Grades 6-8

People and the Planet: Lessons for a Sustainable Future

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Resource Overview

Fully online, interdisciplinary curriculum helps middle school students understand the connections between human population growth, the environment, and our global family. Your students will tackle some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

People and the Planet covers concepts central to science, social studies, and math, while reinforcing skills in English Language Arts. Students explore contemporary issues like climate change, water scarcity, global wealth inequality, solid waste management, and more. Hands-on strategies keep students engaged, while emphasis on analysis and real-world problem solving make the activities an ideal match for addressing Common Core and NGSS standards, as well as the C3 Framework and National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

Includes 41 lesson plans and 18 student readings.

People and the Planet is an online lesson plan library for middle school teachers with contemporary global topics

Features of This Resource

  • Inspirational lessons give middle level students tools to see themselves as global change makers.
  • Summative assessments provided include service learning projects, PBLs, engineering challenges, and beyond.
  • Great for team-teaching and making cross-curricular connections.

Preview Lesson Plans & Readings

Sample a few of the lessons and readings found in the curriculum:

Lesson Plans

For the Common Good

- In two simulation games, students determine individual short-term consumption strategies that will maximize resources for the entire group.

People on the Move

- Students participate in a “push/pull” simulation to identify reasons people migrate from one place to another and analyze the similarities...

Population Future

- Students interpret a graph showing global population projections through 2100, then create gridded bar graphs to represent the relative size...

Secret Life of Stuff

- Students compare the life cycle stages of four everyday products in order to hypothesize which item has the lowest environmental...


The History of Us

- History of population growth background reading: Most human population growth has happened in the past 200 years. Students learn about...

The Human Footprint: Land

- Land use background reading: As population grows, we develop wild areas and arable land and overuse resources like soil, minerals,...