MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

Created by NASA Wavelength Last updated 7/17/2017

The investigations, lessons, and related resources listed below are taken from the NASA Wavelength collection as well as other sources. Each represents an opportunity to help students build their understanding of Earth and Space Sciences through student led investigations encompassing all three NGSS dimensions.
Customize this bundle by adding additional lessons and activities. To do so, simply register for a Wavelength account by clicking on the word “Register” on the right side of the blue bar above. Wavelength resources and external resources with URLs can be incorporated into your personalized list.

This list supports the following national standards:
Next Generation Science Standards

These resources can be used to build towards the following dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards: •MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects. •MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing human impact on the environment. Examples of human impacts can include water usage, land usage, and pollution. •MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • Hurricane Katrina

    This problem-based learning module challenges students to analyze both the causes and effects of Hurricane Katrina. Students gather evidence from Earth’s major systems (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) and use scientific reasoning to support or refute the claim that future climate change will impact the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Allow two to four hours for students to conduct research and prepare a report or presentation of their findings.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E5, 3C/H4
  • Hurricanes

    Satellite data and images reveal the science behind hurricane formation and intensity- as well as the degree to which hurricanes impact humans. Students use images and data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission to analyze and interpret hurricane development, precipitation amounts and movement. The role of sea surface temperature in hurricane formation is also incorporated in this 45- minute lesson. This resource also appears in the NSTA curated collection of NGSS aligned resources.
    AAAS Benchmarks: MS-ESS3-2
  • EO Kids: Urban Heat Islands: Hot Times in the City

    NASA observes and measures ground temperatures from space. The concentration of people and buildings in cities has created pockets where temperatures swell compared to the surrounding area- creating urban heat islands. Students in grades 3-8 examine data and text and participate in activities and experiments to learn details of the causes and effects of urban heat islands.
  • Worldview: Earth at Night

    Patterns of human population centers are revealed at night as light patterns of varying intensity. Human impacts on Earth can be examined through those patterns and by using the additional overlays and base layers to show surface temperatures, water and air quality.
  • Images-of-change

    This site features a collection of over 100 before and after image pairs of locations worldwide. Examination of the images allows students to identify relationships as well as changes in Earth’s environment. Students may use various images as evidence related to climate change, to illustrate the effects of urbanization and/or to show the impacts of natural hazards.