a patchwork of farmland

Human Impacts on Biodiversity Lesson Plans

By: SubjectToClimate Team

May 26, 2022 | 8 minute read

Biodiversity is vital for the sustainability of our planet. Human impacts on the environment such as overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation, all contribute to the loss in biodiversity. These lesson plans are easy to navigate and will help you explore the human impacts on biodiversity with your students. They are simple to integrate into your class and your students will learn how their choices can impact the world around them. We have also highlighted additional videos to jump-start your lesson about the human impacts on biodiversity.

“The food we eat, the air we breathe, our climate—everything that makes Earth inhabitable—all depends on the interplay of billions of species around the world. This is biodiversity. And unfortunately, it is rapidly declining. But it’s not too late. We’re at a pivotal moment when we can still reverse the loss of nature—for the sake of all life on Earth,” The Nature Conservancy

Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment

Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Interactive Media, Lesson Plan, Worksheet

This interactive module from Biointeractive explores human impacts on the environment and how they have affected Earth’s landscape, oceans, atmosphere, and biodiversity. This beautifully organized lesson plan includes an educator guide and student handout that is available in PDF and Google Doc formats. Teachers may download the interactive module to their desktop or launch it directly from their browser. Explore this user-friendly interactive media by clicking on the linked image below:

Getting Started

The “Educator Guide” contains suggestions for implementing this Click & Learn in class, as well as discussion questions and additional background information.

The Google Docs can be modified for lower and higher ability students, allowing for easy differentiation.

Related Resources

The Biosphere

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, History, English Language Arts, Health, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type: Lesson Plan, Activity, Worksheet, Video, Article, Assessment

This comprehensive course about the biosphere by the OER Project includes videos, a vocabulary worksheet, a natural disasters activity, a graph interpretation group activity, and a writing assignment. Students will explore how human activity affects the biosphere, which can affect natural disasters and biodiversity.

Teachers and students will need to set up a free account using an email address in order to access the materials. The biosphere lesson plan is part of a series of courses provided by OER. This course will encourage critical thinking and inspire your students to think about the future.

Getting Started

Students will benefit from the vocabulary worksheet and summaries.

Teachers can use the "Thinking Conceptually" sections for their students as a starting point for more in-depth discussions or debates on these topics.

› Teachers may discuss connections between globalization, economic growth, and the depletion of the Earth's natural resources.

Related Resources

Globalization and the Environment

Grade: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, Economics, History, English Language Arts, Justice

Resource Type: Lesson Plan, Video, Worksheet, Activity, Video, Assessment

This is another impressive course by the OER Project that focuses on the connections between globalization and the environment. The course includes videos, a UN Sustainable Development Goals worksheet, activities, articles, reading guides, a graphic biography, a writing assignment, and an assessment.

“Policies also encourage monocultures and uniform crop planting that reduces biodiversity, making crops more vulnerable to massive failure due to disease,” Globalization and the Environment.

The main objective of this course is to help students understand the relationship between globalization and biodiversity. The topics covered in this lesson could apply to economics, geography, and civics classes. The videos from OER Project have stopping points featuring “key ideas” that provide questions for teachers to ask their students. This course is beautifully laid out and easy to navigate and the graphic biographies are sure to engage your students. 

Getting Started

Students will need access to a computer and internet connection to use the online features. Teachers can project the materials on a SMART board or print hard copies on recycled paper.

Climate: Climate Change & Biodiversity

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, Geography

Resource Type: Activity, Worksheet, Lesson Plan, Presentation Slides

In this media literacy and critical thinking activity by Project Look Sharp, students will explore the impact of climate change on ecosystem biodiversity. Students will learn how climate change destroys habitats and limits biodiversity and they will observe how media messaging can influence people's perspectives. 

This resource includes a student worksheet, a lesson plan, a PowerPoint presentation, and a student handout. To access the materials, teachers will need to create a free account through Project Look Sharp. Teachers can also find a guide in PDF format and tips for online media decoding to download.

Getting Started

› As previewed above, teachers can use this handout on analyzing media messages before students complete the worksheet.

› The lesson plan refers to a "constructivist media decoding process;" these materials will help teachers understand the goals and design of the lesson.

Teachers can have their students respond to questions individually or in small groups before discussing the questions as a class.

Biology classes could research invasive species in local ecosystems. Teachers may have their students discuss how the invasive species are making it difficult for native species to survive.

Fisheries Unit Labs

Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Activity, Article, Data, Interactive Media, Lesson Plan

This comprehensive unit plan on fisheries from TERC, helps students understand sustainable fishing practices, marine pollution, and holistic management of the marine ecosystem and biodiversity conservation

The “educator pages” contain an overview of 8 different labs with brief descriptions. Teachers can toggle between each lab for more in depth information and printable teaching materials such as articles, data, diagrams, interactive media, and activity sheets.

The Trial of Humans

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects: Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts, Justice

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

This hands-on lesson plan from ClimateScience explores the impact caused by humans on habitat destruction, natural resource exploitation, and global climate destabilization in the form of a classroom trial/debate. Biodiversity loss is one of the many trial/debate topics included in this lesson plan. Students will love this engaging method of learning about the human impacts on biodiversity. The teacher guide outlines how to construct the debate in your classroom and offers additional sources for extended learning. 

Getting Started

› This activity can be done at a school assembly, in the classroom, or, for more public speaking practice, at a school event for parents and friends.

Teachers can extend this activity by asking the students to write the contents of their argument into an article.

Teachers can ask students to come up with their own topics for the trial/debate.

Debate Topic Ideas

Human Topic Ideas

Animal Topic Ideas

  • Higher Intellect
  • Ability to Create Technology
  • Ability to Think, Reason, Solve Problems
  • Animal Companionship and Love
  • Veterinary Science & Treating Animal Disease
  • Biodiversity Loss
  • Industrial Agriculture
  • Overfishing
  • Plastic Pollution
  • Illegal Wildlife Trade
  • Poaching
  • Deforestation
  • Habitat Destruction
  • Suburban Sprawl

Climate change is causing a massive, widespread, catastrophic collapse of biodiversity on Earth. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. In order to protect and restore all that we love, it is imperative to teach about the beautiful tapestry of life. We hope these resources empower you to teach about biodiversity in your classroom. There are so many engaging ways to teach students about the human impacts on biodiversity. After all, our planet depends on biodiversity to sustain life.  See this curated search for more teaching materials on biodiversity