Science Information and Library Services (SILS)

Teaching Guide


Land and People: Finding a Balance is an environmental study project that engages high school students in studying earth science resource issues. The project focuses on the interaction between people and the environment in three regions of the United States: Cape Cod, Los Angeles, and the Everglades. Each section of this project is devoted to one of the three regions.

Contents of This Packet

How to Use This Packet

The Teaching Guide provides an overview of the project as well as a list of references for teachers, by region. The references cited in this list were used as background information for the sections of the Packet.

The poster presents a variety of visual images from each region with explanatory text about each one. Use the poster to begin a general discussion about human impact on the environment as well as to discuss the specific consequences of human actions in each region.

Each section contains a set of student materials and a set of teacher materials for either Cape Cod, the Everglades, or Los Angeles. Each section is divided into two parts: "For the Student" and "For the Teacher." The student materials present students with a Focus Question to answer and also provide them with several types of information they should use to answer the question. Student materials include some or all of the following:

  • a reading about the region
  • a description of the "Interested Parties" so students can role-play as they answer the Focus Question
  • maps
  • population data
  • geologic information
  • water use data
  • photographs

The teacher materials include a brief explanation of what students will learn as they work on answering the Focus Question and a description of what form their answer might take. The teacher materials also present three Activities that will help students answer the Focus Question. Each Activity clearly describes what students will need to complete the Activity, explains the procedure, and in some cases, suggests extension activities. Any maps or other information students will use to complete the Activities are included in the teacher materials.

The sections can be studied in any order. A class could complete all three sections or just one. The sections can be used in whole or in part. Students might read the entire set of student materials for a region then complete all the Activities in the teacher materials, or just complete selected Activities.

Each student will need a copy of the student materials. These materials are designed to be photocopied clearly and easily. Students will also need copies of the maps and other data that accompany the Activities in the teacher materials.


Cape Cod

Brownlow, A., ed., 1979, Cape Cod Environmental Atlas: Boston University.

Frederick, K., 1995, America's Water Supply: Status and Prospects for the Future, by Kenneth D., Consequences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, p. 13-23.

Hallowell, C. July-August 1991, "Contamination on the Cape" Audobon, p. 64-75.

Hermanson, B. and Meyers, J., 1988, Outlook on Groundwater - Senior High: Institute for Environmental Education, University of Northern Iowa.

Hess, K., 1986, Sewage Plume in a Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, National Water Summary, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2325, p. 87-92.

Leatherman, S., 1988, Cape Cod Field Trips: Coastal Publications Series, Laboratory for Coastal Research, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

LeBlanc, D. and Guswa, J., 1977, Water Table Map of Cape Cod, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-419.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Department of Environmental Management, Office of Water Resources, 1995, Water Resources of Cape Cod: Water Use, Hydrology, and Potential Changes in Ground Water Levels.

Masterson, J., Walter, D., and Savoie, J., 1996, Use of Particle Tracking to Improve Numerical Model Calibration and to Analyze Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Migration, Massachusetts Military Reservation, Western Cape Cod, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 96-214.

Oldale, R., 1992, Geologic History of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992 332-682.

Oldale, R.N., and Barlow, R.A., 1986, Geologic Map of Cape Cod and the Islands, Massachusetts, U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1763m scake 1:100,000.

Rolbein, S., 1995, The Enemy Within: The Struggle to Clean Up Cape Cod's Military Superfund Site, Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod, Orleans, Massachusetts.

Ryan, B., 1980, Cape Cod Aquifer, Cape Cod, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations 80-571.

Strahler, A., 1972, The Environmental Impact of Ground Water Use on Cape Cod, Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod, Orleans, Massachusetts.

U.S. Enivonmental Protection Agency, 1990, Citizen's Guide to Groundwater Protection.

Van Tuyl, L. February 13, 1991, "A 'Living Machine' Purifies Waste" Christian Science Monitor, p. 12-13.


Craighead, F.C., Sr., The Trees of South Florida. University of Miami Press, Coral Gables, Fl. 1974.

Duplaix, Nicole. "Paying the Price," National Geographic, July 1990.

"The Everglades: Dying for Help." National Geographic, vol. 185, no. 4. April 1994.

Everglades: The Ecosystem and its Restoration. Edited by Steven M. Davis and John C. Ogden. St. Lucie Press, Fl. 1994.

Environments of South Florida, Present and Past. Edited by Patrick Gleason. Miami Geological Society, Coral Gables, Fl. 1984.

Higer, A.L., Coker, A.E., and Cordes, E.H., 1976, Ecological model in Florida; Williams, R.S., Jr., and Carter, W.D., eds., ERTS-1, A new window on our planet: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 929, p. 150-152.

Higer, A.L., Coker, A.E., and Cordes, E.H., 1976, Water-management model of the Florida Everglades; Williams, R.S. Jr., and Carter, W.D., eds., ERTS-1, A new window on our planet: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 929, p. 159-161.

Hoffmeister, J.E., Land from the Sea; the Geologic History of South Florida. University of Miami Press, Coral Gables, Fl. 1974.

The Plio-Pleistocene Stratigraphy of Southern Florida. Edited by Tom Scott and Warren Allmon. Florida Geological Survey Special Publication 36, 1992.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1973, Resource and land information for South Dade County, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Investigation I-850, p. 66

Los Angeles

Cooke, R.U. Geomorphological Hazards in Los Angeles (London research series in geography) George Allen & Unwin, Winchester, MA, 1984.

Gore, Rick, 1995 Living With California's Faults, National Geographic Magazine, vol. 187, no. 4, p. 2-35 (with double map supplement, Earthquakes).

National Geographic Society, 1997, Restless Earth, Nature's Awsome Powers: National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

Recent Reverse Faulting in the Transverse Ranges, California. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1339, 1987.

Troxell, Harold C., and Peterson, John Q., 1937, Flood in La Canada Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey, Water Supply Paper 796-C, p. 53-98.

Ziony, J.I., editor, 1985. Evaluating Earthquake Hazards in the Los Angeles Region - An Earth-Science Perspective. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1360.


We greatly appreciate the technical assistance provided by the following U.S. Geological Survey reviewers:

Richard S. Williams, Jr., Research Geologist, Woods Hole, Mass.;

Denis R. LeBlanc, Hydrologist, Marlborough, Mass.;

Walter Swain, Hydrologist, Sacramento, Calif.;

Lucy Jones, Seismologist, Pasadena, Calif.;

Christina Stamos-Pheiffer, Hydrologist, San Diego, Calif.;

Raymond C. Wilson, Geologist, and

Dan Ponti, Geologist, Menlo Park, Calif.;

Ben McPherson, Hydrologist, and

Jerry Geise, Hydrologist, Tampa, Fla.;

Robert Halley, Geologist, St. Petersburg, Fla.; and

John H. Wittman, Cartographer,

Celso Puente, Hydrologist, and

Sarah Gerould, USGS Ecosystems Coordinator, Reston, Va.

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