Resources and Human Impact

SciPack Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Resources and Human Impact SciPack, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, explores the role society plays in environmental degradation, and the technological solutions, including resource management, that arises from environmental issues. Human beings modify all components of Earth’s ecosystems as they use and consume available resources. The amount and rate of consumption is affected by the population growth and access to technology. This SciPack is focused on Standards and Benchmarks related to interactions in and between ecosystem; population growth and carrying capacity; resource use; and environmental degradation and changes to Earth’s systems.

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Reviews (48)
  • on Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:19 PM

I really enjoyed this Sci Pack. The information was interesting and the variety of different interactive sections helped me to cement my learning of the concepts. This Sci Pack directly linked to my fourth grade curriculum; however, it would be helpful for all individuals to study as it makes us more aware of our direct impact to the environment. This course will definitely encourage you to reduce your carbon footprint.

Michelle Franko
Michelle Franko

  • on Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:28 PM

I really like SciPacks because they give me all of the information that I need to refresh my memory on different topics. This SciPack was great because I was teaching a unit on Human impact. This SciPack allowed me to revisit the information that I needed in order to teach my students.

Adrian R
Adrian R

  • on Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:25 PM

This SciPack was very resourceful and I will use the information gained from it in my future classroom.

Darby L
Darby L

  • on Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:16 PM

I definitely recommend the SciPack for anyone who has interest in gaining stronger knowledge on any science topic. I really enjoyed how the SciPack was constructed and gave factual information in a way to interest readers/students to engage them in their learning. Being able to refer back to the prior sections of the SciPack was a major help in being able to refresh my mind on certain areas of content while working on the SciPack over a spread out time period. I am a very visual learning and this SciPack provided so many visual aids such as graphs/charts/pictures which was very attention getting to me and allowed to process the information better. I would highly suggest the SciPack(s) for any potential teacher who may be teaching science if they are feeling skeptical on their own knowledge of the content. The SciPack will definitely give you the information needed to know about certain science topics and will essentially aid in your ability to teach the content.

Kayla King
Kayla King

  • on Fri May 26, 2017 10:50 PM

I highly recommend this SciPack, because it covers its content in a factual but in an engaging format. It included astounding statistics, such as "( bullion people are predicted to exist on Earth by 2050." Resources and Human Impact SciPack describes many of our global resource problems and causes. It then goes on to give information about the preventative measures that we can take.This SciPack looks at global resources and the impact humans have on the system of Earth, with the Science Objects as follows: Earth as a System, Population Growth, Technology, and the Environment, Environmental Degradation, and Using Technology to Address Resource Issues. The author wrote this SciPack in a thoughtful manner, and I appreciate the great quotes that were used throughout. “Come let us reason” is an approach that builds knowledge and capacity for sustainable decision making. The material covered in this unit was presented accurately. This SciPack can easily be a great point of reference when it comes to creating a curriculum involving resources of the Earth and the impact that humans have on it.

Stacy Marmon
Stacy Marmon

  • on Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:55 PM

I am a college student majoring in elementary education. This Scipack thoroughly covered all the topics involving human impact. I feel like i have a great content knowledge on biotic and abiotic factors, non-renewable resources and renewable resources, and ecosystems. I would recommend this scipack before teaching a unit on human impact, because it offers self checks throughout the pack. It is a great review so you aren't looking like a deer in the headlights when your students are asking those challenging questions.

Rebekah Walters
Rebekah Walters

  • on Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:29 PM

This SciPack provides a good review of the topics of resources and human impact. The NSTA did a nice job of presenting the information in an easy to understand manner.

Steve  (St. Johns, FL)
Steve (St. Johns, FL)

  • on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:37 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. I had a lot of fear of science before learning about the NSTA Learning Center, and Initially, I was unsure of how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format. However, the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the voice-over explanations work well together to help deepen my understanding in the content area. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about a subject after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend the Resources and Human Impact SciPack to anyone needing to learn more about this topic or review key concepts.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:26 AM

I really liked this SciPack. The information is so eye-opening and the ability to do the Carbon Footprint really helps to visualize the impact each of us have. Packed with great info, simulations, and visuals.

