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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Lesson Plan
  • Worksheet


Google Docs, PDF

Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment


  • In this activity about the proposed geological epoch, the Anthropocene, students discover connections between human activities and their impacts on the environment and future fossil records. 
  • The module covers a variety of human activities like population growth, air pollution, agriculture, mining, and water use. 


  • The "Student Handout" guides students through the module and can be used digitally or printed.
  • Students have the chance to practice analyzing and interpreting data throughout the activity.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The module can be done online or downloaded as an application (Mac and PC only).
  • The student handout is available as a fillable PDF and as a google doc.
  • The "Educator Guide" includes teaching tips, discussion suggestions, and additional background information.


  • Teachers can lead class discussions on the impacts included in the model using the discussion points found in the "Educator Guide."
  • Teachers can modify the google docs handout to match the ability level of their students.
  • The last task on the worksheet is for students to make recommendations to reduce human impacts. Teachers can expand on this by having students conduct research and present their recommendations to the class.
  • Other resources about the Anthropocene include this lesson by Big History, this video by Crash Course, and this TED-Ed video.
This resource is suitable to teach students. It provides a concept that explores human impact on earth's landscape, biodiversity, ocean, and the atmosphere and how the interaction reshapes the planet. There is no misconception in this resource and it is recommended for teaching human Geography and environmental justice.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • 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-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • 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.
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