advice, Creative Corner, Homeschooling, School

How Do Humans Impact the Environment? Mackenzie’s Grade 6 SS Project

*and a plug for iMotion, the iPhone and iPad app 

How Do Humans Impact the Environment?

This is a BIG QUESTION for students in upper elementary and middle years.  

In our home, this question started with a simple conversation or brainstorm … my grade 6 daughter and I were outside, and I prompted her with the question …  

How do humans impact the environment?  

When she wasn’t quite sure what to say, I prompted her further … this land, where we’re standing in this yard right now, it wouldn’t have been like this 100 years ago … 

How do humans impact the environment? 

“Well, they build things,” she said. 

“You’re right!” I responded, pushing further, “Like what?”  

And we were off …  

Humans build things like houses and outbuildings and fences (something we had just added to our “farm”). They build businesses and shops and cabins and roads … the list seemed to go on and on. 

Beyond this, she added these “impacts” … 

  • pollution – cars, the mill … “basically any building will put off pollution,” she added, “which causes global warming / climate change” (something we had discussed earlier this school year) 
  • “Building houses and all of those other things could affect the animals.” I think she’s right 🙂
  • littering 
  • garbage dumps 
  • harvesting natural resources (like chopping down trees for Weyerhaeuser) 

New question … are there any GOOD ways that humans impact the environment? 

She listed these things: 

  • picking garbage 
  • planting more trees 
  • composting 
  • recycling 

She thought maybe people producing their own food would be a good thing too, because there would be less transporting of food (and therefore, less pollution) … pointing to her new chicken coop. *This could definitely be explored and discussed further.

From here, I challenged her to “show her understanding” of how humans impact the environment in some way.  

Art is “the way in” for this girl, so I challenged her to create a stop motion video using LEGO (secretly covering some drama outcomes as well, I hoped). We brewed up a “scenario” together, and she got to work.  

First, she gathered and built the LEGO creations, then she used iMotion (a free stop motion app) to take photos and put the video together. Her next step was transferring the stop motion from iMotion to iMovie on her laptop. Here, she was able to add in a title page, play with transitions, add music, edit filters, and the like. *This was the NEXT STEP, but not a necessary step for iMotion beginners.*

And this is “where” I was really proud of her … she figured out how to do all of this iMovie stuff via trial and error or by doing YouTube searches for quick how tos.  

Here is the link to the final product she created (just 56 seconds, but HOURS of behind-the-scenes work): 

How Humans Impact the Environment 

I recommend watching it a few times to “catch” it all.

I’ve also spent a few minutes here and there playing with iMotion. It’s been a fun journey so far …  

Here, my dog ripped up a pool noodle and I “quickly” picked it up …

And, here, my daughter Madilyn played around with writing her name in chalk …

Mackenzie tells me that my iMotion movies would be MUCH better if I used a tripod (they wouldn’t jump around so much). I will definitely consider this with my future iMotion creations (and you should too). 

Overall, I REALLY think iMotion is a very quick and easy way to get started with your stop motion journey. Creations can be easily exported to your photo library, then distributed however one prefers after that!  

I can’t wait to see what you create!  

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