Human Impact on the Environment: Environmental Disasters Reading and Questions


Students learn about 10 of the worst environmental disasters that have occurred in recent history and how humans impacted their environment in negative ways.

Grades 7 and Up

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In this activity, students will:

  • READ about what happened and how the environment was affected during 10 major environmental disasters.
  • ANSWER text-dependent questions. No prior knowledge is required because all answers are found in the text.
  • COMPLETE a graphic organizer to summarize each incident discussed in the article.

Environmental incidents included are the:

  • Chernobyl nuclear disaster
  • Exxon Valdez oil spill
  • Union Carbide gas leak
  • Great smog of London
  • Lake Victoria pollution
  • Plus 5 more environmental incidents!

This resource is perfect as a SUB PLAN because:

  • The topic is engaging for kids and relates the science topic to the real world.
  • NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE is required – all the information kids need is included in the text.
  • Clear answer keys are included, making it easy for a sub to review.
  • Each article supports literacy, reading comprehension, and vocabulary the acquisition.
  • The lesson is NGSS-aligned.
  • No copies are needed! Use the included digital Google Slides version, if you’d like!
  • Using the paper version? Spend less time at the copier! The article is separate from the student worksheets, so you only need to make one class set of the reading. The reading can be reused class-class. Students only write on the worksheet portion.

Teacher Notes:

  • Please note: This resource is best suited for upper middle school or an introductory high school course.
  • Includes answer key.
  • This resource is NOT editable.


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