Safety and security are basic needs of humans. Safety involves freedom from danger, risk, or injury. Security involves feelings of confidence and lack of anxiety and fear. Student understandings include following safety rules for home and school, preventing abuse and neglect, avoiding injury, knowing whom to ask for help, and when and how to say no.
Individuals have some responsibility for their own health. Students should engage in personal care—dental hygiene, cleanliness, and exercise—that will maintain and improve health. Understandings include how communicable diseases, such as colds, are transmitted and some of the body's defense mechanisms that prevent or overcome illness.
Nutrition is essential to health. Students should understand how the body uses food and how various foods contribute to health. Recommendations for good nutrition include eating a variety of foods, eating less sugar, and eating less fat.
Different substances can damage the body and how it functions. Such substances include tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter medicines, and illicit drugs. Students should understand that some substances, such as prescription drugs, can be beneficial, but that any substance can be harmful if used inappropriately.
Characteristics and Changes in Populations
Human populations include groups of individuals living in a particular location. One important characteristic of a human population is the population density—the number of individuals of a particular population that lives in a given amount of space.
The size of a human population can increase or decrease. Populations will increase unless other factors such as disease or famine decrease the population.
Types of Resources
Resources are things that we get from the living and nonliving environment to meet the needs and wants of a population.
Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil; some are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials; and some resources are nonmaterial, such as quiet places, beauty, security, and safety.
The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use.
Changes in Environments
Environments are the space, conditions, and factors that affect an individual's and a population's ability to survive and their quality of life.
Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.
Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly. Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods.
Science and Technology in Local Challenges
People continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done. New ideas and inventions often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad. It is helpful to try to determine in advance how ideas and inventions will affect other people.
Science and technology have greatly improved food quality and quantity, transportation, health, sanitation, and communication. These benefits of science and technology are not available to all of the people in the world.
For Grades: 5-8
Regular exercise is important to the maintenance and improvement of health. The benefits of physical fitness include maintaining healthy weight, having energy and strength for routine activities, good muscle tone, bone strength, strong heart/lung systems, and improved mental health. Personal exercise, especially developing cardiovascular endurance, is the foundation of physical fitness.
The potential for accidents and the existence of hazards imposes the need for injury prevention. Safe living involves the development and use of safety precautions and the recognition of risk in personal decisions. Injury prevention has personal and social dimensions.
The use of tobacco increases the risk of illness. Students should understand the influence of short-term social and psychological factors that lead to tobacco use, and the possible long-term detrimental effects of smoking and chewing tobacco.
Alcohol and other drugs are often abused substances. Such drugs change how the body functions and can lead to addition.
Food provides energy and nutrients for growth and development. Nutrition requirements vary with body weight, age, sex, activity, and body functioning.
Sex drive is a natural human function that requires understanding. Sex is also a prominent means of transmitting diseases. The diseases can be prevented through a variety of precautions.
Natural environments may contain substances (for example, radon and lead) that are harmful to human beings. Maintaining environmental health involves establishing or monitoring quality standards related to use of soil, water, and air.
Populations, Resources and Environments
When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to the increased use of resources.
Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from country to country.
Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, and even possible impacts of asteroids.
Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.
Natural hazards can present personal and societal challenges because misidentifying the change or incorrectly estimating the rate and scale of change may result in either too little attention and significant human costs or too much cost for unneeded preventive measures.
Risks and Benefits
Risk analysis considers the type of hazard and estimates the number of people that might be exposed and the number likely to suffer consequences. The results are used to determine the options for reducing or eliminating risks.
Students should understand the risks associated with natural hazards (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions), with chemical hazards (pollutants in air, water, soil, and food), with biological hazards (pollen, viruses, bacterial, and parasites), social hazards (occupational safety and transportation), and with personal hazards (smoking, dieting, and drinking).
Individuals can use a systematic approach to thinking critically about risks and benefits. Examples include applying probability estimates to risks and comparing them to estimated personal and social benefits.
Important personal and social decisions are made based on perceptions of benefits and risks.
Science and Technology in Society
Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.
Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding for research.
Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development.
Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history. Science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and groups within societies.
Scientists and engineers work in many different settings, including colleges and universities, businesses and industries, specific research institutes, and government agencies.
Scientists and engineers have ethical codes requiring that human subjects involved with research be fully informed about risks and benefits associated with the research before the individuals choose to participate. This ethic extends to potential risks to communities and property. In short, prior knowledge and consent are required for research involving human subjects or potential damage to property.
Science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs. Students should understand the difference between scientific and other questions. They should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do. For example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.
For Grades: 9-12
Personal and Community Health
Hazards and the potential for accidents exist. Regardless of the environment, the possibility of injury, illness, disability, or death may be present. Humans have a variety of mechanisms—sensory, motor, emotional, social, and technological—that can reduce and modify hazards.
