Solid Waste and Our Natural Resources
Utilizing the Story THE LORAX

From: Zero Population Growth, adapted for Indiana

Purpose:  An introduction to our planet’s solid waste problem and our personal responsibility in curbing and solving said problem through the use of Dr. Seuss’ book, The Lorax.

Grade Level(s):  primary and upper elementary (but older students enjoy the story and are able to study the themes more in depth also)

National Geography Standards:
3.  How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places and environments on the Earth’s surface.
4.  The physical and human characteristics of places.
12.  The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
14.  How human actions modify the physical environment.
18.  How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

Indiana Social Studies Academic Standards:
Kindergarten – K.3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 5.2, and 5.3
Fourth Grade – 4.1.12, 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, and 3.10
Eighth Grade – 8.2.4, 3.8, 3.9, 3.11, and 5.3
High School World Geography – 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.2, 2.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.10, 4.17, 4.19, 5.1, 5.9, 5.10, 6.11, and 6.12.

Materials Required:
- the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Procedures:
1.  Read The Lorax to the class.  Then discuss the following questions related to the story as a group.
a. How did each step of the Once-ler’s developing business destroy a piece of the ecosystem until the entire system ceased to function?
b. Why was the Super Axe hacker invented?
c. Why did the Once-ler ignore the Lorax’s warnings?
d. What happened to the Lorax?
e. What did the Lorax’s message “UNLESS” mean?

More open-ended questions that can be related to the students’ real environment:
a. What was the Lorax?
b. Why was it there?
c. Why was it lifted away?
d. What changes were brought about the chopping of the trees?
e. Were these changes good or bad?
f. Why wouldn’t anyone listen to the Lorax?
g. Did the Once-ler have real progress?
h. Why did he continue to cut the truffula trees?
i. Do you see anything like this happening where you live?  In other parts of our country or world?
j. What is your part?
k. What can you do?

Adaptations/Extensions: