Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Woman Crush Wednesday: Marjory Stoneman Douglas


Mariah Warren, Daniel Schwarz | Published: November 22nd, 2022 by K20 Center


This lesson is part of a series, titled "Woman Crush Wednesday" in which we look at how female scientists have shaped our view of science. In this biology lesson, students will explore the contributions of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the interconnectedness of an ecosystem, and endangered species.

Essential Question(s)

How have female scientists shaped science today? What threatens ecosystems?



Students complete a Bell Ringer activity to assess their prior knowledge about ecosystems and endangered species before being introduced to Marjory Stoneman Douglas.


Students research the Florida Everglades and use the TIP Chart strategy to explore the organisms and their adaptations to thrive in the Everglades ecosystem.


Students use the Jigsaw strategy to read and discuss the "Bison Are Back" article.


Students explore a local ecosystem and create a public service announcement (PSA) about what threatens them.


Students participate in a gallery walk to share their PSA and explore their classmates’ ecosystems. Students use the POMS strategy to summarize something they can do to help protect an ecosystem.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Bell Ringer handout (attached, one per student)

  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

  • TIP Chart handout (attached, one per student)

  • “Bison are Back” handout (linked, one per student)

  • Art supplies and poster board

  • Student devices with internet access


15 Minute(s)

Go to slide 3. Before class begins, invite students to complete a Bell Ringer activity that will assess their prior knowledge. Give students the Bell Ringer handout and ask them to record their responses to the following questions:

  1. What is an ecosystem?

  2. Can you name any endangered species and how they became endangered?

  3. How do you think a species being endangered affects the other species in the ecosystem?

Go to slide 4 to introduce the essential questions and then to slide 5 to introduce the lesson objectives.

Go to slide 6. If you have a copy of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, read students the Marjory Stoneman Douglas excerpt (pages 42-43). If you do not have access to that book, show students the video The Everglades River of Grass on slide 7.


45 Minute(s)

Go to slide 8. Use the TIP Chart strategy to allow students to organize organisms and their threats. Provide the TIP Chart handout (virtual or hardcopy) to each student. Students will research organisms that live in the Florida Everglades. Assign each student the task of finding five (5) plants and five (5) animals that live in the Everglades. Students can use bullet points, drawings, etc. to document their knowledge.

Instruct students to write the name of each plant and animal in the "Term" column. In the "Information" column, have students describe each organism and its adaptations to thrive in the everglades. Assign students to either paste a picture or draw a sketch of each plant and animal in the “Picture” column.

Go to slide 9. Once students have completed their TIP Chart, have them add one (1) plant and one (1) animal organism from their individual lists to a master classroom list. Ask students to answer the following questions to debrief.

  • What are some of the common adaptations of organisms in the Everglades?

  • What would happen if the everglades no longer had water?

  • How would the loss of one plant species, such as seagrass, affect other organisms?


45 Minute(s)

Go to slide 10. Hand out the "Bison are Back" article or provide the link for students to access the article. Group students and have them use the Jigsaw strategy to read a portion of the article and share out what they learned.

Have a quick discussion with students after the Jigsaw strategy and before moving to the Extend activity. Discussion topics could include:

  • How organisms are adapted to their environment.

  • How a change in an ecosystem creates a chain reaction of changes.

  • Other types of Ecosystems and the organisms that live there.

  • Human impact and our responsibility as conservationists.


45 Minute(s)

Go to slide 11. Have students return to their partners to discuss the new things that they have learned. Together, students should decide how Marjory Stoneman Douglas fought for the everglades. Ask students to think about how they could champion a local ecosystem like Marjory Stoneman Douglas did for the everglades.

Go to slide 12. Students research a local ecosystem and the ways that the ecosystem is being threatened. Instruct students to create a public service announcement (PSA) examining the dangers of harming an ecosystem and the steps they recommend to help the ecosystem. Tell students in advance that their individual PSA projects will be posted around the room for a Gallery Walk / Carousel.


15 Minute(s)

Go to slide 13. Instruct students to set up their PSA projects around the room. Have students participate in a Gallery Walk / Carousel to see classmates’ projects. When students have reviewed all of their classmates’ projects, have them use the POMS: Point of Most Significance strategy and write down the most significant thing they can do to champion an ecosystem.