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Lesson Plans
Dig Into Ireland
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

The unique and extraordinary natural history of Ireland has been a source of influence and inspiration for Irish culture for thousands of years. Geology, glaciers, the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream, ancient forests and ancient civilizations have worked to create landscapes and ecosystems known for their haunting beauty, unusual wildlife and distinctive foods. In this lesson, students explore the environments and wildlife of Ireland to find out how they were formed, and how they in turn helped to form Irish culture. The students then perform online research to determine the connections between the present elements in Irish culture and wildlife and these ancient forces. They present their findings in the form of a large graphical timeline display, oral presentation and written report.

Grade Level:
Grades 9 to 12

Time Allotment:
Approximately 10 one-hour class periods

Subject Matter:
Language Arts
Social Studies

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the different environments and wildlife of Ireland and their influence on Irish culture
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ancient forces, both natural and man-made, that have influenced the environment and culture of Ireland
  • Trace the connections between elements of Irish ecology and culture
  • Create a display which outlines and exhibits these connections
  • Write a paper explaining the connections


McREL Science: Earth and Space Sciences
Standard 1, Level IV, Benchmark 1 Subject=2&Standard=1&Level=4&Benchmark=1
Knows how winds and ocean currents are produced on the Earth's surface (e.g., effects of unequal heating of the Earth's land masses, oceans, and air by the Sun; effects of gravitational forces acting on layers of different temperatures and densities in the oceans and air; effects of the rotation of the Earth)

McREL Science: Life Sciences
Standard 6, Level IV, Benchmark 1 Subject=2&Standard=6&Level=4&Benchmark=1
Knows how the interrelationships and interdependencies among organisms generate stable ecosystems that fluctuate around a state of rough equilibrium for hundreds or thousands of years (e.g., growth of a population is held in check by environmental factors such as depletion of food or nesting sites, increased loss due to larger numbers of predators or parasites)

McREL Language Arts: Writing
Standard 1, Level IV, Benchmark 2 Subject=7&Standard=1&Level=4
Drafting and Revising: Uses a variety of strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., highlights individual voice; rethinks content, organization, and style; checks accuracy and depth of information; redrafts for readability and needs of readers; reviews writing to ensure that content and linguistic structures are consistent with purpose)

Standard 4, Level IV, Benchmark 3 SubjectID=7&StandardID=4
Uses a variety of primary sources to gather information for research topics

McREL Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning
Standard 3, Level IV, Benchmark 1 Subject=21&Standard=3&Level=3
Uses a comparison table to compare multiple items on multiple abstract characteristics

This lesson was prepared by: George Rosa.