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Human Carrying Capacity

Activity Summary
This activity is used to spur discussion of the ways that the activities of human beings can negatively or positively affect the Earth’s ability to support the human population. Students are presented with statements about human activities of the past and asked to hold up a sign that says “Believe it” or “Don’t Believe It.” After the instructor tells them whether the statement is true or not, the students are asked to hold up another sign that says “increases human carrying capacity” or “decreases human carrying capacity.” Statements pertain to agricultural practices, pollution, and over harvesting.

Grade Levels

Learning Objectives
1. List ways in which the actions of humans affect the number of humans the Earth can support
2. Analyze whether a given human activity will increase or decrease the human carrying capacity of Earth
3. Define the term “carrying capacity” and list its implications

Lesson Materials (view or download)
Lesson Plan

human impact, pollution, agriculture, discussion

Last updated: 3/9/2015