Georgia Performance Standards Framework for Science Grade 6. Unit Organizer: ENVIRONMENTAL - HUMAN IMPACT (Approximate Time: 2 Weeks)

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1 The following instructional plan is part of a GaDOE collection of Unit Frameworks, Performance Tasks, examples of Student Work, and Teacher Commentary. Many more GaDOE approved instructional plans are available by using the Search Standards feature located on GeorgiaStandards.Org. Unit Organizer: ENVIRONMENTAL - HUMAN IMPACT (Approximate Time: 2 Weeks) OVERVIEW: Human activities impact the availability of renewable and nonrenewable resources. There are ways to conserve these natural resources. STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THIS UNIT Focus Standards: S6E5. Students will investigate the scientific view of how the earth s surface is formed. i. Explain the effects of human activity on the erosion of the earth s surface. j. Describe methods for conserving natural resources such as water, soil, and air. S6E6. Students will describe various sources of energy and with their uses and conservation. a. Explain the role of the sun as the major source of energy and its relationship to wind and water energy. b. Identify renewable and nonrenewable resources. Supporting Standards: S6E5. Students will investigate the scientific view of how the earth s surface is formed. d. Describe processes that change rocks and the surface of the earth. f. Explain the effects of physical processes (plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, volcanic eruption, gravity) on geological features including oceans (composition, currents, and tides). January 2007 Page 1 of 7

2 ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS Students will understand that: Human activity can have a positive or a negative impact onϖ the surface of our Earth. Human activities can cause or accelerate erosion. Renewable resources can be replenished within a relatively short time period. Nonrenewable resources form very slowly, over millions of years. When present supplies are used, there will be no more. The Earth s resources can be reduced or used up if humans don t use conservation strategies. The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the Earth's surface, including winds, ocean currents, and waves. Through conservation strategies, people can slow down the degradation of the environment and the depletion of non-renewable resources. The atmosphere and the oceans have a limited capacity to absorb wastes and recycle materials naturally. Cleaning up polluted air, water, or soil or restoring depleted soil, forests, or fishing grounds can be very difficult and costly. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: OVERARCHING ESSENTIAL QUESTION How might the conservation and resource strategies used today affect your future? Give examples. TOPICAL ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS How can land uses be modified so as to minimize erosion? In what sense is the energy from wind, hydroelectric, coal, and oil really energy from the sun? Which strategies that your family could use to conserve energy would be easiest and why? Why is soil considered a nonrenewable resource? How might it be possible to run out of a renewable resource? Give examples. January 2007 Page 2 of 7

3 KNOWLEDGE: One Stop Shop For Educators Renewable resources can be replenished within a relatively short time (perhaps months, or years, or tens of years). Renewable resources include: fresh water; fresh air; plants and plant products (food, natural fibers, lumber, fuel); animals and animal products (food, leather); wind, moving water and sun for energy Nonrenewable resources form very slowly on or within the Earth, over time periods of millions of years. They accumulate so slowly, that for all intents and purposes on the human time scale, the Earth can be considered to have only a set quantity of the resource. When present supplies are used, there will be no more. Nonrenewable resources include: fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas); soil; metallic minerals (iron, copper, gold, silver, lead, mercury, zinc, uranium); nonmetallic minerals (kaolin, salt, lime, sulfur, diamonds, sand) Oil and gas are formed from the remains of marine plants, animals and microorganisms that lived in seas millions of years ago. The ultimate source of the energy in fossil fuels is from the sun. Photosynthetic plants and marine algae lock this energy into organic matter. When we burn plants, coal, oil, or gas, we release the sun's trapped energy. When hydrocarbons are burned as fuel, they release a greenhouse gas (CO 2 ) that is linked with global warming. Burning hydrocarbons also releases pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons that contribute to air pollution. Nuclear power is generated from the heat released when uranium atoms split (undergo fission). That heat boils water to make the steam that turns the turbines to generate electricity. Wind electricity is produced by turbines which can be grouped together on a "wind farm." It is cost-competitive with other forms of electricity, but only certain parts of the country such as the Great Plains states have enough strong, steady wind for widespread wind power development. Solar electricity can be produced in photovoltaic cells that can be placed on rooftops and other sunny places. The cost of photovoltaics continues to drop dramatically, but they are still several times as expensive as the cheapest electricity. The sun's energy can be used economically without conversion to electricity. Some uses are to heat water for home use, and to heat and light buildings designed to take advantage of the sun's path through the sky. January 2007 Page 3 of 7

