"If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the
Lorax (themes are conservation, and dangers of greed and valuing
things over people) weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong; the irresponsible
ambitious Once-ler builds a huge, thriving business at the expense of
Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them.
Published in 1971, Dr. Seuss
sought to shame the current generation and challenge the next generation by
demonstrating the pitfalls of progress.
Go green with the
written by Dr. Seuss in 1971, focuses on environmentalism and the consequences
of increasing industrialization. Published the same year as the founding of
green peace, this children’s story marks the beginning of the environmental
movement. Using colorful and animated characters, Seuss personifies big
industry in an entrepreneur, the Once-ler, and the stereotypical
environmentalist in the Lorax. The Lorax is a mysterious character who attempts
to protect animals’ habitats from the Once-ler's destructive and greedy
actions. The message Seuss portrays about the detrimental effects of
environmental apathy is one that resounds strongly still in today’s world with
the ever looming prospects of global warming.
Students will discuss the
symbolism of both main characters
Students will analyze the
environmentalist theme of the story
Students will discuss parallels
from the story to their own society
Students will search for
potential solutions to the growing problem of pollution and climate change
1. Hand out copies of the book and have
the students read it in a read aloud so many students get a chance to read.
Start a class discussion with open
ended questions such as:
a. Was it fair for the Once-ler to destroy
natural habitats for his business?
b. Could the Once-ler have kept his business
going without cutting down every Truffula Tree?
c. Do people destroy natural habitats in your
city, state, or country? Where does it happen?
d. Does destroying other animals’ habitats
3. Transition into a class activity by
dividing the class into groups of four.
4. Give each group ten plastic cups and tell
them to stack the cups in a pyramid shape.
5. Next instruct each group to choose one cup
from the bottom row and try to remove it without knocking any of the others
down. When the pyramid collapses tell them to try it again but choosing a
different of the four bottom cups.
Lead a class discussion based on the
observation that removing one cup automatically affects the entire pyramid.
Prompt the class to find the connection between the pyramids’ dependence on
every one of its cups, to an ecosystem, where every change in some way affects
the whole ecosystem. Discuss the effects of specific man made changes, big and
small, to the environment as a whole.
follow up activities
1. Divide the class into groups and assign
each group a section of the story to act out for the class (e.g. the section
describing the land before the Once-ler came, the scene where the Lorax appears
in the story, when the different animals are forced to leave their homes). At
the end, have the class discuss possible ways the Once-ler could have continued
his business without damaging the environment as much. (This Activity is geared
towards an older age group and would be an alternative to the cup stacking for 4th,
5th, and 6th graders)
2. You may also choose to show the animated
movie “The Lorax.”
For more information
please call us or write to