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What is Nature's Carrying Capacity?
- Sustainable Development

DURATION: 5 to 6 classes
DESCRIPTION: Students will study the theory that social development must occur at a rate that can be supported by nature; otherwise such development will result in negative effects upon nature and upon the environment.

GOALS: From studying examples of sustainable development, students will:

  1. understand the 'carrying capacity' of nature, in any area/region/place, will effect the quality of man's lifestyle (e.g., food supplies, usable water supplies, soil types);
  2. appreciate the natural resources found in an area/region/place and ways these resources improve the quality of life for human inhabitants;
  3. understand the need for inhabitants of built-up environments (cities, neighborhoods, towns, villages) to embrace 'stewardship' practices that guarantee available resources for future generations.

OBJECTIVES: Students will:

  1. define selected vocabulary and incorporate into writings and presentations;
  2. read about 'carrying capacity', natural resources, built environments, culture traits;
  3. write about 'carrying capacity, natural resources, built environments, culture traits;
  4. use globes and maps to locate natural resource areas, built environments, natural environments, etc;
  5. build model communities - representing types of architecture, areas of economic activity, open spaces, residential zones, etc;
  6. create bulletin board displays;
  7. research selected topics;
  8. question guest speakers;
  9. use a variety of print/nonprint and Internet resources;
  10. conduct oral history interviews;
  11. work cooperatively in groups;
  12. use cameras and videotape equipment to collect data.


  • digital cameras, videotape equipment and tapes
  • audio tape recorders and tapes
  • globes and maps
  • print resources (books, magazines, newspapers)
  • audiovisual presentations (films, filmstrips, still photographs, slides, audio tapes, videos)
  • community resources (people, places, things, events, processes)


Students will visit local/area places and sites in order to gain first-hand knowledge regarding topics/situations related to Sustainable Development.

Audiovisual presentations will be used to introduce/expose students to issues related to 'carrying capacity', culture traits, lifestyles, natural resources, and built environments on a (distant) global scale.

Interacting with community resource people, students will acquire information pertaining to Sustainable Development issues/topics and policies in the local community, and will conduct research activities at field-based sites.

Guest speakers, print materials, Internet resources, audiovisual presentations, 'television-in-the-classroom' presentations, etc. will introduce students to types of built environments, on a global scale, and discuss/depict the impact of natural environments on human activities and lifestyles.

As a result of these activities, students will become advantaged, better informed about contemporary and historical issues and events in their lives/in their community - as a result of varied experiences and access to knowledge/skills acquisition, application, reinforcement, and refinement.


Students will demonstrate their ability to::

  1. write about selected issues/topics,
  2. create audio/visual presentations,
  3. conduct field-based research,
  4. collect data,
  5. create research reports,
  6. demonstrate globe/maps skills,
  7. create bulletin board displays,
  8. talk about selected issues/topics,
  9. conduct interviews - as part of an oral history project.

Helpful Reading: World's Boreal Forests: Management & Sustainability

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