Day 3 – Humans vs. the Environment

Sue Feldman

Target Level: Grade 4, Grade 5

Subject Area: Science, Social Studies

Class Time: 50 minutes


  1. The students will be able to articulate what the basic needs of humans are.
  2. The students will be able to break down the basic needs and discuss what we do in our country and in Japan to get those needs met.
  3. The students will be able to compare and contrast the differences between a want and a need.
  4. The students will be able to list human wants, how to create the want, and the pros and cons of that want.
  5. The students will be able to reflect on how humans are damaging the environment.
  6. The students will learn how people in the United States and in Japan deal with waste.

PA State Standards

Subject: Environment and Ecology

Area 4.8.: Humans and the Environment

Grade/Course 4.8.4: Grade 4

Standard C.: Explain how human activities may change the environment.

  • Identify everyday human activities and how they affect the environment.
  • Identify examples of how human activities within a community affect the natural environment.

Subject: Science and Technology (outdated; see new version above)

Area 3.8: Science, Technology and Human Endeavors

Grade/Course 3.7.4: Grade 4

Standard B.: Know how human ingenuity and technological resources satisfy specific human needs and improve the quality of life.

  • Identify and distinguish between human needs and improving the quality of life.
  • Identify and distinguish between natural and human- made resources.
  • Describe a technological invention and the resources that were used to develop it.

Standard C.: Know the pros and cons of possible solutions to scientific and technological problems in society.

  • Compare the positive and negative expected and unexpected impacts of technological change.
  • Identify and discuss examples of technological change in the community that have both positive and negative impacts.

Student Assessment

Assessment for this activity will be through class participation and through active engagement. There is no formal assessment for this lesson.

Materials and Use of Technology

Materials and resources

  • Smartboard
  • Notebook Software

Technology resources

  • Notebook Software


Sequence of Instruction Including Hook and Closure

Hook – Today we will be using the interactive SmartBoard to discuss wants and needs. I will be looking for good listening and good ideas for students to share today.

  1. Connect the SmartBoard and be sure it has been oriented.
  2. Look at the first slide. The Needs part of the T-chart should be a review. Who can list one of the basic needs of all living things?
  3. Be sure students have written: air, food, clothing, shelter, space
  4. Now we are going to break each of these down a bit. How do we get clean air to breathe? What is important in our environment in order for that to stay healthy? How do we get food for our bodies? Clothing? Shelter? Space? How have these things changed over the years? In the 1600’s? 1700’s? etc….
  5. What are some wants of people? Look for answers such as furniture, clothing, portability of things, vehicles, etc…
  6. How do we get these wants?
  7. What are the pros and cons of producing these wants? Have our wants changed over time?
  8. Take a screenshot of this list as it will be needed.
  9. Next slide (American map) ― Looking at the map of the United States, think about our wants and needs. What do we have to do in our country to create these wants and needs? Pros and cons? Discuss.
  10. Next slide (Japan map) ― Looking at the map of Japan, think about their wants and needs. Is it similar to our country in terms of creating the wants and needs? What are its limitations?
  11. Next slide (Green button points) ― Be sure you have touched on all of these points.
  12. Next slide (Discuss different kinds of ‘waste’) – human, factory, air pollution, poisons, artificial ingredients, pesticides, etc….
  13. Next slide (link to Japan trash burning)
  14. Pull it together with the discussion that human wants and needs creates both pros and cons for our environment.