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Database Provider

Author

David Biello

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Video, 5 minutes, 29 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Article
  • Assessment

Regional Focus

Global

How Long Will Human Impacts Last?

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Synopsis
  • This resource unpacks the arguments for creating a unique, geological epoch called the Anthropocene based on many lines of evidence.
  • The eye-catching video and brief article provides information about extinctions, geologic time periods, new human-made materials (that are likely to remain for millennia), and how humans have affected biodiversity and global habitats.
  • An interactive self-check and discussion section are also included.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video is straightforward, short, filled with topics that can be extended (if so desired), and beautifully animated. 
  • Even while addressing some serious topics, this resource does not have a gloomy feel to it. 
  • In just over five minutes, the author does an impressive job of displaying the vastness of human impacts on the planet. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers and students must sign in to use the interactive self-check and discussion sections.
  • For students to get the most from this video, it would be helpful for them to be familiar with these three facts:
    • Biodiversity is key to ecological recovery after an environmental catastrophe.
    • Geologic time is ordered by time divisions that are determined by the fossil record. 
    • Plutonium is an ingredient in nuclear bombs. 

Differentiation

  • This video works great as an introduction to geologic history, human impacts, biodiversity, and/or environmental resiliency. 
  • Before viewing the video, ask students to consider what signs of humanity might be evident 500,000 years from now and have them share. This can be done individually, with a partner, or in small groups.
  • Invite students to research further how farming, fishing, and forest practices are contributing to our current extinction event. 
  • Have students investigate solutions to the loss of biodiversity and habitat across the planet. What can realistically be done? How can it be achieved? Who can do it?
  • Assessments can range from reports to infographic roadmaps or individual action plans.
Scientist Notes
This resource underscores the human impacts on the natural environment.  It presents geologic records and human activities. Recent activities of humans can accelerate extinctions of species, which are irreversible. This concept is insightful and recommended for teaching.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
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