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Innovation in Teaching Competition - Beyond the Textbook

Conservation Inside the Classroom and Beyond

Melanie Hartfield
Unity Grove Elementary
Henry County Schools

Grade Level and Content

5th Grade
English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies


This integrated unit challenges students to think critically about environmental conservation while applying English language arts, science, and social studies standards. Students learn about habitats, community development, and environmental agencies and their roles in influencing conservation efforts and the environment. Additionally, students conduct experiments on plant life to understand and observe various influences on natural habitats. With the help of community members, students conclude the unit with a 24-hour BioBlitz and collect data on and classify all of the animals and plants around the school. Students capture their findings with iPads and other devices and create an eBook for the school.

Standard Addressed

English Language Arts
ELA.5.RI.7; ELA.5.W.4; ELA.5.W.5; ELA.5.W.7; ELA.5.SL.1; ELA.5.SL.5; ELA.5.L.1; ELA.5.L.3

S.5.CS.1 a- c; S.5.CS.3 a-b; S.5.L.1 a-b; S.5.L.4 a-b; S.5.E.1a,c

Social Studies

Available Materials

Unit Introduction
Daily Lesson Plans
Grid Template
Invertebrate Trap Instructions
Human-Related Changes Chart
Species List

Video of Unit

> Download this Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as')

About the Teacher

Melanie Hartfield is currently a 5th grade teacher at Unity Grove Elementary in Locust Grove, GA. Ms. Hartfield received her Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Science from University of North Dakota, her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from University of Southern Mississippi, and her Master of Education in Early Child Education from Piedmont College. She currently serves as the Special Education Grade Level Chairperson at her school. Melanie’s best piece of teaching advice is to set your standards high, encourage your students, and let them know you care. Allow students to use their personal strengths and assist them with growing in the areas where they are weakest.

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Disclaimer: The unit plans and materials on the Innovation in Teaching Competition website are aligned with Georgia’s standards through December 2014. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards have been revised. The revised standards were approved by the State Board of Education on January 15, 2015. The revised ELA and Mathematics standards were renamed from the CCGPS to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).

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