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This is a lesson on the effects of urban sprawl on our environmental footprint


Social Studies  


9, 10  

Title – Human Environment Interaction
By – Rainer K
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 9-10


    Five Themes of Geography

Content and Themes:

  • Human/Environmental Interaction
    • Adapt to environment,
    • modify environment,
    • depend on environment.
  • Urban vs. rural.
  • Urban sprawl.
  • Gentrification


  • Standard II.2 Human/Environment Interaction:
    • All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of ecosystems, resources, human adaptation, environmental impact, and the interrelationships among them.
    • Understanding human/environment interaction enables one to consider how people rely on the environment, how they alter it, how it may limit what they are able to do, and the consequences of actions for both people and the natural environment

Learning Resources and Materials:

  • The book “The Lorax”,
  • pencil,
  • notebook,
  • computer
  • projector

Development of Lesson:


        Have the students calculate in their notebook, how far they drive, what they eat, how much trash they use, how often they fly, and then have them figure out their environmental footprint by entering that data one of the many ecological footprint calculators that exist on the web. This will help them understand their influence on society.



        Having assigned “The Lorax” as a reading assignment for the day before, go over what they think about the book. Have a discussion about its relevance. Have some students read the sections they think are especially interesting. Then for fifteen minutes, lecture about urban sprawl in your city or state. Show students the statistics concerning how the city’s (or major city in your state’s) population is shrinking and how the suburbs are growing. Tell them about the costs and effects urban sprawl. Talk about public transportation and its benefits. Talk about sustainable growth.



        Put together a worksheet for special needs kids and give it to them before class. Have them follow the lecture on that and take notes where they need to. I would expect more conversation and more substance in their essays. I would also expect more from them in their essays from the other students.



        Students will be required to research and write a pro-con paper on urban sprawl describing what is better and why. They will have to answer the questions: Should the government make it more expensive for people to live in the suburbs by applying taxes, etc.? Would you pay more to live in the suburbs and why and is it worth the cost?



      In the last five minutes of class, have the students draw a quick web of what they want to talk about in their essay. Have them show it to you on the way out the door.

E-Mail Rainer K !

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