188.8.131.52 Humans Change Environments
Give examples of beneficial and harmful human interaction with natural systems.
For example: Recreation, pollution, or wildlife management.
MN Standard in lay terms:
Students will understand that humans interact with the environment in both positive and negative way benefiting or harming themselves and other organisms.
Big Idea- Students have a natural curiosity about the environment, they should understand the potential positive and/or negative human interaction with environmental systems. Additionally students should have an understanding of their personal impact on the environment.
"This sense of wonder at the rich diversity and complexity of life is easily fostered in children. They spontaneously respond to nature. However, attempts to give them explanations for that diversity before they are able to handle the abstractions, or before they see the need for explanations, can dampen their natural curiosity. Nevertheless, the explanations must come, for scientists not only revel in nature but try to understand it. The challenge for educators is to capitalize on the interest that students have in living things while moving them gradually toward ideas that make sense out of nature. Familiarity with the phenomena should precede their explanation, and attention to the concrete object should precede abstract theory." From Benchmarks for science literacy
- NSES Standards:
Content Standard C Life Science Organisms and their environments
An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment. When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.
Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
- AAAS Atlas:
Grade range 3-5 Changes in an organism's habitat are sometimes beneficial to it and sometimes harmful. 5D/E4
Grade range 6-8 Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms. 4C/M7
- Benchmarks of Science Literacy
Interdependence of Living Things:
Organisms interact with one another in various ways besides providing food. 5D/E3a
Changes in an organism's habitat are sometimes beneficial to it and sometimes harmful. 5D/E4
Human beings are part of the earth's ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems. 5D/H3
Framework for K-12 Science Education
Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environments. For example, they are treating sewage, reducing the amounts of materials they use, and regulating sources of pollution such as emissions form factories and power plants or the runoff from agricultural activities. 5ESS3.C
Common Core Standards (i.e. connections with Math, Social Studies or Language Arts Standards):
This standard has many opportunities to connect to the new MN Academic Standards: English Language Arts
5.2.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. For example, students will read text and need to respond to it either written or verbally.
5.2.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
5.2.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5.2.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. Students will use graphs, charts, tables to understand and compare results.
5.2.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and information texts independently and proficiently.
5.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
5.6.7 Conduct short as well a more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. For exam[le, studnets could research a topic related to the subject matter.
5.6.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoicing plagiarism.
5.6.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single setting or a day or two) for a range or tasks, purposes, and audiences. Science notebooks would provide the opportunity to meet this standard.
5.8.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively and orally. During science digital media such as webquests, videos are used to help explain a concept, students also are presented with information orally and through experiments in which quantitative data is used to make a point.
5.8.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations. when students present information they should utilize tools such as prezi, powerpoint or other visual aids to help the audience connect and understand their information.
fifth grade math standards:
5.2.1.Recognize and represent patterns of change; use patterns, tables, graphs and rules to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
5.4.1 Display and interpret data; determine mean, median and range.
184.108.40.206 Create and analyze double-bar graphs and line graphs by applying understanding of whole numbers, fractions and decimals. Know how to create spreadsheet tables and graphs to display data.
Lower elementary-school students can understand simple food links involving two organisms. Yet they often think of organisms as independent of each other but dependent on people to supply them with food and shelter. Upper elementary-school students may not believe food is a scarce resource in ecosystems, thinking that organisms can change their food at will according to the availability of particular sources.  Students of all ages think that some populations of organisms are numerous in order to fulfill a demand for food by another population.  From NSDL Research on Student Learning
 Leach, J., Driver, R., Scott, P., Wood-Robinson, C. (1992). Progression in understanding of ecological concepts by pupils aged 5 to 16.
 Leach, J., Driver, R., Scott, P., Wood-Robinson, C. (1992). Progression in understanding of ecological concepts by pupils aged 5 to 16.
Elementary and middle school students may have a preliminary understating of environmental systems, but often don't see humans as a part of that system. Elementary school students have difficulty grasping concepts around limited or non-renewable resources, things like clean water and oil are unlimited in the eyes of many elementary school students.
