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Intro to Environmental Science Unit



This comprehensive environmental science unit will introduce your students to the basic principles of environmental science through an introductory discussion of scientific processes, economics, and environmental policy. Human impacts on the environment are interwoven through each lesson to provide students with a good basis for any high school environmental science or AP Environmental Science course. A PowerPoint, guided notes, web-quests, doodle notes, activities, extension pages, and assessments are all included in this unit. All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.


What’s included in this Environmental Science unit?

  • 8 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 PowerPoint (55 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 7 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 3 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • 6 Activities: Tragedy of the Commons Digital Activity, Ecological Footprint Activity & Bookmark, Environmental Scientist Research Project, Create Your Own Experiment Lab, Environmental Policy Timeline Activity, Environmental Careers Flyer
  • 4 Extension Pages: Digging Deeper: Cost-Benefit Analysis, Environmental Math Pre-test, Math Review Practice Problems, Science v. Pseudoscience
  • 3 quizzes through Google Forms for automatic online grading
  • 24 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review
  • Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short-answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)
  • Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration
  • Answer keys and grading rubrics for all student pages
*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please CLICK HERE for a PREVIEW.

What topics are included?

Intro to Environmental Science

  • What is the environment?
  • Environmental science v. ecology v. environmental activism
  • Renewable and nonrenewable resources
  • Tragedy of the Commons
  • Ecological footprints

Scientific Processes

  • Scientific methods
  • Controlled experiments
  • Quantitative v. qualitative data
  • Science v. pseudoscience
  • Peer review process
  • Scientific theory v. law

Economics & Policy

  • What is economics?
  • Ecosystem services
  • Cost-benefit analyses
  • Types of environmental policies (regulatory v. incentive)


The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-LS2-7, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, ES-ESS3-1, HS-ETS1-3. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.

What curriculum could I use with this Environmental Science unit?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 2.2 Ecosystem Services
  • 5.1 The Tragedy of the Commons
  • 5.11 Ecological Footprints
  • 5.12 Introduction to Sustainability

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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