Science
Strand III
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Life Sciences in Real-World Contexts

 

Science/Strand III
Content Standard 5
All students will explain how parts of an ecosystem are related and how they interact; explain how energy is distributed to living things in an ecosystem; investigate and explain how communities of living things change over a period of time; describe how materials cycle through an ecosystem and get reused in the environment; and analyze how humans and the environment interact. (Ecosystems)

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5
Middle School

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School
Benchmark 6
Describe ways in which humans alter the environment.

Benchmark Clarification

Society’s actual needs and perceived needs shape decisions about how humans use the environment. Human activities that change the surface of the Earth include surface mining, construction, farming, dams, landfills, restoring natural resources, and land management. Sources of pollution in the hydrosphere include sewage, industrial waste, agricultural run-off, and household dumping. Sources of pollution in the atmosphere include acid rain, car exhaust, and industrial emissions. Health effects of polluted air include irritated eyes and breathing difficulties.

Students will:

  • Evaluate the positive and negative effects of human activities on the environment

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School/Benchmark 6
Key Concept

  • agriculture
  • land use
  • renewable and non-renewable resource development
  • resource use
  • solid waste
  • toxic waste
  • biodiversity

See (SCI.V.1.MS.5), (SCI.V.2.MS.3), (SCI.V.3.MS.4).

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School/Benchmark 6
Real World Context
Human activities, such as:

  • farming
  • pollution from manufacturing and other sources
  • hunting
  • habitat destruction
  • land development
  • reforestation
  • species reintroduction

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School/Benchmark 6
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How do humans alter the environment?

Focus Question: What positive and negative effects do humans have on the environment?

The class will brainstorm and identify non-native organisms that have been introduced to the Great Lakes since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened. If necessary, students should be directed to the following:

  • sea lamprey
  • alewife
  • zebra mussel

Using periodicals, newspapers, and the Internet, students will research the following questions about a non-native species introduced into the Great Lakes:

1. How was the organism introduced?

2. What niche did the organism fill and which organism(s) was(were) displaced?

3. What are the stages in the organism’s life cycle?

4. What positive effects might this organism have on the ecosystem?

5. What negative effects might this organism have on the ecosystem?

6. How have humans tried to restore the natural balance?

Students will present their findings in a debate of the positive/negative effects of the introduction of the (intentional or accidental) non-native species into the Great Lakes.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.MS.1), (SCI.I.1.MS.5).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.MS.4), (SCI.II.1.MS.5).

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School/Benchmark 6
Assessment Example

If possible, have students read In the Next Three Seconds by Morgan. This book takes a look at common human activities and their impacts on our world.

Students then should read the following statement:

In the next three seconds, 93 trees will be cut down to make the liners for disposable diapers.

Students should brainstorm ways that the use of disposable diapers has impacted our world.

Next, present the following scenario to the students:

In light of this statement, a new law has been proposed in Lansing banning the use of disposable diapers.

Students will receive a card from the teacher indicating the role of a community member they will take, such as:

  • Aileen, diaper manufacturer
  • Samantha, K-Mart manager
  • Juan, Peter Pan Nursery School director
  • Hitoshi, hospital nurse
  • Sam, owner of Sam’s Septic Service
  • Maria and Jose, parents of newborn triplets
  • Jamal, Green Peace member
  • Bonnie, XYZ Waste Disposal worker
  • Dee-Dee, owner of Dee-Dee’s Diaper Delivery Service

Students must prepare a two-minute speech reflecting their character’s point of view, either supporting or opposing this law. Students will present their speeches to the legislative body in Lansing (or a social studies class).

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

Criteria

Apprentice

Basic

Meets

Exceeds

Accuracy of reasons

Presents one supportive argument for position.

Presents two supportive arguments for position.

Presents three supportive arguments for position.

Presents four or more supportive arguments for position.

Quality of speech

Delivers a speech with inaccurate or incomplete thoughts.

Delivers a speech that provides information but is difficult to follow at times.

Delivers a speech in an effective, engaging manner.

Delivers a thorough, well-supported argument that entertains the audience.

Accuracy of visual aid(s)

Incorporates a visual product that inaccurately displays some aspect of the position.

Incorporates a visual product that ineffectively displays some aspect of the position.

Incorporates a visual product that effectively displays some aspect of the position.

Incorporates multiple visual products that display several aspects of the position.

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 5/Middle School/Benchmark 6
Resources

Webliography.
http://mtn.merit.edu/mcf/SCI.III.5.MS.6.html

Braus, Judy. Pollution: Problems & Solutions. RANGER RICK’S NATURESCOPE SERIES. National Wildlife Federation, 1992.

Braus, Judy. RainForests: Tropical Treasures. RANGER RICK’S NATURESCOPE SERIES. National Wildlife Federation 1991.

Free classroom kit and information
http://www.teachingplastics.org/hop_jr/

Research Vessels. Grand Valley State University, 1998.

Merritt, Brett. The Great Lakes Story. MSTA Journal, Spring 1998.