Sample Lesson Plan

Ka’mt’em: A Journey Toward Healing

Lesson Title Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Class 5th Grade
Submitted By: Brittany Miller and Mckenna Leclair; Child Development, Humboldt State University
Ka’m-t’em Chapter Ch. 5 Sustaining Hlekelonah ue Meygeytohl in an Ever-Changing World by Seafha Ramos


Central Focus of Learning Segment

Students will engage in active conversation about nature and the environment and how to preserve it.

Students will conduct their own reflection about a problem they see within nature and how they can help solve that problem.

Learning Objective

Students will actively engage in conversation about the book based off questions asked by the teacher.


Students will utilize critical thinking skills to identify a problem that harms nature and come up with a way they can help solve that problem.


Students will use writing and language skills to write a piece that reflects their opinion, identifies a problem that harms nature, and come up with a way they can help solve that problem.

Objective The objective is to scaffold students in identifying ways that nature may be harmed and what some of the solutions are to reduce these problems.

Writing Standards W.5  1.a-d

Text Types and Purposes Grade 5

1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

  1. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
  2. Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
  3. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
  4. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.


Assessment of Learning Objective

The students will write an essay after the discussion that reflects their opinions and what was discussed. The teacher will walk around and talk with their students while they are writing.


The teacher will read the essays and assess learning based off them.



Background In the book Ka’m-t’em by Kishan Lara-Cooper and Walt J Lara Sr., there is a common theme of respecting, protecting, and preserving the nature. This theme is strongly indicated in Chapter 5, written by Seafha Ramos. In this chapter she discusses Yurok Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). She states, “Though there is no universally accepted definition, a commonly cited definition is, “a cumulative body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment.” Many Yurok consider TEK as a way of life.” (Ramos, 2019, p. 86) She continues to talk about ways that the Yurok Culture uses TEK. Ramos ends this chapter by outline some ways that people have began to minimize their overall impact on the Earth, such as using less water, driving smaller vehicles, using a bike instead of a vehicle, and purchasing less single-use items. (Ramos, 2019, p. 92) She states, “It may be helpful for all people to consider their lifestyle and how it may impact the Earth and, therefore, future generations. This concept aligns with Yurok TEK while also taking into consideration contemporary environmental issues, and can be done regardless of where one lives.” (Ramos, 2019, p. 92) Overall, the theme of respecting, protecting, and preserving nature is proven to affect every person and therefore should be taught to and practiced by every single person.


Task Description/Teacher Does Students Do

The teacher will start a discussion about nature by asking open ended questions.


Sample questions:

–          What do you know about nature?

–          What kind of things harm the nature?

–          How do you help preserve nature?


The students will engage in this discussion, offering their knowledge and opinions.

The teacher will then teach about concepts that help preserve nature. These concepts include controlled burns, recycling, reducing plastic use, and only taking what they need.


Controlled burning – “any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives, such as to reduce flammable fuels, restore ecosystem health, recycle nutrients, or prepare an area for new trees or vegetation.” (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], n.d.)

*More information can be found at*


Recycling – “Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.” (United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2018)

*More information can be found at*


Reducing plastic use – “The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy – raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.” (EPA, 2018)

*More information can be found at*

Other strategies can be found at these cites:


*This section is used to outline different strategies that are currently being taken to help the environment. It can be changed and adapted to fit individual classrooms/communities*

Students will actively listen and provide ideas/opinions/facts when they feel it is needed.

Writing Assignment

Task Description/Teacher Does Students Do

The teacher will instruct students on their writing prompt.


*Writing prompt is to pick a strategy that they take place in that helps nature. Write about how to effects nature, how they carry out this strategy, and how they can encourage others to do the same.*

Students will engage in writing based off their writing prompt, using critical thinking skills and ideas from the previous discussion to scaffold their writing.

Informal Assessment

Task Description/Teacher Does Students Do

The teacher will walk around during class writing time and answer and/or ask questions to further the students understanding, all while assessing the students’ understanding.


The teacher will read each essay once finished.



Task Description/Teacher Does Students Do

The teacher will end the lesson by asking students for final thoughts/feelings/etc. 


Students will share any last thoughts/feelings/etc. That they may have about this concept.


Additional Notes

This lesson plan is intended to be conducted over a week of class time. That can be adjusted based on individual classroom needs.


Recommended adjustments to shorten this lesson are:

–          Turning the essay into a short reflection or journal activity.

–          Brainstorming other strategies outloud and conducting a discussion about how those affect nature.


Other ideas that can be done with this lesson:

–          Support students in identifying a way your classroom can help and letting the students take place in implementing it within the classroom.

–          Examples:

–          Writing on both sides of your paper to cut down on paper waste

–          Taking home plastic bags, tin foil, paper bags to reuse

–          Bringing a reusable water bottle for beverages

–          Recycling bin

–          Compost bin

Materials, Resources or Safety

●       Paper

●       Pencils



30 Ways to Protect the Environment. 2002 – Ohio EPA’s 30th Anniversary. (n.d.). Retrieved from
This website outline tips on how to protect the environment.

Ramos, S. (2019). Sustaining Hlkelonah ue Meygeytohl in an ever-changing world. In K. Lara-Cooper & W. J. Lara (Eds.), Ka’m-t’em: A journey toward healing (pp. 85-93). Pechanga, CA: Great Oak Press.
This chapter talks about Yurok Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and how it can be used and applied in the environment.

Controlled Burning. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2019, from
This site gives information on the history of controlled burns and the need for controlled burns.

Reducing and Reusing Basics/ Reduce, Reuse, Recycle retrieved from
This chapter talks about the benefits of reducing and reusing plastic use.

Protecting Our Planet Starts With You US Department of Commerce, & National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2009, August 10). What can I do to protect coral reefs? Retrieved from
This article talks about the ways that people can help to protect the environment and provides a list of things that people can do in their homes.

Earth and the Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2019, from
This article talks about the earth and environment and how to go green.