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LFS DIGITAL > Instructional Unit Topics > Social Studies Unit Topics > Human Environment Interaction  

Human Environment Interaction

LFS-DIGITAL K-U-D for Unit: Human Environment Interaction


                                                                                                 Key Learning

(What is the big understanding for this unit?  What will you ultimately want students to understand as a result of the instruction?  This is a “big picture” understanding, based both on the most critical standards and the thematic focus of the unit.)



Understanding how humans have altered and been affected by the physical environment.  . 


Unit Essential Question

(What broad question will students be able to answer as a result of the instruction? This question should reflect the most critical standards on which the instruction is based.  This question is the inverse of the Key Learning; the Key Learning would provide an “ideal” response to this question.)


How have humans altered and been affected by the physical environment?



Unit Description

(Briefly summarize the focus and content of the unit.)

Students will use their understanding of the 5 themes of geography and how they are used to organize the different aspects of geography.  During this unit we will specifically study Human Environment Interaction (HEI).  Students will be able to understand that the consumable goods we use are from natural resources, classifying them as either renewable or nonrenewable resources.  After gaining an understanding of consumable goods, and natural resources students will then apply their knowledge to understand how people use the land and in turn how land usage is dependent on culture.

Grade-Level Standards Addressed in the Unit

(List the critical grade-level standards on which the instruction will be based.  Since many of the standards are recursive, reinforced throughout the year’s instruction, list only those that will be the focus of the instruction and assessments for this unit.)



Geography Standard 2a:  Students will apply a knowledge of the major processes shaping natural environments to understand how different peoples have changed and been affected by, physical environments in the world's sub-regions






(Factual: nouns or noun phrases related to key concepts; terminology, academic vocabulary, formulas, etc., often found or implied in the language of the grade-level standards.)


(Conceptual:  key understandings that students will gain as a result of the instruction within the unit, found in the language of the grade-level standards, and generally written in complete sentences. These understandings will contribute to the overall key learning of the unit.)


(Procedural, Extending Thinking:  written as verb phrases, often found or implied in the language of the grade-level standards. These statements provide discreet targets for demonstrating learning.  Often the assessments for the learning will be selected

 from this column.)

The difference

between renewable and




The role environment has in changing culture.


The role

deforestation and

pollution play in

changing the



The global

impact of consumption

and conservation.


Everything that people

use or consume is made

with natural resources,

which are either renewable or nonrenewable.


Humans modify, adapt, and depend on their physical environment depending on their individual culture leading to a global impact.



Classify nonrenewable and renewable



Predict how culture changes when the

Environment changes.



Identify how we modify, adapt, and depend on the environment.


Trace and analyze the impact of consumption and conservation.


* Participate in a cooperative learning project in an online learning community to track how students in other schools are improving their region. (2)



Print Resources



Prentice Hall Western Hemisphere Geography textbook


Human Footprint


























































































Discovery Education Resources


Segment One: Geography of Latin America

Topics for Discussion

Segment Two: Geography of Europe and Russia

Topics for Discussion

Segment Three: Geography of Africa

Topics for Discussion

Segment Four: Geography of Asia and the Pacific

Topics for Discussion

Geography of the World: North America: Land and Resources

Three Types of Resources

Facts About Resources

Deforestation: How Human Activities Affect the Rain Forest

Why the Rain Forest is Important to People

Conservation: Efforts to Preserve the Rain Forest


The Five Themes of Geography

Human-Environment Interactions


Human Impact on the Balance of Ecosystems


Discovery Interactive Map:

Discovery Atlas Interactive Map



The English naturalist Charles Darwin.






U.S. Geography, An Overview: The Geography of America

U.S. Geography, An Overview: A Survey of the Regions & Cities

U.S. Geography, An Overview: A Tour of the Land

U.S. Geography, An Overview: A History of the People

U.S. Geography, The West: The Land & People

U.S. Geography, Alaska & Hawaii: The Land & People of Hawaii

U.S. Geography, The Southeast: Cities of the Southeast

U.S. Geography, The North Central States: Location & Physical Features

U.S. Geography, The Southeast: Location & Physical Features

U.S. Geography, The Northeast: Cities of the Northeast

U.S. Geography, The Southwest: The Land & People

U.S. Geography, The Northeast: Location & Physical Features

Open Resources


Resource 1+Deforestation in Bolivia (with WGBH), Oil Spill: Exxon Valdez (with WGBH), Snapshot of U.S. Energy Use (with WGBH); Overstepping Mother Earth's Boundaires (with WGBH and Haskell Indian Nations University), Global Warming: Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect (with WGBH), Ozone Hole (with WGBH and NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center), Solar Power (with Vegas PBS), Beconing Green Energy Experts (with WGBH and the Educational Development Center's ITEST Learning Resource Center), Off the Grid (interactive design challenge; with WGBH), Kerri-Ann Richard (profile of an environmental engineer and her work; with WGBH)
Media type: Video
Description: Various videos related to human-environment interaction, global warming, and renewable and nonrenewable resources (There are many more videos on this topic available at Teacher's Domain.)
Level: Intermediate

