Human Impact on the Environment


Human Impact on the Environment is a collection of resources that shows real-world effects of our actions on the environment. The collection supports teachers who wish to integrate environmental education into existing Life and Earth Science curricula.

For resources that directly explain the science behind climate change see the Clue into Climate and Climate Literacy collections.

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    Bill Nye: Scientific Thinking and Climate Change

    Learn about Bill Nye’s mission to advocate for the importance of science, particularly in the context of climate change, in this video from SciTech Now. Nye discusses the documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy in which he opens up about who he is and describes his transition from quirky television host to advocate for science awareness among the general public. The background essay in the support materials elaborates on ice cores, a technique Nye learned about during his travels to Greenland. Scientists analyze ice cores to learn about humanity’s role in climate change.

    Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips.For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Kids Go Green: Reducing Air Pollution

    In this video animation from WNET, Elle, who is electricity, teaches the effects of electricity on the environment. Most electricity comes from power plants, which also produce pollutants that damage the earth’s air. In this clip, students learn about ways to reduce electricity usage and help keep the air clean. In the accompanying activity, students complete a worksheet to demonstrate their understanding of ways to reduce electricity use. Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips with ideas on using this video to help students consider a variety of ways to help the environment.

    For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: K-5
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    Kids Go Green: Reducing Food Waste

    Learn about the impact of food waste on the environment in this video animation from WNET. In this clip, students discover ways to reduce food waste. Refer to the accompanying discussion questions and teaching tips for ideas on using this video to help students consider ways to conserve food.

    For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: K-5
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    Kids Go Green: Litter and Our Oceans

    In this video animation from WNET, follow Al the aluminum can on a journey into the ocean after he is tossed away as litter. Students learn about the impact of litter on bodies of water and discover ways to reduce litter. In the accompanying activity, students attempt to clean a simulated polluted lake using various techniques and materials. Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips on using this video to help students consider ways to help the environment.

    For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: 1-5
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    Kids Go Green: Waste Less

    Learn about kids who are helping the environment by reducing waste in their school. This Cyberchase-presented video features P.S. 110's Green Team who is helping their school recycle and compost more. P.S. 110 is a Greenpoint Eco-School, a local variation of a national Eco-Schools USA program for grades PreK–12 that combines the effective green management of school grounds, facilities, and curriculum to empower today’s students for a sustainable tomorrow. Refer to the accompanying discussion questions and teaching tips for ideas on using this video to help students consider ways to reduce waste and help the environment.

    For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: K-5
  • Climate Change through History

    Learn about the history of human impact on Earth’s climate in this video from PERIL & PROMISE. This animated timeline explores changes in climate during periods of glaciation and the effect of human-generated greenhouse gases on our climate. The background essay in the support materials provides further details about the techniques used to analyze and interpret data about humanity’s role in climate change.

    Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips for how to pre-teach graphing for students to prepare them to interpret the timeline in the animation. For more environmental education resources, visit the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

    Grades: 6-12

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