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Earth Force


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, Geography

Resource Types

  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Videos, 5 minutes, 13 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Presentation Slides

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides, YouTube Video

Discover: Step 1 - Community Environmental Inventory

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  • In this activity, students get outside to gather information about their community to evaluate the environmental strengths and challenges. 
  • Students gather numerical data, analyze maps, conduct surveys, or talk to experts to evaluate their defined community. 
Teaching Tips


  • The website for this activity has lots of suggestions and background materials that will help make the activity a success.

Additional Prerequisites

  • If students complete the full process, be sure to have them start a portfolio of their work.
  • There is no lesson plan given for this activity, so you will need to construct one using the given resources.
  • Before starting the activity, be sure to have answered these questions (to help define the scope of work for students): How will you define the community for this activity? Will students gather information about all aspects of the environment, or just one? Which sources of information will students use to create this inventory?


  • This can be completed as a standalone activity or as one step in a larger community-action and problem-solving process (see other EarthForce resources for other steps in the process).
  • The website for this activity includes tutorial videos resources for introducing the inventory to students, and tools for determining the root causes of issues.
  • Other hands-on activities include this solar oven resource and this wind energy resource. 
Scientist Notes
Inventory mapping is one of the tools used in narrowing down and prioritizing projects to be studied. Using a root-cause technique is also appropriate to identify the most peculiar causative agents impeding positive change in any local community. This activity will guide students on taking decisive steps to actualize site-specific solutions. This resource is recommended for teaching and for facilitating project-based activities in a defined geographic setting.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
      • D1.1.6-8 Explain how a question represents key ideas in the field.
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.9.6-8 Compare deliberative processes used by a wide variety of groups in various settings.
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