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Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

~25-30 40 to 50 minute class periods

Which areas of Boomtown are the best choice for construction?
Students construct explanations based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface. They will model how water cycles over and under the surface and through the air and have opportunities to apply scientific principles to design systems that can reduce the human impact on land and water.

PE Assessment Example: Based on the evidence presented in this unit, which geological processes along the Mississippi: a) changed the land’s surface features? b) over millions of years? c) over a short time period? d) will continue in the future? e) can be observed as a model? Explain how. Make sure to also Identify the process(es), and include evidence.

Land, Water and Human Interactions is part of Issues and Science three year middle school program, designed by SEPUP at the Lawrence Hall of Science. This five to six week unit anchors the lessons around the the socio-science issue: What is the safest location for new homes in a coastal community? Investigative phenomena within the 16 activities connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs ESS2-4, ESS3-3, ETS1-1, ETS1-2, ETS1-4.


Content in Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS is organized into 16 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. Where Should We Build? Investigation Students examine photographs of undeveloped and developed hillsides, wetlands, and clifftop areas. Students make observations about changes that have happened to the land and water in these areas.
2. Does It Dissolve? Laboratory Students compare the solubility of solids in three different liquids. They compare the ability of the liquids to dissolve salts and apply the results to the natural world.
3. Water Quality Investigation Students construct graphs of three common water quality indicators and compare them to a graph of Boomtown population. Students then consider whether the increase in population is a correlation or causal relationship between the population and the decline in water quality.
4. Living Indicators Investigation Students analyze and interpret data collected from simulated catches of aquatic invertebrates collected at three different points in time corresponding with different levels of human impact. They identify patterns in the data and construct arguments for possible cause- and-effect relationships.
5. Nutrients as Contaminants Laboratory Students explore one of the major routes for contaminants to enter the water supply by investigating water that passes through soil. They frst test unfertilized soil and fresh water for the presence of nitrates then add fertilizer to the soil and test both the fertilized soil and the runoff water for nitrates.
6. Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Reading Students read about the large-scale impact of human activity on aquatic systems. Students use an Anticipation Guide before, during, and after the reading to make predictions based on prior knowledge and then examine how their understanding has changed at the end of the activity. Students draw a model diagram to explain the chain of events leading to the formation of dead zones. They also discuss ways to minimize the size and impact of dead zones.
7. Cutting Canyons and Building Deltas Modeling Students use a river model to investigate how fowing water erodes and deposits sediments to create common landforms. They then design erosion-control structures and use the river model to test them. Based on the results of their initial testing, students redesign and retest their structures.
8. Traveling with the Water Cycle Investigation After reviewing the three most common phases of matter and the phase changes of water, students use a card-based simulation to follow water as it travels through the water cycle. Each pair of students writes a story that describes and demonstrates their understanding of the water cycle’s major processes and reservoirs, and the types and sources of contaminants that can be picked up along the way.
9. Human Impacts on Earth’s Water Reading Students complete a Three-level Reading Guide as a means to increase their comprehension of a reading that describes some ways in which human activities affect Earth’s water. The reading focuses on how humans impact water quality and the water cycle, and on how these effects can be mitigated.
10. Making Topographic Maps Investigation Students use a small-scale plastic model to construct a topographic map of a land formation. This experience provides students with a better understanding of topographic maps and how to interpret them. In the next activity, they apply this understanding to compare topographic maps of Boomtown made at different times.
11. Boomtown’s Topography Problem Solving Students compare the street maps and topographic maps of Boomtown in the present with topographic maps of Boomtown from 25 and 100 years ago. They identify changes that have taken place in the landforms at the building locations. They consider how evidence from the topographic maps might suggest potential problems for the three possible building locations.
12. Modeling Cliff Erosion Modeling Students model the effect of ocean waves on a cliff. They then design, test, and redesign structures to prevent cliff erosion. They use their observations and understanding of erosion to compare the likely rate of erosion on a hillside and a shoreline cliff.
13. Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition Reading Students read about geoscience processes that include those they investigated in the last activity—erosion and deposition—and the related earth process of weathering. The impact of human activity on these earth processes is presented with information on how to monitor and mitigate changes caused by development.
14. Building on the Mississippi Role Play Through a role-playing exercise, students explore the history of New Orleans’ location on the Mississippi River and the interaction of the city and the river. Students focus on the impact of human activities that have prevented natural cycles of erosion and deposition in the Louisiana Delta region.
15. Building in Boomtown Investigation Students use the information they have gathered throughout the unit to create a report about the geology at each of the building locations in Boomtown. Then they use their reports and information from the Boomtown City Council to make their decision.
16. Building Site Plan Investigation Students play the role of a building team that generates a site plan for the school and felds. They also design a plan for monitoring and minimizing soil erosion, increase nutrient run off, or reduce the water quality of Boomtown River.

