School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 3

Skills and Processes | Earth/Space | Life | Chemistry | Physics | Environmental

Standard 6.0 Environmental Science
Students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the interactions of environmental factors (living and non-living) and analyze their impact from a local to a global perspective.


The environmental science standard presents a balance of environmental, economic, and social perspectives. All learners are expected to achieve environmental literacy and to develop an appreciation for the range of issues and diverse positions about the environment that face the human population and need to be addressed. The world we live in has been shaped in many important ways by human action. We have created technological options to prevent, eliminate, or lessen threats to life and the environment and to fulfill social needs. We have dammed rivers and cleared forests, made new materials and machines, covered vast areas with cities and highways, and sometimes decided the fate of many other living things. Analyzing issues requires use of knowledge from a variety of disciplines (Life Science, Chemistry, Physics) and topics within these disciplines (Flow of Matter and Energy, Structure of Matter, Energy) that students have studied. The indicators and objectives within the Environmental Science standard assume that the use of appropriate previous knowledge and a synthesis of ideas learned will inform a student's perspective or position taken on any investigated issue.

During the early years, students' environmental science experiences include identifying Earth's natural resources and recognizing how much they depend on these resources. They become aware that their use of resources has an affect on them and changes somewhat their immediate environment. In the intermediate grades, students investigate instances of events that cause significant environmental change(s) such as urban growth, waste disposal, land-use, and resource depletion. They observe the changes, identify possible cause(s) of the changes and then analyze benefits/drawbacks of human behaviors that could enhance or diminish a positive or negative environmental impact. In middle school, students broaden their understanding of the powerful consequences of human behavior on not only their local and regional environments but also globally. They recognize the difficulties associated with the uneven distribution of resources around the world and with decisions made regarding the use or redistribution of these resources. They grow more aware of the potential negative human impact on naturally occurring events such as flooding, beach and soil erosion, forest fires, and extinction of species—making the effects of these events even more devastating. Students investigate the near- and long-term impact of an increasing human population measured against a depleting store of resources and discuss possible ways to abate negative effects.