4 Hydroelectricity is produced by turbines below dams. It is inexpensive and is the most widely used form of renewable energy, but the best sites for hydro in the U.S. already have been dammed, and further dams would have to displace valuable urban and farm land. Of the total energy used in the U.S., most comes from petroleum, followed by natural gas and coal. Burning coal contributes to air pollution and acid rain. Burning low sulfur coal produces less acid rain. Certain gases in the atmosphere trap heat in the lower atmosphere (troposphere). This phenomenon has been referred to as the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), ozone (O 3 ), methane (CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), and chlorofluorocarbons. Ozone protects life on earth by absorbing most incoming solar ultraviolet radiation. Release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) from aerosol cans, cooling systems and refrigerator equipment removes some of the ozone, causing "holes"; to open up in this layer and allowing the UV radiation to reach the earth. Ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer and has damaging effects on plants and wildlife. Good soil conservation techniques include: contour plowing; strip planting - different crops in strips; cover crops; crop rotation; terraces; planting groundcovers - roots hold the soil; windbreaks; tree planting; mulching CONCEPTS: Conservation, energy, matter, human endeavors LANGUAGE: Non-renewable and renewable resources, energy sources, fossil fuels, biomass, solar, wind, thermal, capacity, conservation strategies MISCONCEPTIONS Protecting the environment is important only for those people who care about the natural world. The earth is such a large and well-balanced system that it soon heals any damage that humans cause. PROPER CONCEPTIONS Allowing the environment to degrade continuously can result in disasters for people that may not have an affordable solution. Human societies have long caused environmental problems whose effects persist for generations, and the scale of these problems is rapidly increasing. January 2007 Page 4 of 7

5 When construction is complete, a new development no longer causes erosion. Engineers can easily fix water quality problems caused by the removal of wetlands or forests. Scientists know how much is left of non-renewable resources and are able to predict when they will run out. Conservation involves sacrificing quality of life so we can save resources and protect the environment. Protecting the environment is an expensive luxury which is often unaffordable. EVIDENCE OF LEARNING: Pavement and buildings increase storm water runoff, which accelerates stream bank erosion. In general, wetlands and forests protect water quality more effectively and cheaply than human technology. The future supply of most non-renewable resources is uncertain, but running out is less of an issue than how much it will cost to extract the resource as the supply diminishes.) Properly planned conservation strategies increase comfort levels and quality of life while using fewer resources and restoring the environment. Many strategies for conserving resources save money as they protect the environment. By the conclusion of this unit, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies: Culminating Activity: Goal: Apply your knowledge of the difference between nonrenewable and renewable energy resources and their effects on water and air. Role: You are a child in a family which has received a new offer from your power company. Audience: Your family. Situation: Your electricity provider is offering an option by which your family pays a little extra on the monthly power bill to help insure that the company will buy energy from wind, solar, and landfill gas. As the family member who has recently studied renewable energy and conservation in school, you are asked 1) to help your family decide whether paying an extra ten dollars a month is too much for this service and 2) to suggest practical ways your family can cut the fossil-fuel electricity it now uses. January 2007 Page 5 of 7

6 Product: A presentation that 1) compares the effects of different energy sources on air, water, and the future supply of energy 2) argues for or against spending extra money on renewable energy and 3) suggests energy conservation strategies for your family. Standard: See rubric Environmental GRASPS Rubric Scientific Information Renewable and non-renewable energy Sun, wind, and water energy Methods of conserving The project accurately contrasts effects of a fossil fuel on air, water, and energy supply with those of a renewable energy source. The project explains how electricity is made from solar, wind, and water, well enough to make clear some costs and limitations of each method. Three strategies and their costs and benefits are explained enough to make an informed decision and to implement them. The project contrasts effects of a fossil fuel on air, water, and energy supply with those of a renewable energy source, but there are significant inaccuracies. The project explains how electricity is made from solar, wind, and water but does not adequately connect this information to the costs and limitations of each method. Three strategies are explained enough to implement them, but costs and benefits are inadequately described. The project contrasts some effects of a fossil fuel with those of a renewable energy source, but either air, water, or energy supply effects are not covered. The project does not adequately explain how electricity is made from solar, wind, and water, or fails to include costs and limitations of one or more methods. Three practical conservation strategies are identified, but are not explained to the extent that they could be implemented. The project fails to provide any contrast between the effects of fossil fuels and renewable energy. The project fails to discuss how any form of electricity is made or fails to discuss any costs and limitations. Fewer than three conservation strategies are identified, or none of the strategies seem practical. January 2007 Page 6 of 7

7 TASKS The collection of the following tasks represents the level of depth, rigor and complexity expected of all physical science students to demonstrate evidence of learning. Task: Description: Discussion, Suggestions for use: Possible Solution : SAMPLE OF STUDENT WORK January 2007 Page 7 of 7

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