Lab-Aids® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Land, Water and Human Interactions Unit:

Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

Student Book

The Student Book guides students in exploring a socio-science issue and connected phemonena through a series of varied activity types. Activity types use one of twelve different instructional strategies to apply Science and Engineering Practices to specific Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts.

SEPUP's integrated literacy strategies help students process new science content, develop their analytical skills, make connections between related concepts, and express their knowledge orally and in writing. The built-in assessment system helps teachers identify students' strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of the unit. This allows them to adjust activities when needed so that all students get the best chance to build their knowledge and appreciation of science. At the back of the Student Book there is an Appendix containing additional resources for students, such as science skills, literacy strategies, and media literacy among others.

Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

Lab-Aids® Science Lab Notebook

A science notebook not only models the way scientists work, but it helps to develop and reinforce students’ science learning and literacy skills.

The Lab-Aids Science Lab Notebook is designed to support best practice note-booking strategies. It includes three-hole punched pages in a two-column design for Cornell-style notes. GraphAnywhere pages allow students to both write and easily create data-tables and graphs anywhere on the page. The unique “Lab-Log” column serves as a blank canvas for drawings, connections, and self-reflective notes. 160 pages total.

Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

Complete Equipment Package

Lab-Aids programs include high-quality equipment for each activity. This includes innovative lab-ware to be used throughout the year, specific solutions and materials for unique labs, as well as items needed for card sorts, modeling, role-plays, and projects.

Materials for up to 5 classes of 32 students, mobile storage cart, Online Portal for one teacher includes online subscription to Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book in English/Spanish (E/S), student sheets (E/S), visual aids (E/S), PowerPoints, online assessment system, LABsent, and supplemental resources)

Land, Water, And Human Interactions | NGSS

Teacher Edition and Resources (Printed)

The SEPUP Teacher Edition (TE) guides you through each activity in the Student Book and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the unit. It helps you set up the equipment from the kit, organize the classroom, conduct activities, and manage practical details, all of which enhance students’ learning environment.

The Teacher Edition text is broken down into several sections, such as Activity Overview, NGSS Connections and Correlations, Materials and Advanced Prep, Teaching Summary, and Background information to name a few. The Teacher Edition is packaged as a color-printed, loose-leaf binder which allows you to personalize it with highlighting, annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. It provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher Resource book.

The Teacher Resource (TR) provides background and suggestions to increase the overall effectiveness of implementing the program across all levels of learners. Some sections include: SEPUP’s Approach to Teaching and Learning, Differentiation Strategies for Diverse Learners, Literacy Strategies for Supporting Reading Comprehension and for Enhancing Students’ Writing, and comprehensive instruction on the SEPUP Assessment System. There is also a section containing unit specific resources, such as overviews, unit storyline and phenomena table, NGSS correlations, assessment blueprints, and item banks.

Online Portal for Students

Access to Student online portal for 1 year, which includes: the digital Student Book (Spanish coming soon), additional resources, and LABsent sheets and videos for absent students. Ability to highlight, bookmark and make notes in the Student Book, complete homework and assessments, and communicate with the teacher. Also available as multi-year subscriptions.

Online Portal for Teachers

Access to Teacher online portal for 7 years, which includes: online subscription to the Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book (Spanish coming soon), LABsent sheets & videos for absent students, Editable PowerPoints for each lesson, and integrated online assessment system. Ability to highlight, bookmark, and make notes in personal Student and Teacher books, create and assign homework and assessments, and communicate with students. Available as multi-year subscriptions. Single Sign-On (SSO) available