Skip to main content

Conservation Inside the Classroom and Beyond

Innovation in Teaching Competition: Melanie Hartfield from Unity Grove Elementary School

Grade Level

Fifth Grade

Content Area/Instructional Strategy


This integrated unit challenges students to think critically about environmental conservation while applying English language arts, science, and social studies standards. Students learn about habitats, community development, and environmental agencies and their roles in influencing conservation efforts and the environment. Additionally, students conduct experiments on plant life to understand and observe various influences on natural habitats. With the help of community members, students conclude the unit with a 24-hour BioBlitz and collect data on and classify all of the animals and plants around the school. Students capture their findings with iPads and other devices and create an eBook for the school.

Standards Addressed

English Language Arts:
ELA.5.RI.7, ELA.5.W.4, ELA.5.W.5, ELA.5.W.7, ELA.5.SL.1, ELA.5.SL.5, ELA.5.L.1, ELA.5.L.3
S.5.CS.1, S.5.CS.2, S.5.CS.3, S.5.L.1, S.5.L.4, S.5.E.1
Social Sciences:

About the Teacher

Melanie Hartfield
Unity Grove Elementary
Henry County Schools

Melanie Hartfield is currently a 5th grade teacher at Unity Grove Elementary in Locust Grove, GA. Ms. Hartfield received her Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Science from University of North Dakota, her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from University of Southern Mississippi, and her Master of Education in Early Child Education from Piedmont College. She currently serves as the Special Education Grade Level Chairperson at her school. Melanie’s best piece of teaching advice is to set your standards high, encourage your students, and let them know you care. Allow students to use their personal strengths and assist them with growing in the areas where they are weakest.