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  • High School

    Earth and Human Activity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity. HS-ESS3-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

Mathematics

  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-ESS3-3)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-ESS3-3)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • Energy issues are an important factor in the functioning of our economy and infrastructure. Therefore, students need to understand issues connected with increasing consumption of energy and differences in consumption rates between geographic regions. ...

  •   In this activity, students try to answer the question, "How do the locations of the world's fisheries relate to levels of human population and seafood consumption?" The first part of the activity has students identify impo ...

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service created this activity exploring Rachel Carson and her role as an activist for the resource management and conservation. Students read a Rachel Carson fact sheet and her "Conservation in Action" book. The lin ...

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  • Students will explore and understand the core question, “How will we sustainably feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” These 6 lessons can be used in full or in part to help students understand the factors of human sustainability including soil he...

  • This activity identifies and explains the benefits of and threats to coral reef systems. Students read tutorials, describe the role of satellites, analyze oceanographic data and identify actions that can be undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats t...

  • This multi-week project begins with a measurement of baseline consumptive behavior followed by three weeks of working to reduce the use of water, energy, high-impact foods, and other materials. The assignment uses an Excel spreadsheet that calculates...

  • Students explore their own Ecological Footprint in the context of how many Earths it would take if everyone used the same amount of resources they did. They compare this to the Ecological Footprint of individuals in other parts of the world and to t...

  • Students investigate how much greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) their family releases into the atmosphere each year and relate it to climate change. To address this, students use the Environmental Protection Agency Personal Emissions Calcul...

  • This activity describes the flow of carbon in the environment and focuses on how much carbon is stored in trees. It goes on to have students analyze data and make calculations about the amount of carbon stored in a set of trees at three sites in a w...

  • This online calculator converts from one energy unit to another - from gallons to British thermal units (Btu), kilowatt/hours to megajoules, short tons to metric tons.

  • In this role-play activity, students take the roles of various important players in the climate change policy negotiation including politicians, scientists, environmentalists, and industry representatives. Working in these roles, students must take a...

  • This lesson plan has students working in small groups to research the Mountain Pine Beetle in Colorado and other inter-mountain Western states. Students identify the factors that control pine beetle population and research how warmer winters and decr...

  • This video highlights research conducted at Woods Hole on how heat absorbed by the ocean and changes of ocean chemistry from human activities could lead to a tipping point for marine life and ecosystems. Includes ice bath experiment that models the t...

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This video is the second of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. The video highlights the marine mammals and birds and how they depend on Arctic sea ice, as well as questions about how these animals will c...

  • This video addresses the impact of climate change on several butterfly populations. Warming temperatures lead to shifts in location of populations of butterflies or die-offs of populations unable to adapt to changing conditions or shift to new locati...

  • A short video that discusses how changing climate is affecting the population of Adélie penguins.

  • This video describes the effect of a warming climate on the tundra biome and specifically the impacts of changing climate on the Rocky Mountain Pika, a small mammal that struggles with summer heat.

  • This video provides a comprehensive introduction to the role of coral reefs, the physiology of corals, and the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on coral survival. It highlights experts from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the U...

  • This video features changes in the land, sea, and animals that are being observed by the residents of Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada — many of whom hunt, trap, and fish—because of their long-standing and intimate connection with the...

  • This animation illustrates how the hardiness zones for plants have changed between 1990 and 2006 based data from 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the continental United States.

  • This interactive shows the extent of the killing of lodgepole pine trees in western Canada. The spread of pine beetle throughout British Columbia has devastated the lodgepole pine forests there. This animation shows the spread of the beetle and the i...

  • The video addresses impact of warming temperatures on major lakes of the world with specific focus on Lake Superior and Lake Tanganyika. It discusses the science of water stratification and its impact on lake ecosystems and on human populations whos...

  • In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere ...

  • This simulation provides scenarios for exploring the principles of climate dynamics from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Interconnections among climate issues, public stakeholders, and the governance spheres are investigated through creative simula...

  • This is the first of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. This introduction to the impacts of climate change in Alaska includes interviews with Alaska Natives, commentary by scientists, and footage from Al...

  • This video clip highlights the effort on by a group of young students to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in the city of Santa Monica. The video documents the effort and provides visual testimony of the effects that trash and specifically plastic...

  • This activity addresses climate change impacts that affect all states that are part of the Colorado River Basin and are dependent on its water. Students examine available data, the possible consequences of changes to various user groups, and suggest ...

  • These slide sets (one for the Eastern US and one for the Western US) describe how citizen observations can document the impact of climate change on plants and animals. They introduce the topic of phenology and data collection, the impact of climate c...

  • Coral Reefs in Hot Water is a short video displaying computerized data collected on the number of reefs impacted by coral bleaching around the world.

  • This activity is a learning game in which student teams are each assigned a different energy source. Working cooperatively, students use their reading, brainstorming, and organizational skills to hide the identity of their team’s energy source whil...

  • This is a National Geographic short video that briefly describes how succulent plants in the South African Karoo biome are dying off due to changes in climate.

  • This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how wa...

  • A short video on how changing climate is impacting the ecosystem and thereby impacting traditional lifestyles of the Athabaskan people of Alaska.

  • This map shows how much electrical power is produced from wind in each state from 1999 through 2010. The animation shows a general increase in the amount of wind power produced per state and the number of states producing it.

  • This video on phenology of plants and bees discusses the MODIS satellite finding that springtime greening is happening one half-day earlier each year and correlates this to bee pollination field studies.

  • This interactive visualization provides a clear, well-documented snapshot of current and projected values of several climate variables for local areas in California. The climate variables include observed and projected temperatures, projected snowpa...

