Human Impact on the Environment


Calling all environmental scientists!

You are about to embark on a quest to learn how people affect the environment around them. You will be learning about the quality of the water we drink and use, how plastics are affecting our world, the importance of recycling and how gardens affect animals large and small.

Before you complete the tasks by playing the games, watching the videos and reading the scientific information, go onto our Google Classroom and complete the pre-Quest questions. When you are finished with the quest, there will be final questions to answer.

Good luck and remember, you can make the world a better place in ways both small and large!


Task 1: 

Watch this video about water purification then answer the questions below in your science notebook.

1. Where does the water treatment process begin?

2. Where does the water come from?

3. What are the steps in the water treatment process?

4. What types of scientists test water quality?

Task 2:

Read the following National Geographic article on plastic pollution.

Now, create a poster with a lab partner that includes the following information:

1.What is the problem with plastic pollution?

2.Where does the plastic go?

3.Two illustrated ideas to reduce plastic use.

Task 3:

Play this online recycling game. When you're finished, answer the questions below in your science notebook.

1. What were the three types of bins used in the game?

2. Name three items for each bin.

3. Explain the difference between items that can become compost and items that can be recycled. 

4. What types of items ended up in the trash? 

5. How could you reduce the amount of trash items?

Task 4:

Watch the video and read the article about monarch butterflies and gardens.

Now, create a design for a butterfly garden for our school. Your design needs to show where the garden will be located, the size of the garden, the types of plants in the garden and the types of butterflies and/or birds your plants will attract. You many illustrate your garden and give it a name. You may also choose to work on your own, with a lab partner or as a whole table group on this project.


Answer the following evaluation questions in your science notebook.

1. On your Webquest, what are two positive ways that humans impact the environment?

2. What are two negative ways that humans impact the environment? 

3. Based on your Webquest, what is one way you can change your environment at home or school in a positive way? Explain what you would do to create the change and how you would implement the change in your environment. 

Teacher Page

This Webquest was designed so students learned about four different environmental issues facing them today.

Each issue is tied to the NGSS PE of MS-ESS3-3:  Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

The specific DCI for this Webquest is ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems :

Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things. 

The activities in the Webquest mirror the activities in the Environmental Science unit from the syllabus on my designed website. In Task 1, students are watching a video about a water treatment process and how scientists test the quality of water. For Task 2, the plastic pollution article presents students with information about current plastic use and its impact in our world. Students then design a poster to teach others about plastic pollution. Recycling is addressed in the Recycling Game Task 3. Students play the game and answer questions about the types of materials that are recyclable and how those materials are recycled. Finally, for Task 4, students watch a video and read about how to design a school garden, with a focus on plants that attract butterflies. Students then plan and create a design for a garden for their school. When the Webquest is finished, students have a experienced through multiple modalities the positive and negative impacts humans have on some of Earth's environments.