Aquatic Ecosystems (this vignette lends itself to cohesion with 4th grade standards, it is vertically aligned to the physical science standards about water and human impact on environments)
Mrs. Macro is excited to get her class learning about their local environment, the class takes a walking field trip three blocks away to Lake Edgewood in the center of town. Mrs. Macro asks students to open their science notebooks and draw a line down the center of the page. On the top of one side write- observations of nature on the other side write observations of human interaction, students begin to make lists of their observations, Mrs. Macro walks around talking with students, she challenges them to us more then just their sense of sight, "What do you hear? What do you smell?" When Megan asks" Mrs. Macro- "are the ducks nature? I see that people are feeding them so maybe they would not even be here if it weren't for human interactions, Mrs. Macro responds- "I'm noticing you're an accurate observer Megan, just write what you think we can discuss it later in class. "What about the golf course? Diego asks, "its like beautiful nature that people made- is that still nature? Just write what you think Diego- responds Mrs. Macro.
Later that day Mrs. M led the class in a discussion of their observations, some interactions were easy to see like the golf course, others like a house along the lake where the grass and plants were all over grown didn't look like much- Mrs. Macro wondered allowed if that overgrowth was intentional? Students also noticed rain gardens, butterfly gardens, docks with boats and some people fishing from shore. Students work in groups of three to classify the human interactions as beneficial or harmful to the environment. There is some heated debate about the golf course, some students agree with Diego that it is beautiful and helps people get exercise so it's a good thing, but Molly has overheard her parents talk about fertilizer and pesticides that come from the golf course and pollute the lake. Mrs. M's class generates bunch of questions to investigate further:
- What animals need the lake to live?
- What types of plants can they find around the lake?
- What type of fish are in the lake- are there any other living organisms in the lake?
- Is there a way to test how healthy the lake is?
- Can you test for fertilizer or other pollution?
The next day students begin a research project collecting answers to their questions, by looking for resources in the media center, on line and emailing some local experts.
Mrs. Macro is happy to introduce the class to Matt Strider- an aquatic biologist form the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Strider talks with the students about his macroinvertebrate studies and how he can determine the health of a lake by the numbers and types of Macroinvertibrates that can be found. Matt explains to the students that macroinvertibrates are small animals that have no backbone but are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. The class decides to conduct a macroinvertibrate study of Lake Edgewood to determine how healthy it is.
The next day students go out to the lake and collect samples of the aquatic substrate. Mr. Strider and Mrs. Macro help the students to identify and count the different macroinvertibrates they find. Students keep accurate numbers of the class data in their science notebook using a data table and tally marks. The students work with Mr. Strider to compare what they found to a local index of biological diversity for area lakes and learn that their lake is very healthy. Mr. Strider explained how things like the rain gardens, and the buffer zones along the shore are human interactions that help keep the lake healthy. He even shares about how the golf course uses special low nitrate fertilizer and buffer zones along the shore so that it does not damage the lake.
The next day as part of a technology activity Mrs. Macro has students create graphs of their macroinvertibrate data on the computer.
As a culminating activity Mrs. Strider asks the students to create a mind map in their science notebook of everything they learned about the lake. As an assessment she asks them to reflect on what they learned about the lake and answer two questions in their science notebooks:
1. What are some things people might do that would negatively impact the health of our Lake?
2. What are the things people do to keep our lake so healthy?
As Mrs. Macro looks at the mind maps and reads the student responses she is very pleased with her student's work.
The center for innovation in engineering and science education hosts a project called bucket buddies, this program allows classrooms from around the globe to compare the health of aquatic ecosystems.
Science Netlinks: Pond Life 1: a look at aquatic ecosystems, in this activity students will investigate familiar and unfamiliar ecosystems using Internet resources; to explore how various organisms satisfy their needs within their environments; to study the kinds of relationships that exist between organisms within an environment. This activity would allow the teacher to tie in how humans interact with these systems in both positive and negative ways.
