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Big Era Nine: Landscape Unit 9.6

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Population Explosion and Environmental Change
1945 - Present

Why This Unit?

What were the consequences to the natural environment from exponential population and economic growth that were set in motion in the first half of the century and peaking in the second half?

In this unit, students will investigate the effects on the global natural environment of population increase, shifting land and water priorities, and energy use in the second half of the twentieth century. They will also investigate these same factors and outcomes for their local areas. Students will consider the various ways in which their own lifestyles can be altered to live more sustainably, as they investigate citizensí and governmental groups working in their area on such issues as land and habitat conservation, locally-grown, sustainable food sources, and sustainable energy initiatives.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Interpret charts and graphs to use as evidence of environmental change.

2. Construct diagrams or models showing the relationship between the historical data and their contemporary communities.

3. Analyze possible relationships between economic growth and environmental sustainability in the second half of the twentieth century.

4. Analyze possible relationships between economic development and environmental costs.

5. Explain examples of effects of human action in the period on the global environment.

Time and Materials

This unit should take five to six class periods, with homework.

Materials: Large floor maps of the world and of the studentsí local area. (See Lesson 1 for additional materials needed for this activity.)

Drawing paper and pencils, colored pencils and markers (or paint and brushes), cardboard, glue, string, metal fasteners, and other model construction supplies teachers may wish to use.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

  2

Unit objectives

  2

Time and materials

  2

Author

  2

The historical context

  3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

  7

Lesson 1: Think globally: Mapping environmental change in the last half century

  8

Lesson 2: Act locally: Planning for sustainability

27

Lesson 3: You are what you eat

30

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

37

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

37

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

37

Resources

38

Correlations to National and State Standards and to Textbooks

39

Conceptual links to other lessons

40

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

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