Standard VII – Environmental Education Contents

Section I: Environment & Natural Resources…………………...2 • Natural Resources…………………………………………………2 • Water, Water, Everywhere………………………………………....2 • Water Pollution……………………………………………………2 • Urban Run-off & Pollution..……………………………………….3 • Just for Fun: Wacky Water Fact…………………………………....3 • Atmosphere: The Invisible Resource………………………………4 • Air Pollution……………………………………………………... .4 • Super Soil! ………………………………………………………...6 • Constituents of Soil………………………………………………..6 • More Than Just Dirt………………………………..………..….…6 • Just For Fun: Soil Facts……………………………………………7 • Soil in Trouble……………………………………………..…..…..7 • The Forest & The Trees…………………………………………...8 • Types of Forests…………………………………………………...8 • The Role of Forests………………………………………………..8 • Forests in Trouble…………………………………………………8 • Conservation of Forests: What Can We Do?. …………….………..9 Section II: Man & the Environment……………………..………10 • Adaptation in Plants & Animals…………………...…….….……..10 • Man’s Modifications………….…………………………………...10 • The Case [Study] of the Missing Ozone……………………...…....10 • Consequences of Human Activity: Group Activity….….……..…...11 Some Useful Websites……………………………………………12


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Natural Resources
Natural resources is a term used to describe a whole host of things (available from nature) that are needed or used by human beings. Natural resources include things like potatoes and paper, cotton and corn and fossil fuels and fish. Four of the most important natural resources are: Water, Air, Soil & Forests.

Water: What is it Good For?
Water is not only abundant, but, it is also absolutely essential to the survival of all living things on Earth. Water functions in many different ways and is used for a variety of things by all living things. List the different uses for water in the space below: 1. _Hint: To live in_ 4. ______________ 2. _______________ 3. _______________ 5. ______________ 6. ______________

Water, Water, Everywhere…
Sources of Water: The saying goes: water,  water,  everywhere, and nothing could be more true. Water is literally found everywhere on earth. Water exists between the rocks and in the rivers, it makes up 70% of the human body by weight and up to 4% of the atmosphere by volume. A breakdown of the main sources of water on earth is shown in the graph below. From the data it is easy to see that only 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and only 30% of that fresh water is readily available for human use and consumption. It is easy to see why WATER is such a precious commodity.
Distribution of Earth’s Water

Water Pollution
Have you ever wondered how water can get so polluted that we can’t drink it, swim in it or use it in any way? Many people blame factories for dumping pollutants into lakes, rivers & oceans. While industrial sources do contribute to our water pollution problems, they aren’t the only ones responsible. In one way or another, we all play a part in causing water pollution. Wherever there is human activity, there is usually pollution. The next table summarizes common water pollutants and their sources. Pollutant Sediment
(solid waste)

Agriculture, Construction, Urban Run-off, Mining Agriculture, Urban Runoff, Domestic Sources Domestic & Urban Source Agriculture Domestic Sources, Industry, Mining, Urban Run-off

Pesticides Detergents Fertilizers Toxic Chemicals


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Urban Run-off & Pollution
When it rains water runs down the street colleting all sort of waste and empties down storm drains or gutters, this is called Urban Run-Off. After the storm water and/or urban runoff flows into the gutters, it end up in the nearest creek, river, lake or ocean. This kind of pollution is one of the most common ways in which the waters around your city get polluted. Class Activity: The Urban Run-Off Experiment First take a short class trip around your school on a nice rainy day! Make a list of all the things on the street that collect in the storm water. Make a collection of things from your list. Improvise so you don’t have to pick things up off the street (In fact, please don’t). [ Example: Use oil as petrol or aluminium foil to simulate a can.] Create a street and a drain as shown below. - Use a piece of durable cardboard as the road. - Cut a hole in it and create a gutter. - Place the cardboard on an empty aquarium Keep it at a slight angle - Place your collection of object on the road - Carefully pour some water over the road and see what enters the fish tank. - Keep a tray at one end to collect the excess water
Gutter Run-off

How many of the pollutants present on the “street” end up in the fish tank (drain).

