Roots & Shoots

Environmental Program for Youth

Instructor: Dr. Monita Leavitt

If you love our planet, the environment, people, and animals, this course is for you!

Roots & Shoots is an eight-week class designed for Middle School/Jr. High level students. The culminating project is an action plan explaining a service-learning project based upon the identification of a local or global community problem involving animals, people, and/or the environment. Student may choose to independently continue the course by following through to take action and perform their service-learning activity to make a difference in the world. If they accomplish their service-learning project, students are encouraged to submit their project to the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots online newsletter to share their work with other students around the world.

Roots & Shoots includes the website URLs as resources for the course: and Signing up for a membership on the website is free. Once there, you can create project profiles, invite other users to "join" the project, and collaboratively share updates and photos on the project page. You can also browse other Roots & Shoots projects for inspiration, earn achievement badges for your work, and share your projects on social media!

What to Expect During the 8 Weeks:

  • Week 1: Students will research and create a concept map to brainstorm problems in their local or global community on a topic of their interest: animals, people, or the environment.
  • Week 2: Students will use a graphic organizer to focus on their selected area: animals, people or environment. They will then identify one main problem.
  • Week 3: Students will list many, varied possible and probable solutions to their identified problem. After narrowing down solutions, students will use Excel or Word to create a chart to list 5 main problems.
  • Week 4: Students will identify 4 criteria to analyze their solutions. Using the criteria, students will add their 5 solutions to the chart and analyze by scoring on a scale of 1 – 5 (low to high) to determine the most probable and effective solution.
  • Week 5: Students will employ a multiple intelligence area (art, writing, music, etc.) to explain and persuade an audience that their solution is the best one and why.
  • Week 6: Students will create a plan and list steps they will take to solve their identified problem through a service-learning project.
  • Week 7: Extension: Students will put their plan to action and take steps to solve their problem in the real world.
  • Week 8: Students will reflect and share their experience with an authentic audience by submitting an article for the international Roots & Shoots online newsletter.


  • To complete the final project, students should possess the skills needed to write in Word, create a concept map or Mind Map, and create a chart using Excel or Word.


What to Expect in the Classroom:

Learning activities include communicating ideas, videos and multimedia, and web 2.0 tools to synthesize new concepts. Students are asked to complete assignments utilizing research skills, creating a concept map, creating a graphic organizer, and utilizing Word or Excel during the weeks.


What to Expect in the Webinar:

Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Recorded sessions are available for students with schedule conflicts. Roots & Shoots webinars include teacher-led exploration of the environmental topics studied: animals, people, or local / global community. Students are asked to contribute to the live webinar by doing the following:

  • Actively participating (via the microphone and chat) to online discussions by sharing research results and brainstormed ideas about the topics presented. Students will also discuss any successes or problems they are experiencing.


Enrollment in this 8-week course includes free access to moderated discussion forums and Athena's Minecraft server.


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Last modified: Sunday, October 9, 2016, 8:29 AM