Lesson plan

Learn About Interdependence

In this lesson, students will learn about interdependence and explore how we are all connected and part of the web of life.
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Students will learn what interdependence is and how they are all part of the web of life.

(5 minutes)
We Are All Connected: Interdependence
  • Gather students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Remind students about the circle guidelines they created: the raised hand attention signal and talking piece (every week each student rotates and brings in a talking piece that means something to them).
  • Have the student introduce the talking piece for the week.
  • Welcome each student into the circle using the talking piece (each student welcomes another student in the circle).
  • Share that today during circle time they will be learning about how we are all connected to the web of life.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students if they every heard of the term "interdependence" before.
  • Have students share their answers, and depending on what they say, offer this definition: "Interdependence is mutual dependence between things. If you study biology, you'll discover that there is a great deal of interdependence between plants and animals. 'Inter-' means 'between,' so interdependence is dependence between things."
  • Provide an example of how a giraffe and oxpecker depend on each other: Ticks and flies can hurt giraffes, but the oxpecker eats them off the giraffe.
  • In pairs, have students give examples of interdependence. Then have students share in the circle some of the examples they and their partner discussed.
  • Invite students to think about water, air (oxygen), soil, sun, and food (especially if this didn't come up in student sharing) and reflect on how they depend on these things to survive and interdependent relationships.
(15 minutes)
  • Share the following quote from Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh: "If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this piece of paper. Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud."
  • Give students some time to think. Have them first share what they think the quote means with a partner (remind students about how we mindfully listen), then have them make connections to interdependence.
  • Have students share what they and their partner discussed.
  • Guide students to also think about how they depend on each other in their classroom community and what interdependence can mean in their class. For example, during group work, how do they practise interdependence?
(10 minutes)
  • Have the students remain in a circle and complete the We Are All Connected worksheet.
  • Enrichment: Advanced students will have more descriptive answers to the worksheet.
  • Support: Struggling students may need to be paired with the teacher or teacher’s aide initially.
(5 minutes)
  • During guided practise and independent work time, look to see who is in need of support. Sit closer to them and give clues and encouragement.
  • Review what students detail in the worksheet and check in with students who need extra support.
(5 minutes)
  • Have each student share what interdependence means to them and how it makes them think about their connection to other people and the world.

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