• Why do you think all of this pollution is

bad? What effect does it have on the water, aquatic ecologies and people?

• How would you go about making sure
your city’s water is free from urban runoff and street pollution?

• Try and see if you can clean the water

in the fish tank. Make a note of the techniques you use, and the pollutants that are particularly difficult to clean up.

Just for Fun: Wacky Water Facts
the world is 1.4 billion km3 This is more than one trillion gallons.

♦ The total water supply of

♦ In a 100-year period, an average water molecule spends 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice, about two weeks in lakes and rivers, & less than a week in the atmosphere. ♦ Water is the only substance on Earth found naturally in all three different states solid, liquid and gas. ♦ Human beings can survive over a month without food but only 5-7 days without water ♦ Your brain is 90% water! ♦ The Earth has the same amount of water today as it did 3 billion years ago. 3

Road fish tank Pollutants

Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Atmosphere: The Invisible Resource
What is the Atmosphere? The atmosphere is a layer of gases that surround the Earth and are retained by the its gravity. The atmosphere extends over a thousand kilometres** into space and is divided into several layers. The troposphere is the lowest of these layers and contains over 70% of the mass of the atmosphere. The troposphere is also responsible for most of the world’s weather patterns. Next is the stratosphere which is composed of ozone that absorbs most of the sun’s UV rays. These two layers are then followed by the mesosphere, the ionosphere and exosphere – these layers contain barely any gases and are extremely rarefied.
** The size of the atmosphere and its different layers vary from source to source and also physically change over the course of time.

The Atmospheric Composition The Earth’s atmosphere contains roughly 78% nitrogen (N2) and 21% oxygen (O2), with trace amounts of some other gases, including, carbon dioxide (CO2), Water vapour (H2O), Argon, Helium, Hydrogen, and Methane. This mixture of gases is commonly known as AIR. Why is the Atmosphere so Important? Life on Earth would be impossible without the atmosphere. This blanket of air absorbs the energy from the Sun, recycles water and other chemicals & works with the electrical and magnetic forces to provide a moderate climate. The atmosphere also protects us from high-energy radiation from the Sun & the frigid vacuum of space.

Air Pollution
Air pollution is the dirtying of the air by toxic chemicals, dust, gases and particles released by some kind of human activity. This form of pollution adversely affects human health and the functioning of the ecosystem. The major sources of air pollution are cars, trucks and buses, waste incinerators, factories, and power plants, especially those that burn fossil fuels, such as coal. Can you name some of the major air pollutants? If you need help just look out your window. How can people reduce the amount of air pollution?


Layers of Atmosphere Reference: NOAA


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
GROUP ACTIVITY: “LOOKING” AT VISUAL AIR QUALITY The moment you step outside you can actually see the air getting polluted; a cloud of smoke from the exhaust of a bus; smog billowing from a factory, a group of people smoking near the bhelwala, or dust from road work. Pollution is absolutely everywhere & its pretty easy to see in a city like Mumbai. Aim: To record how clearly you can see (visual clarity) a particular landmark (target) from a fixed location over a period of a number of days. Assumption: Visual clarity is affected by the amount of air pollution in the city. Selecting locations and targets: The entire class should pick one location from which to look out over the city. Make sure the location is high up and gives you a nice unobstructed view. The roof balcony of your school is a good choice. Next, break up into groups and each group pick a “target” that is visible from the chosen location. A target can be anything from a hill to a famous monument. Make sure the targets are at different distances. For example, if group 1 chooses a building 5 kms away, group 2 may choose a bridge 30 kms away. Method: ♦ If possible, take a picture of your target everyday for 12 school days.

♦ At the en of the study period display the
photographs from the study. Pick days which show the greatest visual contrast. Attach a map to show the target sites in relation to the set location and to each other.

