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  • Middle School

    Earth and Human Activity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems. MS-ESS3-4

    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

ELA/Literacy

  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-ESS3-4)
  • WHST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-ESS3-4)

Mathematics

  • 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-ESS3-4)
  • 6.RP.A.1 - Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. (MS-ESS3-4)
  • 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-ESS3-4)
  • 7.RP.A.2 - Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. (MS-ESS3-4)

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 Watch Your Step, students calculate their own ecological footprint as a measure of the impact of their lifestyle on Earth’s resources. The answers are provided in global hectares and acres and the number of Earths needed to support that life ...

  • Where’s the Water? is the introductory activity to a series of classroom labs designed to study drought. This activity consists of three sections. In Part A, students use cartograms from Worldmapper.org to compare worldwide water consumption to ...

  • The Middle School unit entitled Climate Change and Michigan Forests consists of 10 lessons on climate change and the local environment in Michigan based on forest ecology research conducted at the University of Michigan. The lessons can be adapted to ...

  • Next Generation Climate contains six lessons on climate change for middle school students. In the curriculum, the students investigate causes of global temperature change, research the major repercussions of climate change, and find out how they can ...

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  • 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...

  • This is a collection of lessons produced for the NOAA Teacher @ Sea Program. The unit can be reached by visiting the following website: https://sites.google.com/lafayetteschools.org/damidon-teacher-at-sea/home

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are presented with a guide to rain garden construction in an activity that culminates the unit and pulls together what they have learned and prepared in materials during the three previous associated activities. They ...

  • This board game, designed for middle school students, introduces the concepts of energy use in our lives and the real impact that personal choices can have on our energy consumption, energy bills, and fuel supply.

  • This activity engages students in learning about ways to become energy efficient consumers. Students examine how different countries and regions around the world use energy over time, as reflected in night light levels. They then track their own en...

  • In this classroom activity, students measure the energy use of various appliances and electronics and calculate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is released to produce that energy.

  • Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their project...

  • 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...

  • In this interactive simulation, students can explore global CO2 emissions displayed by different continents/countries and plotted based on the GDP. A map view is also accessible.

  • This short video shows how humanity uses energy today; what sources we use; and why, in the future, a growing global population will require more energy.

  • 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 segment explores whether, in principle, renewable energy resources could meet today's global energy needs of about 15.7 terawatts.

  • In this activity, students construct a Global Warming Wheel Card, a hand-held tool that they can use to estimate their household's emissions of carbon dioxide and learn how they can reduce them. One side of the wheel illustrates how much carbon diox...

  • In this video from Young Voices for the Planet, four middle-school girls (The Green Team) talk about their efforts to work with their peers to reduce the carbon footprint of their school and how they made the school more energy efficient.

  • 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 is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over th...

  • 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 animation illustrates how heat energy from deep in Earth can be utilized to generate electricity at a large scale.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • This video describes how field research -- in this case, making water measurements in rugged mountain locations -- helps us to understand the complex relationships among changing climate, populations, and water usage.

  • In this activity, students explore energy production and consumption by contrasting regional energy production in five different US regions.

  • In this activity, students conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.

  • 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...

  • In this lesson, students examine and interpret varied observational datasets and are asked to determine whether the data supports or does not support the statement: climate change is occurring in Colorado.

  • 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 sequence of activities using real-world data to explain the importance of coral reefs and the relationship of coral reef health to the surrounding environment. Unit includes five activities.

  • This interactive visualization provides information in text, graphic, and video format about renewable energy technologies. Resource in the Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, part of EPA Climate Change Division.

  • This visualization is an animation showing the distribution of black carbon and sulfate aerosols in the Earth's atmosphere from 01/31/2007 to 02/04/2007 and clearly shows larger amounts of aerosols and black carbon in the atmosphere above heavily pop...

  • In this multi-part activity, students distinguish between adaptation and mitigation, in response to climate change, and research and discuss/debate strategies to minimize the effects of climate change.

  • In this activity, students explore factors that have caused the rise in global temperature over the last century. Educators have the opportunity to assess how modeling activities (the game), analogies (the cake), and mathematical models (graphs) dev...

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers. Part 1 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers II. Part 2 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers III. Part 3 of a 3-part set for the series.

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