Project Overview 
Interdisciplinary Middle School Curriculum Unit Table of Contents 
Looks Count Introductory Slide Show: What Is Community Character?
Or download powerpoint version 4.8 Mb 
Teaching Resources 
Looks Count For Communities (NTSA Science Scope Article Jan 2004)*
(PDF 209kb)
Teacher Workshops or PDF
Balancing Nature & Commerce in Community Growth: Ed McMahon, The Conservation Fund
  • Poster PDF 1.7MB file  

  • * Science Scope Reprinted with permission from Science Scope, a publication of the National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201-3000.)

    Looks Count!

    Community Planning, Natural Resource Protection and the Visual Environment
    An Interdisciplinary Middle School Curriculum Unit
    for Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Art

    Unit Table of Contents

    I. Cover Page & Table of Contents and Preface

    II. Pre/Post Test

    III. Lesson Plans
    (Lesson Plans Listed below are Adobe Acrobat pdf file format)

    1. Discovering Your Sense of Place (introductory stations)
    2. What Is Suburban Sprawl?
    3. Neighborhood View Teams
    4. What do you want your Community to look like?
    5. Who Decides the Visual Appearance of Our Community?
    6. Buildings And More
    7. Conducting A Community Survey
    8. What’s The Message?
    9. Who Lives in My Community: Local Demographics and Graphing
    10. Who Owns The Land—A Plat Map Comparison
    11. Here's what's Great About My Community
    12. Sharing With the Community
    13. Biodiversity Study: Disturbed v. Undisturbed
    14. Artificial Nest Predation Investigation
    15. Changing the Land

    IV. Science Extensions (not included)

    1. Project WET Curriculum & Activity Guide (Water Education for Teachers) activities that address human/environment interactions, water quality & quantity, decision-making:

    § Color Me A Watershed p. 223 (students observe land use changes over time and how this affects the quantity of runoff);

    § Sparkling Water p.348 (students design their own wastewater treatment process);

    2. Dragonfly Pond (from Project WILD Aquatic Activity Guide, p. 154)

    3. Changing the Land: Timber Wolf (adapted with permission from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) in EE News Spring 2000. (Students study how land use changes affect the habitat and distribution of wolves.)

    4. Stream monitoring activities – compare water quality of stream in downtown, suburb and rural area (i.e. ‘developed,’ ‘developing,’ and ‘developed’ areas);

    5. Compare diversity of plants, butterflies, birds, habitats, etc. in developed areas with those found in undeveloped areas.

    V. New Vocabulary Words

    VI. Unit Assessment

    VII. Michigan Content Standards Addressed

    VIII. Curriculum Resources

    Looks Count 72 page book
    (Adobe Acrobat PDF File 1.87 Mb)


    To download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for reading the files, click [Get Acrobat Reader]


    Funded by

    a grant from the Dunn Foundation, Warwick, RI

    and the Wege Foundation of Grand Rapids, MI

    Developed by

    Joan Chadde, Jean Dunstan, Linda Rulison, Ruth Ann Smith and Ashley Hanson

    Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education

    Michigan Technological University

    1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931-1295

    Tel: 906-487-3341 Email:


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