Science 8: Human Impact

Science 8: Human Impact



Students will learn how to analyze the different factors affecting marine and freshwater environments, the human impacts on the environment, and how to address these issues. This lesson shares some excerpts and quotes from the tracking change reports for the purpose of researching the different human impacts on the environment.



71% of the world’s surface is covered in water, from saltwater systems to freshwater systems that we all interact and rely on. However, what happens when our actions as a society impact these vital ecosystems that are part of our daily lives for water, food, and fun? This lesson introduces students to researching and analyzing different human impacts on the environment and invites students to make decisions that benefit local ecosystems.


Key questions for student inquiry: 

How has human activity impacted the ecosystem including the people who rely on it? What is being done about the issue? What can you do to help address the issue?



Classroom (computer room, if desired)


Length of activity:

90-135 minutes

Teacher Resources


Materials Needed:

Note:  Handouts and worksheets are provided in the downloadable Lesson Plan Package

Connections to Curriculum


Unit E: Freshwater and Saltwater Systems (Social and Environmental Emphasis)

Focusing Questions: How do water, land and climate interact? What are the characteristics of freshwater and saltwater systems, and how do they affect living things, including humans?

  • 4 – Analyze human impacts on aquatic systems; and identify the roles of science and technology in addressing related questions, problems and issues.
    • analyze human water uses, and identify the nature and scope of impacts resulting from different uses; 
    • identify current practices and technologies that affect water quality, evaluate environmental costs and benefits, and identify and evaluate alternatives; 
    • illustrate the role of scientific research in monitoring environments and supporting development of appropriate environmental technologies; 
    • provide examples of problems that cannot be solved using scientific and technological knowledge alone