Land, Water, and Human Interactions

  • Land, Water, and Human Interactions

Land, Water, and Human Interaction 

Important Concepts/ Key Terms


Human impact: the effect on living organisms and their nonliving environment due to human activity


Evidence: information that supports or refutes a claim


Trade-off: a desirable outcome given up to gain another desirable outcome (disadvantage)


Dissolve: when particles of one substance mix evenly into the particles of another substance


Water quality: a measure of the condition of the water based on its characteristics


Indicator: any visible sign that shows the condition of the system being studied


Correlation: a measure of how well one set of data relates to another


Causal relationships: when one factor causes an effect on another factor (the first event is the cause and the result is the effect)


Model: any representation of a system or its components used to help understand and communicate how it works


Macroinvertebrates: Animals without backbones that are large enough to see without magnification


Nutrients:  chemicals that an organism takes in from its environment to use as a source of energy or as building blocks for growth


Groundwater: water that is found underground in spaces and cracks in the earth


Runoff: excess rainfall, melted snow, or irrigation water that flows across the ground


Contaminant: Any physical, chemical, or biological substance in water


Dead zone: A near-shore area of water with little or no dissolved oxygen and, therefore, very few organisms


Sediments: Small pieces of earth materials such as rocks, shells, and other debris.


Criteria: A minimum requirement for how the design must function


Constraints: In engineering design, some-thing that limits the solution to a problem


Water Cycle: When water moves all around the earth.  Water evaporates from the oceans into water vapor.  Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses to form the tiny water droplets in clouds.  Clouds release the water, and it falls back to earth as rain, snow, or hail. This movement is the water cycle.  Heat from the sun drives the water cycle. 

Water: Water can be found on the earth as a liquid, solid, and a gas. 

    • Solid: Sometimes water is frozen solid and falls to the earth as snow, ice, or hail.

    • Liquid: water is in the form of a liquid when it is raining or flows in a river or in the ocean.

    • Gas: When water is in the form of gas, you cannot usually see it, but you can sometimes feel it.  When water is in the form of a gas it is fog or water vapor.


Melting: The process of a solid (such as ice) gaining heat energy to become a liquid (such as water).


Evaporating:The process of a liquid (such as water) gaining heat energy to become a gas (such as water vapor).


Condensing: The process of a gas (such as water vapor) losing heat energy to become a liquid (such as water). 


Freezing: the process of a liquid (such as water) losing heat energy to become a solid (such a ice).


Monitor: measure or keep track of


Mitigate: lessen the impact of


Topography: the collection of landforms in an area


Topographic map: a flat, two dimensional map that is a model of the actual three-dimensional shape of a land surface


Contour lines: lines on a topographic map that represent specific elevations relative to sea level


Destructive process: an earth process that breaks down material (ex. Water eroding a hiillside)


Constructive process: a process that builds up earth material (ex. The deposition of sediments in a delta)


Weathering: earth process that breaks down rocks into smaller pieces


Erosion: The removal of sediments from an area. Common causes of erosion are gravity and moving water, wind, and ice.


Deposition: Sediments that settle out of the flowing water, ice, or winds and drop to the ground due to slowing water 


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Interactions: Student Activity Links


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