Science (2015) Grade(s): 6


Analyze evidence (e.g., databases on human populations, rates of consumption of food and other natural resources) to explain how changes in human population, per capita consumption of natural resources, and other human activities (e.g., land use, resource development, water and air pollution, urbanization) affect Earth’s systems.

Unpacked Content

Scientific and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts

Cause and Effect


Students know:
  • Increases in the size of the human population or in the per capita consumption of a given population cause increases in the consumption of natural resources.
  • Natural resources are any naturally occurring substances or features of the environment that, while not created by human effort, can be exploited by humans to satisfy their needs or wants.
  • Per capita consumption is the average use per person within a population.
  • Natural resource consumption causes changes in Earth systems.
  • Engineered solutions alter the effects of human populations on Earth systems by changing the rate of natural resource consumption or reducing the effects of changes in Earth systems.
  • All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.
  • The consequences of increases in human populations and consumption of natural resources are described by science, but science does not make the decisions for the actions society takes.


Students are able to:
  • Organize given evidence regarding changes in human population, changes in per capita consumption of natural resources, human activities, and Earth's systems to allow for analysis and interpretation.
  • Analyze the data to identify possible causal relationships between changes in human population, changes in per capita consumption of natural resources, human activities, and Earth's systems.
  • Interpret patterns observed from the data to provide causal accounts for events and make predictions for events by constructing explanations.


Students understand that:
  • Human population growth affects natural resource consumption and natural resource consumption has an effect on Earth systems; therefore, changes in human populations have a causal role in changing Earth systems.
  • Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.


  • Population
  • Per capita
  • Consumption
  • Natural resource
  • Environment
  • Earth's systems
  • Consequences