The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease-producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.
Personal choice concerning fitness and health involves multiple factors. Personal goals, peer and social pressures, ethnic and religious beliefs, and understanding of biological consequences can all influence decisions about health practices.
An individual's mood and behavior may be modified by substances. The modification may be beneficial or detrimental depending on the motives, type of substance, duration of use, pattern of use, level of influence, and short- and long-term effects. Students should understand that drugs can result in physical dependence and can increase the risk of injury, accidents, and death.
Selection of foods and eating patterns determine nutritional balance. Nutritional balance has a direct effect on growth and development and personal well-being. Personal and social factors—such as habits, family income, ethnic heritage, body size, advertising, and peer pressure—influence nutritional choices.
Families serve basic health needs, especially for young children. Regardless of the family structure, individuals have families that involve a variety of physical, mental, and social relationships that influence the maintenance and improvement of health.
Sexuality is basic to the physical, mental, and social development of humans. Students should understand that human sexuality involves biological functions, psychological motives, and cultural, ethnic, religious, and technological influences. Sex is a basic and powerful force that has consequences to individuals' health and to society. Students should understand various methods of controlling the reproduction process and that each method has a different type of effectiveness and different health and social consequences.
Populations grow or decline through the combined effects of births and deaths, and through emigration and immigration. Populations can increase through linear or exponential growth, with effects on resource use and environmental pollution.
Various factors influence birth rates and fertility rates, such as average levels of affluence and education, importance of children in the labor force, education and employment of women, infant mortality rates, costs of raising children, availability and reliability of birth control methods, and religious beliefs and cultural norms that influence personal decisions about family size.
Populations can reach limits to growth. Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals that can be supported in a given environment. The limitation is not the availability of space, but the number of people in relation to resources and the capacity of earth systems to support human beings. Changes in technology can cause significant changes, either positive or negative, in carrying capacity.
Human populations use resources in the environment in order to maintain and improve their existence. Natural resources have been and will continue to be used to maintain human populations.
The earth does not have infinite resources; increasing human consumption places severe stress on the natural processes that renew some resources, and it depletes those resources that cannot be renewed.
Humans use many natural systems as resources. Natural systems have the capacity to reuse waste, but that capacity is limited. Natural systems can change to an extent that exceeds the limits of organisms to adapt naturally or humans to adapt technologically.
Natural ecosystems provide an array of basic processes that affect humans. Those processes include maintenance of the quality of the atmosphere, generation of soils, control of the hydrologic cycle, disposal of wastes, and recycling of nutrients. Humans are changing many of these basic processes, and the changes may be detrimental to humans.
Materials from human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles of the earth.
Many factors influence environmental quality. Factors that students might investigate include population growth, resource use, population distribution, overconsumption, the capacity of technology to solve problems, poverty, the role of economic, political, and religious views, and different ways humans view the earth.
Natural and Human-Induced Hazards
Normal adjustments of earth may be hazardous for humans. Humans live at the interface between the atmosphere driven by solar energy and the upper mantle where convection creates changes in the earth's solid crust. As societies have grown, become stable, and come to value aspects of the environment, vulnerability to natural processes of change has increased.
Human activities can enhance potential for hazards. Acquisition of resources, urban growth, and waste disposal can accelerate rates of natural change.
Some hazards, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and severe weather, are rapid and spectacular. But there are slow and progressive changes that also result in problems for individuals and societies. For example, change in stream channel position, erosion of bridge foundations, sedimentation in lakes and harbors, coastal erosions, and continuing erosion and wasting of soil and landscapes can all negatively affect society.
Natural and human-induced hazards present the need for humans to assess potential danger and risk. Many changes in the environment designed by humans bring benefits to society, as well as cause risks. Students should understand the costs and trade-offs of various hazards—ranging from those with minor risk to a few people to major catastrophes with major risk to many people. The scale of events and the accuracy with which scientists and engineers can (and cannot) predict events are important considerations.
Science and Technology in Local, National and Global Challenges
Science and technology are essential social enterprises, but alone they can only indicate what can happen, not what should happen. The latter involves human decisions about the use of knowledge.
Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science- and technology-related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges.
Progress in science and technology can be affected by social issues and challenges. Funding priorities for specific health problems serve as examples of ways that social issues influence science and technology.
Individuals and society must decide on proposals involving new research and the introduction of new technologies into society. Decisions involve assessment of alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits and consideration of who benefits and who suffers, who pays and gains, and what the risks are and who bears them. Students should understand the appropriateness and value of basic questions—"What can happen?"—"What arethe odds?"—and "How do scientists and engineers know what will happen?"
Humans have a major effect on other species. For example, the influence of humans on other organisms occurs through land use—which decreases space available to other species—and pollution—which changes the chemical composition of air, soil, and water.