Science Netlinks: Pond Life 2: Life in a Drop of Pond Water, a continuation of the Pond Life one activity. This activity will allow students to investigate the living creatures in a drop of pond water under magnification.
Science NetLinks Introducing Biodiversity: In this lesson, biodiversity is introduced by having students identify and talk about what they know about the various habitats around them, including the amazing variety of life. Using online resources, they identify the basic components necessary for biodiversity, the critical and countless benefits of habitats, as well as the serious present and future threats to their ongoing existence.
A common activity demonstrating human interaction with the environment is bird feeding, Teachers could place a bird feeding station near a window and assign students to the duty of recording what they see in a class science notebook. A resources for this activity is the Cornell lab of Ornithology; either Project FeederWatch or Celebrate Urban Birds .
An old NSTA article on the topic: Whitin, David J. and Phyllis E. Whitin. "Inquiry at the Window: The Year of the Birds." Language Arts 73.2 (February 1996): 82-87. this article is a strong link between this standard and the practice of science: Inquiry standard for 5th grade
add activity about school yard butterfly garden here
Teachers should allow opportunities for authentic inquiry related to their school environment. examples could include things as simple as how have humans affected the school yard environment , how would the addition of bird feeders change our environment? or as complex as designing and constructing a school yard butterfly garden. If the environment is appropriate teachers should look for more complex connections for students such as a lake or pond study, or even constructing a rain garden.
Best practice would include connecting with local DNR agents or park naturalists so that teacher and student can have exposure to expert content.
Teachers should not use videos as a primary sources to teach this content, it supports the misconception that the environment is something "out there" and not where we live. even urban environments are ecosystems.
Science notebooking is a way to teach students how to record data in a clear and precise way. The students will take ownership in their work and be able to share their data with others. It also allows an experiment to be retested based on the information that the student recorded.
Science notebook presentation, how to set up a science notebook Interactive Science Notebook How to Set up a Science Notebook
Additional resources or links
Project Learning Tree (PLT) Correlations to Academic Standards: As one of the country's premiere environmental education programs, PLT consists of activities that address natural and social systems and encompass a wide spectrum of topics and disciplines. Lessons ranges from a class period to semester-long projects.
Project Wet Curriculum Guide: Council For Environmental Education, . (1995). Project wet. Bozeman, MT: The Water Course and the Council for Environmental Education.
Project Wild: Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife. Designed for educators of kindergarten through twelfth grade, Wild capitalizes on the natural interest that children and adults have in wildlife by providing hands-on activities.
MN Conservation Volunteer A reader supported magazine advocating conservation and careful use of Minnesota's natural Resource. Classroom copies are available to teachers free of charge.
MN Department of Natural Resources Non-game wildlife: Natural Resource Education: DNR Education Resources
BrainPop movies that address Benchmark 220.127.116.11
BrainPOP Greenhouse Effect
BrainPOP Humans and the Environment
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- Ecosystem- a system formed by the interaction of A community of organisms with each other and their environment.
- Beneficial- helpful in the meeting of needs, advantageous
- Harmful- causing or tending to cause harm
- Organism- a form of life that is an independent entity; an animal, a plant or fungus
- Natural Resource- something such as a forest, a mineral deposit, a river or water source that is found in nature and is necessary or useful to humans
- Renewable resource- any natural resource that can replenish itself naturally over time, such as wood or solar energy.
- Nonrenewable resource- any natural resource that exists in limited supply and can not be replaced if it is used up,such as oil or coal
- Interact- to act on or in close relation with each other
- Influence- the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others
Project FeederWatch is a good technology connection, Educator Resources for Project FeederWatch: Project FeederWatch can help engage children in the excitement of nature study and the wonder of scientific investigation by:
encouraging careful observation and note-taking
stimulating children to ask questions about the natural world
encouraging independent study
providing opportunities for meaningful Internet use and exploration
MN DNR- Healthy Rivers-A Water Course Healthy Rivers: A Water Course is a captivating online (new!) or CD-ROM program to understand the ecology, management, and stewardship of river and stream systems. The Healthy Rivers program explains natural structure and function of river systems using a five-component framework of flow, shape, connections, quality, and life. Six case studies examine the history of river use and provide a basis for a future vision of water resource management. A section explores the true value of river system goods and services, which leads to inspiring examples of local leaders and practical, action-oriented ideas for next steps that each of us can take toward healthier water resources. Healthy Rivers, A Water Course
Smart Notebook lessons. Living Things Change Their Environment [SMART Notebook lesson]
This is a highly interactive lesson on how living things change their environment and the effects these changes have on other living things. This lesson also presents ways that we can preserve and protect our environment. This lesson is filled with lots of information, games, and links to online activities.
