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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 41 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - South, USA - Midwest, Louisiana, Illinois

Human Impact on Aquatic Environments

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  • This video about our impacts on aquatic environments discusses many topics including coral bleaching, toxic pollution, dead zones, like the gulf coast, and oil spills. 
  • There is also an interactive quiz and standards for AP Environmental Science courses available.
Teaching Tips


  • The presenter uses images and maps that help support the content.
  • Students may be surprised to know that fertilizers and pesticides are a major source of water pollution in aquatic systems.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms homeostasis, sustainable, mercury, toxic, and pollution.


  • Pausing the video, turning on the closed captioning, or providing a list of keywords before the video may help some students with comprehension.
  • After the video, students could make posters, presentations, videos, or podcasts about how we are affecting aquatic environments and how we can protect them.
  • Biology and science classes could use this video when discussing bioaccumulation, food webs, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, ecosystems, oceans, ecosystem declines, species extinctions, or nonpoint pollution.
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive data resource about fertilizer pollution, this PBS video about coral reefs, and this video about coral reefs in Biscayne National Park.
Scientist Notes
This 5-minute video presents an overview of the impact of human activity on the ocean and aquatic environments. The resource focuses on topics of ocean acidification, coral bleaching within coral reefs, and hypoxic regions within the Gulf of Mexico that results from farming and other sources of runoff. This is a clear and concise video and is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • 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.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • 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.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • 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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