Jessica Minton  (Collierville, TN)
Jessica Minton (Collierville, TN)

  • on Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:26 PM

Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we're in right now an emergency – an unprecedented planetary emergency. We humans emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is really incredibly recent. Just 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us. By 1800, just over 200 years ago, there were 1 billion of us. By 1960, 50 years ago, there were 3 billion of us. There are now over 7 billion of us. By 2050, your children, or your children's children, will be living on a planet with at least 9 billion other people. Some time towards the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion of us. Possibly more.

Sherry A
Sherry A

  • on Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:30 PM

It is an excellent review of the topic. The interactive activities make the abstract more concrete and understandable. I wonder about using them with my 5th grade students, if they are available I might attempt it.

Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson

  • on Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:17 AM

This scipack is very thorough as it begins with a definition of the Earth's systems and details the components of how systems interact and its influences of life on Earth. It also details the impacts of outside influences such as things that humans do and how it affects the systems of the Earth (positive as well as negative impacts) As a kindergarten teacher, it is my responsibility to introduce the living and non-living units. Taking what I learned in this scipack will allow me to go further and teach my students things that influence as well as impact the living and non-living components on our Earth. One thing that stood out for me as I was reading this scipack was a misconception that was brought up that middle school students may have -is that life is organized in separate levels and things we do will/may not have an impact on other levels when it most certainly does. I think that at the kindergarten level when we introduce the living and non-living unit, we should already start to teach the students the importance of how everything we do now will affect ALL levels of life.

Kris Shimizu  (, Hawaii)
Kris Shimizu (, Hawaii)

  • on Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:16 PM

I'm about half way through this Scipack and I really like it. The questions are straightforward and not "tricky." It presents things in an unbiased way, yet covers all the bases.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:07 AM

Great interactives and thorough review and explanation. Highly recommend this to anyone who wants to review content or clear any misconceptions.

Carol M  (Streamwood, IL)
Carol M (Streamwood, IL)

  • on Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:21 AM

i learned what is the meaning of the enviroment and the different relations between organisms ..

Ahmed Mohamed  (Egypt, CT)
Ahmed Mohamed (Egypt, CT)

  • on Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:21 AM

i learned what is the meaning of the enviroment and the different relations between organisms ..

Ahmed Mohamed  (Egypt, CT)
Ahmed Mohamed (Egypt, CT)

  • on Tue May 22, 2012 12:48 PM

This is a GREAT pack. I thought I knew quite a bit on this subject, but was I surprised! It waas an eye-opening experience foor not only me but also my students. They got a kick out of "helping" their teacher "take a class".

Kevin Weatherbee  (Yuma, az)
Kevin Weatherbee (Yuma, az)

  • on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:30 PM

I just completed this scipack and learned a lot. The information was presented in a very logical and sequential manner. I would recommend this unit for studying and completing.

Yolanda Smith-Evans  (Houston, TX)
Yolanda Smith-Evans (Houston, TX)

  • on Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:06 PM

I learned a great deal from this SciPak. It did an excellent job of sorting out all of the sides to environment impact, and presented it in a non-political but urgent way. I feel that the interactices inside it would be very useful with kids, especially the detailed case studies and the carbon footprint activity. I am glad I took it. It has made me think about my use of resources and I will be able to contribute to the school's effort to go green.

Laura Jones  (Herndon, VA)
Laura Jones (Herndon, VA)

  • on Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:33 PM

This resource provides a good, clear, and concise review of the relationship between humans and and their environment (surrounding ecosystems). The case studies hook and hold the attention of the viewer in ways that more traditional methods could not; I look forward to harnessing the power of this awesome resource with my middle school scholars as we delve into 'The Environment' (Life Science Course).

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:55 PM

Very enlightening and so relevant to current issues.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:33 PM

Good Sci Pack. Excellent pick for the free Sci Pack. Got to see how they are organized and what they offer. Good review on how the earth is one whole system, biotic and abiotic elements and the interconnectedness of the whole world. Helped me remember some earth science material and convinced me to try some other sci packs.

