[LS2-7] Human Impacts on Environment
This standard focuses on the many known human impacts on the environment, from plastic pollution to global warming and everything in between, and designing a method to overcome these environmental burdens.
Resources for this Standard:
Here’s the Actual Standard:
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
This standard essentially asks students to apply engineering practices to environmental problems. Let’s look at the different options available for each.
This part of the engineering process can be done for environmental problems of any scale. For instance, students could design a way to remove plastics from the oceans or students could design a plastic-free method to carry groceries home. There are many aspects of every environmental issue that can be improved on, and designing solutions can easily remain theoretical and open-ended.
This step is the most limiting steps because it is hard-to-impossible to test large-scale solutions to global problems. However, evaluations can be made on models, simulations, and even simple thought experiments. The idea here is not to ensure that a working product can be developed, but rather to reinforce the engineering process and how it can be used to fight global human impacts on both a small and large scale.
Once the bottleneck of evaluating various solutions has been passed, refining solutions again opens things back up to the theoretical. In large scale problems, refinements can be made not only to make the solution function better, but also to ensure that no part of producing or implementing the solution will be a barrier. A fun activity after refining can include a “Shark Tank” style class vote on the best and most useful solutions to different environmental problems.
A little clarification:
The standard contains this clarification statement:
Examples of human activities can include urbanization, building dams, and dissemination of invasive species.
Let’s look at this clarification a little closer:
So many human issues:
While the clarification provides a few examples, here are many more:
- Palm Oil and Orangutans
- Wildlife Trafficking
- Plastic Pollution
- Fossil Fuels
- Global Warming
- Climate Change
- Rainforest Loss
- Habitat Loss in General
- Environmental Toxins (DDT, etc.)
- Forever Chemicals
- Nutrient Runoff and Algal Blooms
- Ocean Acidification
- Pollinator Decline
Giving students their choice of issue and solution can help individualize learning.