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Human Footprints on the Environment

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Human Impact on Lake Champlain

Grade Level: 6-12

Common Core Standards
WH/S.1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
a. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

Content Areas: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals: Students will identify and analyze ways people have impacted on the natural environment, supporting their ideas with evidence and sound reasoning.
Students will express their ideas in a well constructed, coherent written essay.


  1. Introduce the lesson by asking students to generate a list of human activities (e.g. farming, hunting, playing football, driving cars, skiing, etc.)
  2. Challenge students to think about how each activity affects the natural environment. Use an activity from the list as an example of how to imagine all the ways people alter or impact the environment to engage in it.
  3. Have students choose an activity that is of interest to them. It can be from the original list or added. Have them begin to list all the ways the environment is altered to engage in their activity or affected as a result.
  4. Have students use their list to organize an essay describing the "Footprint" left on the natural environment by engaging in their activity.

Assessments: Use the attached or another writing assessment rubric to evaluate the essay.

Materials/Resources: Black/White board

Special Considerations:
Students with writing challenges may need a scribe or produce an oral essay presentation.

Extension: Students may want to do research to find specific data to support any claims that are challenged in their discussions.