Nathan T
Nathan T

  • on Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:12 AM

This SciPack looks at global resources and the impact humans have on the system of Earth, with the Science Objects as follows: Earth as a System, Population Growth, Technology, and the Environment, Environmental Degradation, and Using Technoligy to Address Resource Issues. In a nut shell this SciPack describes many of our global resource problems/crises and causes and then posits preventative and redemptive solutions. I was pleasantly surprised by this SciPack. I expected the global warming issue to be hit hard in this one, but the focus was more on how certain real problems came to be, and possible fixes. The material beckoned toward stewardship and responsibility rather than blame or boogey issues. If I get a chance to present highly charged issues (doesn’t happen too often in math class) I would like to handle it in a similar way as this author. “Come let us reason” is an approach that builds knowledge and capacity for sustainable decision making.

Floyd  (Honolulu, HI)
Floyd (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:08 PM

A helpful review of concepts relating to the relationship between humans and surrounding ecosystems, this SciPack covers a broad range of ecology and energy related topics. Engaging case studies provided new ideas for relating these concepts to my middle school students.

Elissa  (Palmyra, VA)
Elissa (Palmyra, VA)

  • on Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:20 PM

I enjoyed this sci-pack the most!! It was very informative. In addition, the assessment questions were much more in tune with the interactives and review questions/quizzes than some of the other scipacks I have completed...

kristin mancusi-johnson
kristin mancusi-johnson

  • on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:30 PM

This learning tool is superbly unbeatable. Learning is fun, quick, and effective. All the more I hunger for learning.

Ronaldo Relador
Ronaldo Relador

  • on Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:22 AM

This was very informative and gave excellent examples for deepening your knowledge about environmental issues. The simulations were very interactive and helpful with understanding the concepts.

Nikki T
Nikki T

  • on Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:50 PM

Overall, I thought this scipack was a 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked the interactive activities. They seemed to break up the reading so it wasn't overwhelming. I did not like the videos. I couldn't get them to play smoothly with my wifi connection, but I thought they were boring. I did think that the questions during the reading were beneficial to actually paying attention and keeping focused on the topics at hand.

Sarah B
Sarah B

  • on Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:20 PM

This sci-pack was a very good refresher to me. I enjoyed all of the fun interactive simulations this sci-pack had to offer. The interactive games with a video description before hand was so helpful to me. It made learning this material even better. I however did find a few questions on the assessment that did not fit well with some of the content toward the end of the assessment. Overall I enjoyed doing this sci-pack and would recommend this to my friends.

Chelsea Buttram
Chelsea Buttram

  • on Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:19 PM

One thing I did not like about this is that I think it gave too many questions where you had to choose “all that apply” but other than that I felt that it was good all around and the final assessment was aligned with the entire scipack. It was a fun and engaging way to learn more about how humans impact the earth. IMPORTANT! While taking the final assessment, refreshing the page takes all of your answers away!

Karli Copeland
Karli Copeland

  • on Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:30 PM

Overall this scipack was very interesting. I learned additional things and refreshed past knowledge. The only thing I really struggled with was the final assessment. I think it would be great to allow people to see their right and wrong answers to help better their next attempt. In doing so yes, students could narrow down their options and possibly get an extremely high score the third attempt, but you could narrow it down to two attempts if that became a problem. Moreover, it would bring up the assessment analysis, but bring me back to what I had already read, which I thought wasn't beneficial for me. This is because I reread things and then took my second attempt and still didn't see any of my past answers except for one question wrong. That is the only thing I did not like about the scipack. Very beneficial though to help students better their understandings of certain areas or to simply become more aware of certain things in science. Great scipack!

Catherine Davis
Catherine Davis

  • on Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:30 PM

I found this SciPack to be very informative. It was very detailed in this subject but also easy to understand. The only reason I will not give it 5 stars is because I was unable to open any of the interactive sections, so I had to read about the activities instead. Overall, a great SciPack and I would definitely recommend!

Holly Hickerson
Holly Hickerson

  • on Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:36 PM

This SciPack has a good clear relationship between human impact and the world's resources. It has a nice range of topics that gives a wide view of everything.


  • on Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:36 PM

This scipack provides a picture of our use of resources and the impacts of the use from the local to global perspective. It does a good job of outlining the impacts that have occured as the number of humans has increased over time. In addition it takes a broad look at the resources that we use to produce the energy and other materials that we use on a daily basis.