♦ Pool all your data and see if you can learn
anything about pollution in your city and how/why it changes over time. Scale: How well can you see your target? 1 2 3 4 5 6
Cannot See


Very clear

Rate the overall air quality. 1 2 3 4 5


Very good

How cloudy is it? 1 2 3
Very cloudy





What is the weather like at the target site? 1 2 3 4 5
Sunny In shadow Overcast 3 Windy Raining Foggy

How Windy is it?
1 Calm 2 Light breeze 4 Strong wind

♦ Rate the visual clarity using the scale below ♦ Record the weather for each day to make
sure your assessment is NOT influenced by bright sunshine or cloud cover, instead of air pollution.

Good Luck and have Fun!


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Super Soil !
Soil is a material that is essential to all life on Earth. Without it we would be homeless and starving. Although we rarely notice the soils around us, we rely on them to produce our food, clothing and shelter; to clean our water; to play on and in, and as a solid base for our buildings. So What exactly is Soil? Soil is made from rocks (parent material) that break apart or wear away over many years, this process is referred to as weathering. It can take 100’s to 1,000’s years for 1 cm of soil to form through weathering. In addition to the weathered rock, soils also contains air, water, and humus. Soil is divided into 4 main layers or horizons. The ‘O’ horizon consists of living material & humus. The next horizon, the ‘A’ horizon, is the top soil. The top soil is usually darker & consists of minerals & roots. The ‘B’ horizon or subsoil is next and is followed by the and the parent rock or ‘C’ horizon.

Constituents of Soil
Soil can be divided into 5 main parts:

♦ Humus: This soil is a dark, moist material
composed of dead, decaying insects, animals, leaves, roots, sticks, and food. Humus adds nutrients to the soil which plants need to grow and live.

♦ Clay: a soil that holds water. When wet,
clay feels slippery and slimy. It is made of particles that are smaller than 0.004 mm.

♦ Silt: looks like fine grains or tiny pieces of
rock. Soil particles classified as silt measure from 0.004 mm to 0.006 mm.

♦ Sand: is coarse and drains quickly & particles measure from 0.006 mm to 2.00 mm. ♦ Gravel: Visible rock particles or pebbles.
NOTE: Loam is a soil made up of relatively equal portions of sand, clay and silt.

More Than Just Dirt
Soil acts as a… Sponge: soaks up rainwater & reduces run-off Spigot : turns water flow on & off Snare : traps nutrients and pollutants alike Strainer : filters and purifies water Sanctuary: home to living things (e.g.: worms) Supermarket : supplies nutrients to plants & ultimately to us What kinds of things live in the soil? Dig up some soil & bring it to class, look at it under a microscope & see what you can find.

( Source: USDA )


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Soils of India
Class Assignment – State Soils
To the Teacher: Assign a State to each group

Identify the different kinds of soils in your state using this map. What are these soils used for & how has human activity endangered them?

Map Legend

Source: Survey of India

Just for Fun: Soil Facts ♦ A single spade full of rich garden soil contains more species of organisms than can be found above ground in the entire Amazon rain forest ♦ The weight of all the bacteria in one acre of soil can equal the weight of a cow or two!!! . ♦ Earthworms move soil from lower layers up to the surface & move organic matter from the surface to lower layers. Active earthworms can turn over the top 6 in of soil in 10 to 20 yrs.

Soil in Trouble
Erosion is a natural process but its one of the worst things that can happen to soil. Erosion is the loss of soil from the land. It is usually eroded by the wind or water but in many cases it is expedited by human intervention and mismanagement of land. Can you spot causes of soil erosion in your neighbourhood? Can you think of ways of reducing soil erosion? Why is soil erosion so bad?


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
The Forest & The Trees
Robin hood lived in Sherwood forest, Tarzan swung around in the forests of Africa and we all know about Mogli & his jungle adventures. But what are forests? The term forest, jungle or wood all refer to the same complex & dynamic environment. These environments are usually filled with living things, flowers, ferns, mosses, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and even fish. But the dominant feature of all forests is trees, lots and lots of trees.

