Grade 6: Population Growth and Resource Consumption (MS-ESS3-4)

  • Grade: 6
  • Content Area: Earth and Human Activity
  • NGSS Standard: MS-ESS3-4




This unit was taught in a sixth-grade honors classroom consisting of 38 students, including two EL students and one IEP student. This unit was immediately preceded by data collection/analysis and lab investigations examining the relationship between latitude, average daily minutes of sunlight, and average daily temperature of certain areas on Earth. The unit focuses on the relationship between population growth and use of resources (specifically energy usage/consumption) and how this affects the biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Students analyzed data on population growth through the last thousand years, then examined the different facets of our environment (spheres mentioned above) and created visual representations of how they impact one another. This was followed by an analysis of ten countries and their corresponding carbon emissions and percentage of renewable energy. Students then researched different energy resources used throughout the world, including any associated financial and environmental costs and regulations. In groups, students discussed pros and cons of each energy resource, which prepared them for a written argument in support of or against an assigned resource. The final assessment was a verbal debate (based on the written argument) in which students argued for or against their assigned energy resource.