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New York DEP


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Interactive Media
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



Accepting the Anthropocene

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  • In this lesson, students learn about the proposed geological epoch, the Anthropocene, and research the immense human impacts on the environment.
  • Students explore an interactive website, analyze graphs, research human impacts in their local community, and create a poster to display their learning.
Teaching Tips


  • The lesson connects students to their community as they research local human impacts and the measures to reduce them.
  • Students have a chance to showcase their creativity through the posters or pamphlets.
  • The interactive component is simple, and most students should be able to navigate it independently.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The Welcome to the Anthropocene link works, but the video does not play. Teachers can replace this video with another short video about the Anthropocene or skip this part of the lesson.
  • The NPCC Landing Page link is broken.
  • Students or groups of students will need access to a computer with internet.
  • Students should be comfortable conducting research, including selecting relevant sources, evaluating sources for credibility, and summarizing findings.


  • Students can create posters or pamphlets by hand or digitally using resources like Google Slides, Canva, and Adobe InDesign. Teachers can display these products in the classroom or school.
  • The provided research links are New York City-based, but educators in other regions can select local resources if they want to use this resource.
  • Social studies classes can use this resource to learn about geological time scales, the history of Earth, historical interactions between humans and the environment, and the local history of climate change.
  • Science classes can use this resource to identify how humans have impacted the environment, leading to climate change. Science classes can focus more on the graphs and data presented.
  • When completing the research portion of the lesson, some students may need additional guidance for specific sections of documents to look to for information, especially in classes with limited time for this lesson.
  • Older or advanced students can research the arguments supporting the two potential beginning dates for the Anthropocene.
Scientist Notes
This activity will help students understand the Anthropocene, Earth's history, and recent changes. The resource is thoroughly researched and well-cited.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.14.9-12 Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
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