The Role of Forests
Before we can learn about how to conserve forests we must understand why they are such an important natural resource. Forest Function Fill in the Blanks: To begin with, forests are a ______ for many different plants & ________. Creatures such as __________, birds and reptiles depend on the forests for _____ & shelter. Forests also act as the ______ of the Earth. Forests around the world are supposed to provide about 40% of the world’s _________. The third main function of forests is to act as reservoirs of ________. Next, forests play an important role in the _________ and storage of soil. ________ decompose leaves and dead animals to create __________. Finally, forests are the source of many resources needed by _______. These resources include _______ from trees, medicines like _______ and food like ________ and _______ beans.
food, aspirin, oxygen, humus, home, lungs, mammals, water, animals, cocao, formation, humans, microbes, timber, mangoes

Types of Forests
The type of forest is decided by the location and the climate of the forest and the types of trees found in that forest. There are three main types of forest: Equatorial/Tropical Forests: usually found in hot, wet climates in the tropical parts of the world. These forests remain green all year round & the trees all have broad thick leaves Deciduous Forests: are usually found in temperate climates with distinct dry & wet seasons. Trees have broad leaves & shed their leaves at least once during the year. Coniferous Forests: These forests are also green all year round but they are found in colder climates and the trees usually have small needle shaped leaves Create a map of India and show where all the different forests are located. (Don’t restrict yourself to the categories above) Are there any forests in your city? What kinds of forest are they ? Visit one of these forests & make a list of the trees you see. How much of the land in India is covered in forests?

Use the words below to help you out:

Forests in Trouble
Forests all around the world are being threatened and destroyed by human activity. Deforestation is caused by unsustainable harvesting of forests for timber & clearing of forests for agriculture & development. Forests are also being destroyed by acid rain, global warming and pollution. This dramatic decrease in the world’s forest cover & biodiversity is a very serious problem and we each need to take responsibility to protect this natural resource.


Standard VII – Section I: Environment & Natural Resources
Conservation of Forests: What Can We Do?
To prevent the loss of the world’s forests we can… ♦ Stop polluting the soil and water that form an integral part of the forest ♦ Reduce our consumption of materials that require the destruction of forests (e.g.: timber) ♦ Recycle and reuse paper, large sections of forest are lost to produce it! ♦ Save energy, forests are lost during mining for oil and coal which are used to produce electricity ♦ Not buy products made from endangered animals (e.g.: ivory) ♦ If you use timber, make sure it comes from plantations & not old growth/tropical forests. GROUP ACTIVITY: GROW A FOREST – FUNDRAISER Create a beautiful forest on your own school walls and raise some money to donate to an environmental group or NGO at the same time. 1. Begin by making leaves, branches, stems and trunks out of old or recycled paper. 2. Ask your friends & family to help by buying a leaf 3. Don’t forget to ask local businesses to contribute to your forest by buying a leaf 4. Write the names of each donor on a leaf 6. Make sure each of you writes your name on a leaf too, you deserve it for all this hard work. 7. Display the branches and leaves on your school walls 8. Hurray! You’ve just grown your own forest. GROUP ACTIVITY: JUNGLE JUMBLE Find these words in the jumble of letters below. Be sure to look up, down, across and diagonally!
Acid Rain Baobab Bark Branch Broadleaved Carbondioxide Coal Cone Coniferous Cork Deciduous Evergreen Fruit Fuel Jungle Leaves Maple Seeds Medicine Soil Oak Temperate Oxygen Timber Paper Photosynthesis Pine Tree Rainforests Tropical Recycle Trunk Resin Twigs Roots Woods Rubber Sap Saplings

Secret Message: When you’ve found all the words, go through the grid line by line & circle all the left over letters in a different colour & then write each letter down in order to find out what the left over letters spell.


Standard VII – Section II: Man & Environment
Adaptation in Plants and Animals
The term adaptation refers to a process of change in an organism's (a living thing’s) physical and/or genetic structure or its habits that allow it to adjust to its surrounding environment. • Polar bears have developed fur and fat as an adaptation to the cold weather of the Arctic • Cacti have developed spindly leaves to protect them from the dry climate of the deserts While most living things have changed some aspect of themselves to suit their environment, Humans beings are the only species, today, that consistently changes the environment to protect themselves and meet their growing needs.

