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  • Middle School

    Earth and Human Activity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. MS-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

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


  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-ESS3-3)
  • WHST.6-8.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. (MS-ESS3-3)
  • WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research. (MS-ESS3-3)


  • 6.EE.B.6 - Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set. (MS-ESS3-3)
  • 6.RP.A.1 - Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. (MS-ESS3-3)
  • 7.EE.B.4 - Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities. (MS-ESS3-3)
  • 7.RP.A.2 - Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. (MS-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.
  • In this lesson, students place "pollution detectors" at various locations near their school capture and examine the air particles they collect to get an idea how much dust, pollen and other particulate matter is present in the air around th ...

  • In the "Cleaning the Air" activity, students use the engineering design/test/build process to create a model indoor air filter and then count and calculate the average number of particles collected. After they have tested their de ...

  • Students investigate how much greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) their family releases into the atmosphere each year and relate it to climate change. They use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Personal Emissions Calculator to estimat ...

  • This lesson introduces students to the concept of marine debris, especially as it relates to plastic bags.  Students are asked to do a research project measuring the amount of plastic bags they use at home and school and create a communications ...

  • In the Pollution Patrol lesson, students work in teams to design and build their own outdoor air pollution detectors out of everyday items. They design, refine and then test their air pollution detectors, and then see how many particulate pollutants ...

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  • In this series of games, your students will learn how different types of human activity affect the Earth’s ecosystems. The Human Impacts on Earth Systems learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement an...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the environmental strains of a growing human population, and how scientists, lawmakers, and individuals can help reduce these negative impacts. The Increasing and Decreasing Human Impacts on Ear...

  • Students will explore and understand the core question, “How will we sustainably feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 5 help students understand the factors of human sustainability including soil health (fertilizer and nutrie...

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