  • This audio slideshow examines the changes in the ecosystem that will occur to the Arctic due to increasing temperatures and disappearing sea ice.

  • This video focuses on the science of climate change and its impacts on wildlife on land and in the sea, and their habitats in the U.S. There are short sections on walruses, coral reefs, migrating birds and their breeding grounds, freshwater fish, bee...

  • In this video, the mountain pine beetle problem is explained by two scientists. Their research investigates the beetle and how climate change is hastening its spread.

  • This video looks at the impact of changing climate on animal habitats around the world, showing how different creatures are responding to changing temperatures and precipitation patterns.

  • This video describes the work of scientists who are studying the precise combination of trees that would be most effective in reducing the level of greenhouse gases in the air around Syracuse, NY. This is a pilot study that will serve as a model for ...

  • This is a photo essay linked to a New York Times story about climate-related stressors on forests -- including mountain pine beetles, forest fires, forest clearance, and ice storms -- and the importance of protecting forests as an important carbon si...

  • This narrated slide show gives a brief overview of coral biology and how coral reefs are in danger from pollution, ocean temperature change, ocean acidification, and climate change. In addition, scientists discuss how taking cores from corals yields...

  • In this video, students learn that the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was not the sole cause of the decline of species in the local ecosystem. Rather, an explanation is posited for why some animal populations were already in decline when th...

  • In this video segment, two students discuss the greenhouse effect and visit with research scientists at Biosphere 2 in Arizona, who research the effects of global climate change on organisms in a controlled facility. Their current research (as of 200...

  • This video segment depicts how climate change is impacting the migration of Canada's barren-ground caribou. Changes in the plant community and tree lines will change the prime habitat for some herds of caribou. Caribou are faced with adapting to thes...

  • This video documents the scope of changes in the Arctic, focusing on the impacts of warming and climate change on the indigenous Inuit population.

  • In this video, students learn how scientific surveys of wildlife are performed at a site in Yosemite, California. These surveys, in conjunction with studies from the early 1900s, provide evidence that animal populations in Yosemite have shifted over ...

  • In this short video segment Native Americans talk about climate change and how it impacts their lives as they experience unexpected changes in environmental conditions. They describe observed changes in seasonality, how these changes affect ecosystem...

  • This video profiles the Arctic Inuit community of Sachs Harbour and its collaboration with scientists studying climate change. Changes in the land, sea, and animals are readily apparent to the residents of Sachs Harbour—many of whom hunt, trap, and...

  • This video features CU Boulder Professor Jeff Mitton and his research team, who study the effects of mountain pine beetle infestations on the forest ecology in the Rocky Mountains. They explain the pine beetle life cycle and how they attack trees. A...

  • This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

  • In this video, scientist Dr. Susan Prichard discusses the impact of pine bark beetles on western forests. She explains how climate change, specifically rising temperatures, is exacerbating the problem.

  • This video from ClimateCentral looks at the way climate conditions can affect vegetation in the West, and what influence this has on wildfires. Drought and rainfall can have very different wildfire outcomes, depending on vegetation type, extent, and ...

  • In this video, NOAA’s Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, recaps the temperature and precipitation data for the continental US in summer 2012. It describes how these conditions have led to drou...

  • This beautifully filmed and produced video describes the changes that global warming is already bringing to Northern Canada and Greenland. Local people describe changes to ecosystems, impacts on culture and life styles, and the challenges of melting ...

  • This video segment features subsistence fishing and harvesting in the Northwestern US. The segment was adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.

  • In this video segment, adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham Washington, Native American elders discuss the impact of climate change on salmon populations and the importance of restoring balance in the natura...

  • This video presents predictions and solutions for range shifts (wildlife corridors) by an iconic species of North American wilderness: the wolverine.

  • This video illustrates how one community developed and implemented a sustainable solution to help keep stream water cool enough for healthy fish. Their solution has the added benefit of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • This video shows 15 years of data obtained via Polar-orbiting satellites that are able to detect subtle differences in ocean color, allowing scientists to see where there are higher concentrations of phytoplankton - a proxy for the concentration of c...

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    This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the ...

  • In this activity, students learn about the energy sources used by their local utility provider to generate electricity, and work in small groups to evaluate the sustainability of either a renewable or non-renewable energy source used to generate elec...

  • Global Forest Watch is an interactive, online forest monitoring and alert system that provides users globally with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

  • This activity relates water temperature to fishery health within inland freshwater watersheds as a way to explore how environmental factors of an ecosystem affect the organisms that use those ecosystems as important habitat.

  • This video highlights specific climate change-related phenomena that are threatening the flora and fauna of Yellowstone National Park.

  • In this activity, students investigate soil erosion and how a changing climate could influence erosion rates in agricultural areas. This activity is part of a larger InTeGrate module called Growing Concern.

  • In this activity, students assess individual and national opinions on climate change and explore strategies that communities are employing to adapt to aspects of climate change already affecting them in addition to those likely to affect them in the ...

  • In this activity, students investigate the impacts of changing climatic conditions on human health and consider the benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation to human health.

  • This 10-question quiz covers some of the major impacts to human health caused by climate change.

  • This video uses Bangladesh as a case study by describing climate change adaptation strategies being implemented in Bangladeshi communities as well as in other countries.

  • This video documents the effects of increasing global temperatures on biodiversity (changes in distribution, range, and numbers) and human populations. Adaptations to climate change are also outlined.

  • This video, one in a series of Global Weirding videos featuring Texas climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, attempts to dispel the misconception that Texans don't care about climate change.

  • This 20-minute video, produced by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, describes adaptation strategies undertaken by several groups and nations in response to rising sea level and other aspects of climate change.

  • This video segment examines the issue of climate change from the perspective of Native Americans. The video segment was adapted from a student video produced at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.