The Case [Study] of the missing Ozone
The hole in the Ozone layer is major example of how human beings have modified their environment with catastrophic results. Explore the tale of the Missing Ozone. Ozone: is a thin layer of atmosphere that protects people from the harmful effects of the sun. The ozone layer reaches heights of up to 20 miles above the earth and wraps all the way around the Earth, and blocks the sun's dangerous ultraviolet (UV), rays from reaching us. The Problem: The ozone layer's big enemy is the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). The chlorine present in CFCs break down ozone molecules. Without the ozone layer the harmful UV rays of the sun can damage plants & cause skin cancer in humans. What are CFCs: CFCs are chemicals and are used in manufacturing, cleaning the inside of computers and to make plastic foam containers. We also use CFCs inside refrigerators and ACs to produce cold air. The Situation Right Now: There's a hole over almost all of Antarctica and the ozone layer is thinning over areas like Australia and North America that are inhabited by people. As young Farley, a writer for the “Daily Requirement”, your editor calls you to his office. Continue the comic strip shown on the next page and send Farley on the trail of the Missing Ozone, visit scientists, engineers and doctors on you quest to find out more about the ozone hole and why its such a big issue. Also look into ways to solve the problem.

Man’s Modification
The earth has been home to many pristine environments at different points in time but this all changed when man thought that he could improve on nature. What we do with the environment today effects the environment tomorrow and these changes are reflected in the modifications man has made in his environment. These modifications include activates such as agriculture, deforestation and development. Create your own definition of the term Adaptation Look at different ways in which plants (5) and animals (5) ADAPT to their own unique environments Identify FIVE ways in which human beings have modified the environment in your city to facilitate their lifestyle and meet their needs.


Standard VII – Section II: Man & Environment
The Case [Study] of the missing Ozone

Consequences of Human Activities: Group Assignment
As we have seen in the case of the ozone layer, human activity has a variety of consequences (usually, very bad ones) on the environment. Activities like mining, farming, industrilisation and urbanisation have severe effects on Earth’s forests, oceans, wetlands & biodiversity. Did you know??? 14 of India’s major rivers, 55 of her minor rivers and 100’s of her small rivers receive millions of litres of sewage, industrial & agricultural waste & their water is unfit to drink. Divide into 6 groups, each group should contain between 4 and 6 students. [ To the teacher: Assign each group one of the following topics.] Create a presentation, on your group topic, to be given in class. Your presentation must be told, not read and it must be accompanied by visual aides Topics: 1. Report on the different types of energy and decide which type is the most friendly to the environment.

2. Choose one mineral and report on what is being done to develop substitutes for this mineral or the recycling of this mineral. 3. Investigate soil and report on the following:
a. How human activity has polluted it? b. Why this activity could causes a decline in supporting life? c. How this polluting activity has changed the quality of the soil? d. What are the ways to protect the soil, and use it without polluting it?

4. Investigate air and answer a, b, c, d from

5. Investigate air and answer a, b, c, d from

6. Report on the role the destruction of the mangroves played in the floods in your city and look at ways of protecting this forest.


Standard VIII – Some Useful Websites
Food & Agriculture Organisation of the U.N
This UN site contains information on forests and pollution United States Department of Agriculture - NRCS (USDA)
Information on water, soil and pollution from the Natural Resources Conservation Survey Ministry of Environment & Forests (India)
A government of India website that has information on forests and forest conservation in India, as well as current environmental policies and laws. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (India – Maharashtra)
Information on air and water pollution in the city. U.S Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.A)
Information on air, soil, water forests, wildlife, environmental issues, pollution and conservation. Eco Kids (Canada)
Information, games and activities on forests U.S Geological Survey (U.S.A)
Information on water and soil National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.A)
Information on water and atmospheric resources Tata Energy Resources Institute (TERI) – EduGreen
Information, games and quizzes for students on air and water pollution.