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Resource Language:

English

Regional Focus

Global

5 Human Impacts on the Environment

Author: Crash Course
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Video, 10 minutes, 37 seconds, CC, Subtitles
Synopsis
  • This ten minute video by Crash Course provides a great overview of the main ways we are affecting the planet and how those actions are affecting our ability to live on Earth. 
  • It discusses ecosystem services, the importance of biodiversity, deforestation, desertification, agriculture, climate change, invasive species, and overharvesting wildlife. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video provides the connections between these many topics and helps students understand why protecting nature and intact ecosystems is so important for all life on Earth.
  • It identifies the huge financial cost of losing the services that ecosystems provide, not to mention the spiritual, mental health, and intangible benefits nature provides.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video does a good job of defining terms, but students should be familiar with terms like ecosystems, deforestation, and global warming.
  • The video has a number of breaks or pauses identified that can be used to quickly reference certain topics or to jump back to for review.
  • There may be an ad before the video.

Differentiation

  • Social studies classes could use this video to connect ecosystem services with communities that rely on nature for subsistence farming and subsistence fishing. 
  • Any class could use this video to help students understand the importance of protecting wild spaces and wildlife on land and in the oceans.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this PBS video about extinction, this StC lesson, this video about ecosystem resiliency, and this table of solutions to climate change.
Scientist Notes
This video explains the importance of biodiversity. Please note that this video was produced in 2013. An educational activity for students might be to look at how the numbers mentioned in the video have changed. For example, in 2013, roughly 5,800 square kilometers of Amazonian Rainforest were destroyed. In 2021, that number is now over 10,000. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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