Lesson 6: Interacting with the Land

Getting Started

Stuff You Need

  • Geography of the World by DK Publishing
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Internet access or the opportunity for library research

Ideas to Think About

  • How do humans interact with and alter their natural environment?
  • How do the physical characteristics of an environment such as its landforms, water forms, and climate cycles influence the development of local cultures?

Things to Know

  • The environment provides natural resources that meet humans' basic needs: water, air, food, the raw materials needed for fuel and to make clothing, tools, housing, and other necessary and/or useful items.
  • Air, water, plants, animals, rocks, and minerals are all examples of natural resources.
  • Naturally occurring resources in the local environment can include both renewable resources and non-renewable resources.
  • The landforms, water forms, and climate of a region can determine the kinds of natural resources that are available for human use.


  • Know that natural resources, including water, can be limited and can be affected by human actions. (SS)
  • Explain how people adapt to, modify, and use their physical environments. (SS)
  • Discuss and analyze how humans influence erosion and deposition in local communities as a result of activities like clearing land, planting vegetation, or building dams or other water-altering structures. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

Let your child know that, in today's lesson, he'll learn more about the natural resources that humans draw from their environments to provide for their needs.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Geography of the World by DK Publishing
Read pages 14-15 in Geography of the World and then answer these questions.
  1. What factors influence the kinds of plant life that can exist in a particular region?
    Climate, landscape, and altitude all influence the plant and animal life that can exist in a particular region.
  2. Look at the map on page 15 and read about the different vegetation zones. Where on Earth are the zones with the lushest vegetation located?
    The dark green areas of the map show tropical rain forests. These exist in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and northern Australia.
  3. Which vegetation zones do you think would be the easiest to live in? Which would be the hardest?
    Answers may vary, but your child should note that it would be easiest to live in places where plants can thrive. Deserts and polar regions will create more challenges for human life than places like the tropical rain forest, temperate forest, or Mediterranean areas.