Search terms: environment, Earth Day, ecology
Science NetLinks teacher resource Lesson: Jean Craighead George unsentimental naturalist Literacy and science connection teachers could host a book club Author and naturalist Jean Craighead George has written more than 100 books. Her book Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain, would be very appropriate to this topic. As students begin to think about their connection to the environment they may be attracted to the topics of animal behavior, ecology, or biology. Students may have the misconception that scientific work is done only by scientists (usually male) in a lab. But as exemplified by author Jean Craighead George, communicating the concepts of science through fiction for children is an option for those interested in writing, language, and teaching, as well as science. In fact, many scientists were inspired to pursue a career in science by the fiction they read as children or young adults.
in Minnesota teachers should look for current event information related to natural resource management and recreation, these resources are plentiful in the outdoor section of most local and state newspapers. Everyday stories tied to their surrounding community will provide great examples for teachers and students about positive and negative interaction with wildlife and the environment.
Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: Where Does Oil Come From? (V4, p.151) (Level 3)The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students' ideas about an important fossil fuel used by humans.
1. Explain how fertilizing the lawn might affect your communities water supply? (level 1 recall)
a. fertilizer can add many unnecessary chemicals or contaminants to the local water supply
2. Identify 3 ways that our school is harmful to the environment and make a list of ways to change these harmful effects- (level 2)
a. Students may recognize such things as landscaping, salting the sidewalks in winter, fertilizing and watering the green lawn areas, or the general removal of natural spaces
3. List one way that humans have a positive impact on their environment?(level 1 recall)
a. Students should be able to talk about common things like low impact landscaping, recycling, protecting wildlife and conserving land and open spaces.
5. Explain how hunting and fishing can have both positive and negative impacts on fish and wildlife?
a. Students should know that hunting and fishing is highly regulated, hunting of species such as whites tail deer helps to limit the heard size so that available land resources are sustainable for the population, this is a benefit to both humans and the deer population. Unregulated poaching like taking species out of season such as in the spring can have a negative impact on populations.
6. What measures can we take to help make a small foot print in our community and the world?
A. Students should understand common things that they are familiar with such as using less water, recycling, using less pesticides and fertilizer at their home, and helping wildlife by planting native species such as butterfly and pollinator friendly plants.
1. Teacher should have a clear understanding of how humans (as a group or society) interact with and have both positive and negative impacts on the environment
2. Teachers should be able to explain in student friendly terms how individuals can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment and thus on themselves and other organisms
3. Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: Where Does Oil Come From? (V4, p.151) The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students' ideas about an important fossil fuel used by humans,it would be equally useful for teachers to ensure they have a clear understanding about human impact and nonrenewable natural resources like coal and oil.
If observing a lesson on this standard what might they expect to see.
Students have a natural curiosity about their environment, administrators should expect to see teachers designing activities that take advantage of this. teachers should allow opportunities for authentic inquiry related to their school environment. examples could include things as simple as how have humans affected the school yard environment , how would the addition of bird feeders change our environment? or as complex as designing and constructing a school yard butterfly garden. If the environment is appropriate administrators should look for more complex connections for students such as a lake or pond study, or even constructing a rain garden. Best practice would include connecting with local DNR agents or park naturalists so that teacher and student can have exposure to expert content. teachers should not use videos as a primary sources to teach this content, it supports the misconception that the environment is something "out there" and not where we live. even urban environments are ecosystems.
