Project Overview
Language Arts Unit 1
Language Arts Unit 2
Science Unit
Social Studies Unit 1
Social Studies Unit 2


Unit Introduction

1. Global Warming

2. Air Quality

3. Post Assessment

4. Additional Resources
Optional Extensions


Lesson 1: Global Warming

In the concept of human population growth and natural resources, the objectives would be to summarize the current state and effects of human populations and growth, as well as explain the importance of effective resource management.


The main ideas students need to know include:
Earth’s human population continues to grow.
The growing human population exerts pressure on Earth’s natural resources.
Effective management of Earth’s resources will help meet the needs of the future.


Vocabulary should include but is not limited to:
nonrenewable resources
renewable resources
ecological footprint

The human impact on the ecosystem.

These are the skills the students will use:
note taking
use of graphic organizers
concept map – determine cause and effect
oral speaking or speech giving
math skills dealing with volume, weight, and surface area


In any one of your district’s biology or environmental science textbooks find the unit/section on ecology.  Look specifically for the chapters that deal with the human impact on the ecosystem. 

The books that I referenced for this unit were:
Glencoe’s Biology: The Dynamics of Life
AGS’s (American Guidance Service, Inc.) Biology Cycles of Life
McDougal Littell’s Biology   
Prentice Hall’s Environmental Science:  The Way the World Works
Addison-Wesley’s Environmental Science:  Ecology and Human Impact
AGS’s (American Guidance Service, Inc.) Environmental Science


Consult these web sites for this lesson:

Alliant Energy for Kids:

U.S. Department of Energy - Wind Power: Energy from Moving Air:

U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory - How a Wind Turbine Works:

graphic organizers:

note taking:

Pre-Assessment to determine prior knowledge:

Engage students in a discussion and listen for responses that reflect advanced knowledge or thinking.  This will help identify those students who might benefit from differentiated advanced content.

Discuss how manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and transportation have improved people’s lives. 

Ask:  How have these improvements created problems for Earth’s ecosystem?  (Students should mention air and water pollution, buildup of solid waste, depletion of resources, and habitat loss). 

Ask:  What steps can people take to help address these problems.  (Answers will vary, but reducing activities that produce pollution, reducing waste by recycling, conserving resources, protecting habitats are just a few steps). 

Continue to ask probing and clarifying questions until student responses indicate little knowledge or pervious experiences. 


Instructional plan:

1. Discuss the growth of the human population.

2. Discuss the technologies that students depend on each day. 

3. Connect the impact of these technologies with the growth of our human population and the pressure this puts on Earth’s natural resources.

4. Explain how a renewable resource such as water could become a nonrenewable resource. 

5. Analyze how our ecological footprint relates to an area of land?  (Effective management of Earth’s resources.)


Note Taking:

The students may use many different forms of note taking, such as Cornell notes. You may want to try this diagram as a form of note taking to summarize how technology has helped the human population grow:

note taking

Hands on activity (Lab):

Tell students that between 10 and 50 percent of the cost of most products bought in supermarkets go into packaging and that such packaging is one of the major sources of solid waste in landfills (  Ask students to look at the packaged products in their homes and in stores.  Have each of them bring in an example of an over-packaged product.

Students can then compare the actual volume, weight, or surface area of the product with the volume, weight, or surface area of the packaging.  Have the students draw conclusions based on their date whether any certain companies/products are more likely to be over packaged.  You may want to consider writing letters or emailing companies suggesting they change their practice. 


Integrating Physics

(Integrating physics is a means to challenge the advanced learners, therefore differentiating content for the gifted learners. For this reason, the following activities would be completed by those students for whom advanced content is appropriate.)

Tell students that wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy.  A generator converts this mechanical energy into electricity.  A wind farm contains dozens or hundreds of wind turbines.  The Nysted wind farm, located in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark, has 72 wind turbines that provide about 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity.


Iowa’s connection to wind turbines:

The following information and activities come the from Alliant Energy Kids – Energy & the Environment web site:

When it comes to size, bigger is better – the bigger the wind turbine, the more wind it reaches and the more electricity it produces.

The turbines at Flying Cloud Wind Plant in northwest Iowa are about 240 feet tall. The largest wind turbine in the world, located in Hawaii, stands 20 stories tall and has blades the length of a football field! The tower is usually hollow and made of steel. The blades, called rotors, are made of fiberglass and polyester.

View photos of the Spirit Lake wind turbines being built  

A wind farm might have only two or three turbines, or it could have as many as 150 spread across a big field. One of the largest wind farms in the U.S. is in Altamont Pass, California. It has more than 900 wind turbines.

View photos of the Altamont Pass wind turbines

How a wind turbine works

A wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, a turbine uses wind to make electricity.
The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution lines to a substation, then on to homes, business and schools.

Make your own wind power toys!
Now that you’ve read about wind power, can make your own wind-powered toy?: 

Wind power activities 


1. Student will demonstrate knowledge of a wind turbine and creation of energy.
2. Student will attempt to create energy from their wind-powered toy.
3. Student will be able to communicate the relationship between the demonstration and the concept of wind energy.

Note to teachers:  You have latitude here as to how you’d like to grade this project. Below I’ve included a rubric that you may use.  Regardless of what you do, I would lean towards their knowledge of the above concepts as opposed to grading the actual success of the wind turbine toy.  As in all labs, there is that chance for failure. Should the attempt fail (the wind toy does not work), I don’t believe they should get a failing grade.  I would consider asking the student(s) if they know why it failed?  Did they ever get it to work?  How it might be corrected?  Can they communicate the above concepts?

If you would like to use a rubric for this wind toy here is one that would be effective for this project:

sci rubric

The rubric was found at this web site:


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