Credit: Teacher's Domain and others as noted above
License: custom (download and share; some permit remix)

Notes/activity suggestions: Have pairs of studetnts watch and summarize various videos and then report out to the class. See additional lesson plans and videos here.
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, deforestation, Bolivia, energy, oil spill, Exxon Valdez, Exxon, Valdez, greenhouse effect, solar, green


Resource 2: Environmental Problems
Media type: textbook
Description: A textbook chapter that discusses pollution, global warming, renewable and nonrenewable resources, biodiversity, and habitats.
Level: Advanced

Credit: Doris Kraus, CK12
License: CC BY SA 

Notes/activity suggestions:
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, pollution, global warming, renewable, nonrenewable, resources, biodiversity, habitats, alternative energy, energy, recycling, natural resources


Resource 3: Environmental Science

Media type: Online course

Description: A comprehensive course on environmental science, including units on rewable and nonrewable resources, various forms of human impact, the effects of human impact, and environmental ethics.
Level: Intermediate

Credit: Monterey Institute for Technology and Education
License: custom

Notes/activity suggestions:
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, rewable, nonrewable


Resource 4: Ecological Footprint Calculator (scroll about halfway down the page)
Media type: interactive (software)
Description: This software measures our use of nature, by calculating how much land is required to produce all of the resources we consume, and absorb all of the waste we produce.
Level: Beginning, Intermediate

Credit: Concord Consortium
License: LPGL

Notes/activity suggestions:
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, natural resources, consumption, waste, ecology, ecological footprint


Resource 5: Enclyclopedia of Earth - see Deepwater Horizon Spill, Pollution, Carbon Footprint, Environmental statistics, Sustainable development, etc.  
Media type: Text
Description: This is an electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society, written by scholars, professionals, educators, and experts. The articles are written in non-technical language and will be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well as to the general public.
Level: Intermediate

Credit: Encyclopedia of Life; see authors listed on individual articles
License: CC BY SA

Notes/activity suggestions: Information on the Deepwater Horizon Spill gives students an excellent real-world current issue to study as a part of this unit. Have students look at information from a variety of sources and talk about the role of misinformation on both sides.
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, pollution, sustainability, Deepwater Horizon, oil spill


Resource 6+: improved - Human Environment Interaction media set , generic music library

Media type: photos
Description: A variety of images including renewable and nonrenewable resources and other subjects related to consumption, conservation, etc.

Level: Beginning, Intermediate

Credit: various - right-click each file to get credit and license info
License: various - right-click each file to get credit and license info

Notes/activity suggestions: S
tudents can use images in this media set, along with info they learn through other sources, to create a multimedia project in Word, PowerPoint, or as a movie (Windows Movie Maker) or web page.

Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, oil spill, pollution, energy, solar, mediaset


Resource 7: A Generation that Cares? The Environment and You
Media type: text
Description: This lesson plan guides students through research on environmental issues and how they can make a difference. In the culminating activity, students create an investigative video about a local environmental issue.
Level: Beginning, Intermediate

Credit: Nortel LearniT
License: CC BY


Notes/activity suggestions:

Tags: grade6, social studies, environment,


Resource 8: Clean Water, Good Sanitation - A Recipe for Good Health

Media type: text
Description:  A lesson plan and accompanying handouts and activities to encourage students to become aware of the human, economic, and environmental risks of unclean water and inadequate sanitation.
Level: Intermediate

Credit:  Teach UNICEF
License: CC BY NC

Notes/activity suggestions:
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, 


Resource 9: The Story of Stuff
Media type: Video, Text
Description: A video and web site that talks about consumptionism (This video has a strong perspective; see notes below.)
Level: Beginning, Intermediate

Credit: The Story of Stuff Project
License: CC BY NC ND

Notes/activity suggestions: Have students talk about the persepctive of this video and web site. What is fact and what is opinion? How does this compare with other resources in this unit?
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, production, distribution, consumption, disposal, renewable, nonrenewable, resources,


Resource 10:

Media type:


Notes/activity suggestions:
Tags: grade6, social studies, environment, resources for HEI



Through this lesson students will gain a better understanding of fossil fuels, how we use them and our dependence on them.

Students learn about the extinction and endangered species of animals and through this interactive lesson they try to save the  "chiru" of Tibet.

This interactive lesson explores some of the ways life forms have adapted to fit into the local ecology.

Students will locate, explore, and photograph evidence of maritime activities affecting them and/or their community, write a detailed description about the effect of the activities, and share both photographs and descriptions online.




Last modified at 8/30/2011 8:25 PM  by SEAFORD\mmiller