Struggling and At-Risk:
Teaching Budding Scientists: Fostering Scientific Inquiry with Diverse Learners in Grades 3-5
Pamela Fraser-Abder, New York University
Teaching Budding Scientists is a call to action to teachers to guide their students on a journey to scientific literacy, while fostering their interest and participation in science. Written for educators in grades three to five, Teaching Budding Scientists assists teachers in developing, implementing, and reflecting on their science teaching and their students' science learning. As teachers complete the reflections in this book, they will explore inquiry-based science teaching that nurtures elementary students' natural curiosity in science; their deep-seated, often unconscious feelings toward science teaching and learning; and their views on who has ownership of science. To learn more about other books in theTeaching Scientists series see inside front cover.
an emphasis understanding bricks and mortar vocabulary is important for full understanding of concepts. Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like ecosystem. Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters, pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)
as in all ELL teaching an emphasis on understanding bricks and mortar vocabulary is important for full understanding of concepts. Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like ecosystem. Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters, pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)
Improving Science and Vocabulary Learning of English Language Learners
This link will bring you to a pdf that outlines some great ideas to support your ELL students.
What Should a Science Curriculum for Gifted Students Include?
Source: ERIC: Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
An Emphasis on Learning Concepts. Concepts such as systems, change, reductionism, and scale all provide an important scaffold for learning about the core ideas of science that do not change, although the specific applications taught about them may.
An Emphasis on Higher-Level Thinking. Students need to learn about important science concepts and also to manipulate those concepts in complex ways. Having students analyze the relationship between real world problems, like an acid spill on the highway, and the implications of that incident for understanding science and for seeing the connections between science and society provides opportunities for both critical and creative thinking within a problem-based episode.
An Emphasis on Inquiry, Especially Problem-Based Learning. The more that students can construct their understanding about science for themselves, the better able they will be to encounter new situations and apply appropriate scientific processes to them. (VanTassel-Baska, Gallagher, Bailey, & Sher, 1993).
An Emphasis on the Use of Technology as a Learning Tool. The use of technology to teach science offers some exciting possibilities for connecting students to real world opportunities.
An Emphasis on Learning the Scientific Process, Using Experimental Design Procedures. Such original work in science would require them to read and discuss a particular topic of interest, come up with a problem about that topic to be tested, and then follow through in a reiterative fashion with appropriate procedures, further discussion, a reanalysis of the problem, and communication of findings to a relevant audience. Planning Science Programs for High-Ability Learners
Multicultural Science Education
from St. Paul Schools Multicultural Resource Center
Educators have often overlooked cultural beliefs and perspectives in science education, however recent research emphasizes the importance of recognizing diversity in the science classroom. Recognizing diversity facilitates a more active learning experience for the student because it emphasizes understanding in terms of different perspectives rather than just learning the facts. Children are not all the same, and consequently, the way that they all do science will not be the same. Teachers must find a way to make science appealing to everyone, and multicultural education is one way to facilitate communication in all subjects between students, their teachers, and the rest of society.
Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students, 1/E Cox-Petersen, Melber & Patchen
Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students helps K-8 teachers implement culturally relevant instructional strategies to ensure that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class, can do science, like science, and become scientists if they choose.
In America's increasingly diverse classrooms, science is not always presented in a way that is meaningful to all students. With this in mind, this book outlines 8 culturally relevant strategies for teaching scienceto help ensure all students have access to inquiry-based, interactive, and experiential science learning. Written to encourage inclusive practices, the book shows how to teach science using students' experiences, how to integrate science and literacy and how to use alternative methods to assess students' understanding of science.
The following link will bring you to proven strategies that are specific to science. Supporting Special Education Students in Science
an emphasis in understanding bricks and mortar vocabulary is important for full understanding of concepts. Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like ecosystem. Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters, pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)
Parents can visit local nature centers and state parks with children, where human interaction with the environment and other living organisms will be highlighted through activities and learning stations.
PLT family activities from the Minnesota DNR