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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 50 - 100 minutes
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus



Google Docs, PDF

Anthropocene: Human Impact on the Environment

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  • In this interactive lesson, students discover the evidence for a new epoch and will see the connections between human activities and their impacts on the environment and the fossil record. 
  • The interactive activity includes graphs and images for a variety of human activities like population growth, pollution, agriculture, mining, deforestation, and water use. 

Teaching Tips


  • The student handout guides students through the module and can be used digitally or printed.
  • Students have the chance to practice analyzing and interpreting data throughout the activity.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The module can be done online or downloaded as an application (Mac and PC only).
  • There is alignment with AP and IB biology and environmental science courses.
  • The educator guide includes teaching tips, discussion suggestions, and additional background information.


  • Teachers can lead class discussions on the impacts included in the model using the discussion points.
  • Teachers can modify the handout to match the ability level of their students.
  • The last task on the worksheet is for students to make recommendations to reduce human impacts. Teachers can expand on this by having students conduct research on solutions and present their recommendations to the class.
  • Other resources about the Anthropocene include this lesson by Big History, this video by Crash Course, and this TED-Ed video.
Scientist Notes
This resource is suitable to teach students. It provides a concept that explores human impacts on Earth's landscape, biodiversity, oceans, and atmosphere, and how the interaction reshapes the planet. There is no misconception in this resource and it is specifically recommended for teaching human geography and environmental science.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • 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.
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