Resources and Human Impact: Earth as a System

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the first of four Science Objects in the Resources and Human Impact SciPack. It explores how human beings, who live within and depend on Earth’s ecosystems, modify the land, ocean, and atmosphere. In all environments, organisms, including humans, cooperate or compete with one another for resources. These resources include food, air, water, and space. The size and rate of growth of all species, including humans, are affected by these environmental factors. In turn, these environmental factors are affected by the size and rate of growth of a population. Populations are limited in growth by the carrying capacity of the environment, which is the amount of life any ecosystem can support with its available space, energy, water, and food.

  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (9)
  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:42 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Resources and Human Impact: Earth as a System Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:36 PM

From the interactive activity on modeling populations to the animation on how your body reacts if the air temperature gets too cold, this resource provides a wealth of information on ecosystems. In understanding that Earth is a system, the module guides the viewers through how all the planet's biotic and abiotic parts interact. Good, rich material to use with middle school scholars.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:02 AM

This was a great overview of the basic vocab and information on abiotic and biotic factors. I felt it was perfect for an elementary classroom. There was great information but also useful tips in dealing with the classroom. Can't wait to use this in my classroom.

Stephanie R
Stephanie R

  • on Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:38 AM

This resource gives general information and basic vocabulary on abiotic and biotic factors. I really enjoyed the tips about students. The information I learned will be helpful in the classroom.

Jennifer C
Jennifer C

  • on Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:39 PM

Good explanation for abiotic and biotic.

Tory Addison
Tory Addison

  • on Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:26 PM

In this look at the Earth as a system, we begin by identifying biotic and abiotic factors that interact to form a system. Changes in a factor affect changes in other factors, and like any system, feedback loops signal changes in populations. The concept of a food web is introduced, leading us to the realization that systems are dynamic, and reach a balance based on several factors. I like the introduction to the concept of modeling systems that is provided. Good for the elementary and middle school teacher who needs a quick background, and for the high school teacher who needs an organizational framework and a starting point. Not intended for student use, but contains graphics and sims that could be used in the classroom.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

  • on Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:05 PM

This Science Object does a great job of introducing teachers to science content on ecosystems, interactions of environmental factors, population growth, carrying capacity and feedback loop models. A case study of the human population on Easter Island is effectively used to synthesize concepts. The Science Object format accommodates multiple learning styles, and has interactive inquiry activities, self-check assessments and critical thinking prompts.

Dorothy Ginnett  (Stevens Point, WI)
Dorothy Ginnett (Stevens Point, WI)

  • on Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:19 AM

I started this but quit after the interactive segment showing biotic, abiotic, energy, water page. The energy web showed an arrow coming from the ground to the plants?!!

Candyce B
Candyce B

  • on Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:56 AM

As I go through the unit, I am constantly struck by the modifications and prior teaching that must take place in order to bring the material down to early childhood. All of the science vocab will be new and require preteaching. I would love to be able to avail myself of these resources but you are asking me to rewrite everything. It's far easier to just to collect my own information and teach directly to the stqandards being addressed. This is written for middle and high school students. Get rid of the elem. designation.

Gail  (southampton, MA)
Gail (southampton, MA)

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