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Environmental Science Lesson Plans (19 results)

As humans we are part of the environment. With over 7.5 billion of us on Earth, our combined actions also have a big impact on the environment. As long as we are aware of the impact, we can do things as individuals, and working together as groups, to lessen the detrimental impact of billions of people. Explore important topics like air quality, water quality, the effects of climate change, and many others to make informed decisions about caring for our planet.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Global warming, pollution, and deforestation are just a few examples of how human actions affect our planet. How can we reduce our impact on the environment? In this lesson, students will find out by using an online tool called Your Plan, Your Planet. Based on their findings, students will come up with their own action plans aimed at reducing their personal ecological footprint and assess its effectiveness after implementation. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th
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How do our everyday actions contribute to our ecological footprint? Can we change our individual actions to be more environmentally friendly and create a more sustainable lifestyle? In this lesson, students will evaluate their own environmental impact using an online tool called Your Plan, Your Planet, and evaluate simple ways to reduce their ecological footprint as an individual or community. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Earth is a planet full of water. 70% of its surface is covered with water in oceans, lakes, rivers, and more. Water on our planet can also be found in the atmosphere and underground. In this lesson, students will explore how water is continually cycled among land, the oceans, and the atmosphere. As students build a physical model of the water cycle, they will be able to simulate and observe evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and other water cycle processes in real-time. Remote… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Forests are the green lung of the Earth and home to millions of different plant, fungi, animal, and bacteria species. Unfortunately, today many forests are threatened by deforestation, which causes significant biodiversity loss. Ongoing reforestation efforts across the world intend to counteract the effects of deforestation. As planting trees by hand does not scale well, machines on the ground, as well as flying drones have been developed to help plant tree seedlings or seeds. In this lesson,… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.
  • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-9th
Could you describe the kelp forest food web as a system? Your students will design and use a simple model to test cause and effect relationships or interactions concerning the functioning of a marine food web, ranking their hypothetical ecosystems according to their stability when faced with a natural or man-made disturbance. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
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You might have read about the negative impacts modern human civilization has had on the environment, like pollution, deforestation, and extinction of animal species. How can we use modern technology to help protect the environment? In this project-based lesson students will design an electronic circuit that can measure something in the environment like water quality and light pollution, and develop a plan for how their circuits could be used to solve a real-world problem. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-11th
Have you ever thrown away food after a meal? Have you ever thrown away a whole piece of food? What are some of the reasons you threw away that food? During this Food Waste Audit, students will explore their own impact on our food system. Students will brainstorm solutions to reduce their food waste and be challenged to try out their solution! Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
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The problems with using fossil fuels starts with extraction. In this activity, students "mine" chocolate chips out of cookies to demonstrate the effects mining can have on habitats. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-8th
Do sea levels rise when ice melts? Does it matter whether the ice is on land or in the ocean? Students design an experiment to find out. They collect data, graph their results, and interpret their findings. Along the way, they learn about density, displacement, and climate change. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-PS1-2. Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.
  • MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Does human activity impact the environment? If so, how can we measure our impact on the environment? How can we use these measurements to change our behavior? In this project, your students will explore these questions by designing and building an electronic circuit that can measure environmental parameters like water quality or light pollution. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
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