Keywords: renewable resources, environmental impact, sustainability, ecosystem; Lesson Plan Grade Level: seventh and eighth grades; Total Time Required by Lesson: 45 minutes; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will explore past use of natural resources.
  • Students will use their knowledge of past civilizations to uncover their use of their environment.

Materials Needed

  • classroom text
  • library resource books

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Environmental Health (4.3); Humans and the Environment (4.8)

Subjects Covered: social studies, history, ecology

Topics: past resource use, society's impact on the environment


  • Class will be divided into groups of five students. Each group will represent a different past civilization.
  • Each group will compose a list of products common in the daily life of the members of their civilization. (10 minutes)
  • Groups are to identify and label each item as renewable, recyclable, or neither.
  • Groups are to rate their civilization in regards to lasting environmental impact, 1-4.(1: no impact; 2: minor impact; 3: significant impact; 4: permanent negative impact). (10 minutes)
  • Students should be able to support their evaluations with facts.

Summing Up (25 minutes)

  • Each group will choose a spokesperson to present their findings and evaluations to the class. (5 minutes for each group)
  • Class discussion.
  • Class will vote to determine if they agree with the 1-4 rating assigned by the group.


Stephanie L. Rau, substitute, Mercer & Slippery Rock School Districts