Human-Environment Interactions

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12185

When you walk, you leave footprints. Did you know people leave "footprints" in other ways? How we interact with our environment can affect it in good and bad ways. Learn what's going on in your area!



learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Look at the image above. Think about what this location might have looked like before humans began to inhabit it. How has the growth of the human population in the region changed the land and environment?

In this series, Themes of Geography, you have been studying the five themes of geography.

If you missed the Related Lessons on location or place, catch them in the right-hand sidebar.

So far, you have learned the first two themes of geography. Just take a few minutes to review what you have learned. Use the following image to help you answer the following questions:

  • What are the first two themes of geography? Make sure to define each term.
  • How would you describe the absolute and relative locations of the place pictured?
  • What is one physical and one human characteristic of the place pictured?

You can check your answers by clicking on the hot spots in the image below:

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If you struggled to answer any of the questions, make sure to go back and review the previous Related Lessons (right-hand sidebar), before moving forward with this lesson.

Now, you will review the third theme of geography. The third theme of geography is human-environment interactions. Human-environment interactions describes how humans adapt to and modify the land. Some human-environment interactions have negative effects. For example, humans construct factories that can be used to power the electricity in our homes and build cars and other modes of transportation. On the down side, factories often release chemicals and carbon that can contaminate water and make the air we breathe toxic.

  • What are some other ways human interactions have a negative effect on the environment?

Share your thoughts with your teacher or parent.

Not all human-environment interactions are bad. Some human-environment interactions have a positive impact on the environment. For example, many organizations plant trees and flowers throughout communities. Plants help to purify the air and beautify the land. Human groups also have created national parks and nature preserves where humans are prohibited from building and hunting. These areas help protect wildlife and endangered species.

  • What are some other ways humans positively interact with the environment?

Discuss your ideas with your teacher or parent.

Take a look at the picture from the beginning of the lesson (it is included below so you do not need to scroll back to the top of the page).

  • What are some examples of positive and negative human environment interactions you see in the city?

Check your answers by clicking on the hot spots:

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When you are finished examining the picture, move on to the Got It? section to take a look at more examples of positive and negative human-environment interactions.

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