Human Use of Resources—This Land is Your Land

Summary: The classroom-based This Land is Your Land lesson plan from is designed for 4th grade students, with scaling suggestions for 3rd and 5th graders. Because the instructor uses maps of the local area, the activity is place-based, relevant and supports potential field experiences.

“In this activity, students will review and evaluate the ways land is covered and used in their local community. They will also consider the environmental effects of the different types of land use. Students will act as community planning engineers to determine where to place a new structure that will have the least affect on the environment.”

Concepts to teach: Maps, land use, calculating percentage

Goals: Land is used for a variety of human activities, and these uses can be communicated through maps.

S6.3S.1, S7.3S.1, S8.3S.1,
SS08.GE.02, SS.08.GE.07, SS.08.GE.08

Specific Objectives:

  1. Understand and identify the different ways that land is covered and used.
  2. Predict land usage amounts in their community.
  3. Describe the involvement of engineers in community planning.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • This Land is Your Land
    • From, a digital library collection of searchable, standards-based K-12 curricula
    • This lesson plan includes worksheets, standards, and suggestions for assessments. The instructor needs to find land use maps of the local area.
  • To find maps of your local area, contact your local:
    • City Planning Department
    • School District (keyword search: facility plan)
    • Historical Society
  • Use both current and historical maps to show how human use of resources have changed over time.
    • Oregon Coast Quests
      • Yaquina Head Tale of Two Hills Quest—This self-guided place-based activity located in Newport tells the story of land use changes at Yaquina Head over 100 years. Featured human impacts include burning, livestock grazing, rock quarrying, golfing, residential development, and modern electrical towers.
      • Make a Quest or other interpretive guide that features the human impacts that students have identified in their local field site.
  • After mapping, discuss the effects of various types of land use might have on the nearby streams and other waterways. This concept will be further in the Human Impact section.


  • Suggestions for pre-activity, activity embedded and post-activity assessments are included in the lesson plan.