David G  (Anchorage, AK)
David G (Anchorage, AK)

  • on Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:10 PM

Good, but a bit simple.

James Sharp  (El Paso, TX)
James Sharp (El Paso, TX)

  • on Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:35 PM

I found completing this SciPack an enjoyable exercise. It covers a nice range of topics related to the impact of humans on the environment and the types of alternative and renewable fuel sources. The interactives were nice and added to the overall quality of the product. My favorite part of the SciPacks is the pedogogical implications which helps to pinpoint common areas of student misconceptions. Overall a nice resource for the new environmental science teacher.

Rebecca F  (Elizabeth, WV)
Rebecca F (Elizabeth, WV)

  • on Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:58 AM

I thought the course was pretty straightforward and the test fair except for the question that dealt with social, political, and economic factors. It seemed like some of the choices could have been in more than 1 category and the distinction was not clear. Very poor question.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:06 PM

I took this sci-pack solely because i was interested in the topic, but as i think about the content i wonder how i can incorporate this into my curriculum. I do not teach environmental science, so it is difficult for me to really use this information. But an area where i have found to lend its self to this content is when teaching about bacteria and bioremediation. I have found it to be an interesting lesson when teaching about human impact on the earth and how we use bacteria to clean up some of our waste we create. Most students think of bacteria as these bad organisms when they really do more helpful things than harmful. I have found the students engaged and interested in the lesson. Overall this is a great sci-pack because it taught me things that i forgot or simply didn't know. It is full of great information and can be applied to almost any grade level/

John Pappas  (Chicago, IL)
John Pappas (Chicago, IL)

  • on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:19 PM

I teach HS biology and I thought this scipak was a great overview of topics. It explained concepts in an easy and concise way. I also agree that some of the questions could be answered with prior knowledge.

Randee Holz
Randee Holz

  • on Thu May 10, 2012 11:17 AM

If you are teaching Earth Science or Environmental Science, this is definitely a resource that you want to check out. It clearly explains human impact upon the planet and ways that we can reduce it. It also goes through many of our energy producing resources and looks at the benefits and drawbacks of each!

Erik  (Bountiful, UT)
Erik (Bountiful, UT)

  • on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:58 AM

I've just started with this learning experience but I am learning a lot. The layout is easy to use and the material is current. I like how the check points are laced throughout. Although you can skip around, I found that I had to go back to some of the information to verify the accuracy of my answers. I have only completed the introduction and section 1 as of today's posted review.

Yolanda Smith-Evans  (Houston, TX)
Yolanda Smith-Evans (Houston, TX)

  • on Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:06 PM

This was a good overview of the very basics in the environmental concerns facing our world. A nice overview -- or refresher. I liked the graphs and statistics offered.

Katherine Jezidija-Kendall
Katherine Jezidija-Kendall

  • on Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:37 AM

The SciPack was fine, but I felt that the material was at a very basic level. I don't know that I learned a lot from it, and I think I could have passed the assessment without having read the sections. However, the material is valuable, and contains important reminders that nothing we do is without a cost somewhere. This is a lesson our students would do well to learn, and if this SciPack can help get the message out, that's great.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:35 PM

covers a lot of information in a very entertaining way!

Tania A
Tania A

  • on Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:42 PM

The resources and Human Impack Scipack is a really good and informative scipack. The interactives are fun and engaging to play around with. I recommend this scipack for anyone.

Kelly  (Brewster, NY)
Kelly (Brewster, NY)

  • on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:54 PM

It is amazing how humans and other living species interact with one another. It is essential that we learn to preserve and protect our resources. This Sci Pack is very informative and allows understanding of relationship between all species.

Aracelly F
Aracelly F

  • on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:00 AM

I enjoyed this summary pack on earth resources and Human Impact... plenty of ideas to bring into the classroom.

Rock P  (Lowell, MA)
Rock P (Lowell, MA)

  • on Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:45 PM

This SciPack does a nice job of pulling together a lot of concepts about how we affect our environment, and how our environment affects us. There are thought-provoking sections on technology, both positive and negative, as well as a solid introduction to both biotic and abiotic factors and environmental ecology. Good for the elementary and middle school teacher who needs a quick background, and for the high school teacher who needs an organizational framework and a starting point.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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