watersheds benefit people and nature. It also explains how a student-built water garden can demonstrate the filtering power of a watershed.

Teacher Guide

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Population Management (video)

The needs of cattle herds overlap the needs of wildlife in communities, such as Kenya. In this lesson, students learn how balancing cattle herd size, grazing rights and wildlife populations is beneficial. 

The Value of Grasslands Balancing cattle herd size, grazing rights and wildlife populations is beneficial to grasslands. When cattle ranchers and conservationists carefully manage the land and water needs of cattle and wildlife, they can help balance the needs of both populations.

Teacher Guide

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Reforestation: Impact on Climate (video)

Students explore how reforestation can help decrease carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thereby minimizing climate change and improving air quality.

Reforestation: Impact on Climate Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, thus impacting climate change.

Teacher Guide

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Urban Trees (video)

In this lesson, students learn how trees renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, and how they clean our air by filtering out dust and greenhouse gases. 

Urban Trees Tree planting can reduce summertime temperatures, thereby reducing air-conditioning bills and trapping some of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Explore Our Youth Curriculum

Access resources aligned to The Nature Conservancy's research and designed specifically for a young audience and classroom use.