Human Population Impacts NGSS MS ESS3-4


In the Human Population Impacts mini unit, students focus on food and Earth’s natural resources. They trace the path of ingredients to their area and determine just how much of an impact one hamburger has on water, land, air and energy resources. Then, students create a lower-impact menu.


Extension activities include designing a sustainable home that allows them to live off the land. A perfect project to end the year!

Anchor Phenomenon Ideas: Students love to talk about food! Begin this unit with a taste test of local vs. non local and/or organic vs. conventional fruits and veggies. As kids talk about food, make a list of the questions you hear and help them find answers throughout the unit.


a sample student response to question three in the packet.

Tips and Tricks: Although we focus on food throughout this mini unit, make a conscious effort to refer back to the impacts of an increasing human population. More people on Earth means more people to feed and that equals a significant impact on land, air, water and energy sources.

If possible ask a parent with a garden, local farmer, rancher, honeybee keeper, cheese maker or any other local food producer to come in and share their knowledge with your class.

Extension Activity: Students love imagining and designing a sustainable house. This project is very flexible - it can take 3 days or two weeks. The more time you offer, the more details students can include - maybe a compostable toilet or water wheel with buckets!