Grade 8: Eco-assignments
1) Explain the role that the environment (rivers / dams / mountains / forests…) plays in the settlement pattern.
2) Discuss the challenges that rural communities have to offer opportunities or to lure investment due to factors like, absence of grid power, trade challenges due to lack of proper road infrastructure, lack of access to education and specialized training.
3) Offer possible ways for rural communities to overcome these challenges and to actively take part in the economy of the country.
4) Discuss how the natural resources in our country (marine life, water, forests and land) are being used to supply the country with materials and jobs.
5) Explain why areas need to be set aside for conservation as well by discussing the importance of aspects such as biodiversity, the protection of resources, the preservation of indigenous culture and the possibilities of eco-tourism.
The influences of the Industrial Revolution have changed the face of the world radically. We were now able to mass-produce. A huge variety of materials and products came to the disposal of millions of people around the world. The old personalized means of barter trade to exchange goods and services was now replaced by global trade. It also offered a huge variety of specialized jobs and life became more comfortable for many across the world. Some individuals became super rich but an even bigger sector of the world population was excluded from the benefits due to lack of access and preventing them from exercising their earlier way of existence.
1) Mention and discuss the incidental benefits (spin-offs) from the Industrial Revolution that paved the way for the Agricultural Revolution by highlighting factors like mechanical advances, fossil fuel technology and the chemical industry.
2) Discuss the effects that huge-scale Agriculture has had on:
a) Food production and alleviating hunger
b) The environment in terms of:
i) soil erosion and other forms of land degradation;
ii) habitat destruction and biodiversity;
iii) soil degradation as a result of mono-cultures, irrigation and the addition of chemicals; enhancers;
iv) the cultural beliefs, value systems and social structures of rural communities.
1) Discuss the importance of good quality water:
a) as it makes up a big part of the human body as well as that of other living things;
b) as it serves as a means for humans and these living to rid themselves of toxic substances
2) The social behaviour of elephants is very similar to that of people. Where there is no adult supervision, often young elephant bulls become destructive to the environment, trampling down trees and causing damage. Similarly with humans, reproduction is more than conception and birth; it involves adults raising children, which requires judgement and values and also depends on the behaviour of other people in the community. Please discuss.
3) Over millions of years animals have adapted to survive in their particular environments. Each species of animal have characteristic behaviours to feed, find a mate, breed, and raise their young live in a population of the same species and to escape environmental threats.
a) Investigate in this regard the behaviours of a mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird and fish of your choice. Point out the differences in behaviour from different species.
b) Polar bears are for unique to the polar region. The Fynbos is a unique biome in South Africa. The kangaroo is only found in Australia. There are many reasons why this is the case. It could be because of continental drifting, that earlier habitats were destroyed, or that they are uniquely adapted to the climate of that area. Choose five species (animal or plant) and discuss the reasons why they are found in a unique place.
c) Discuss the meaning of variation in species and natural selection. Explain how these two factors ensures that nature remains healthy and strong.
4) The sun is a star and is the biggest object in our solar system. The Earth is a planet much smaller than the sun and it revolves around the sun. Without the sun life on earth as we know it would not be possible. Explain this fact by referring to:
a) Processes that are determined by the sun such as plant growth, winds, sea currents and the water cycle.
b) Qualities that the sun offer us with such as heat and energy
5) Was it not for the outer layer (atmosphere) around the earth, the effects of the sun would have been to intense, also making life impossible on earth. Explain this fact by referring to:
a) The gaseous composition (nitrogen, oxygen, vapour and other gasses) of the atmosphere
b) The interaction between the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere\
6) Landforms came about as a result of both constructive and destructive forces.
a) Refer to constructive forces by explaining the processes of crustal deformation, volcanic eruption and deposition of sediment.
b) Refer to destructive forces by explaining the processes of weathering and erosion.
c) Today we have soil as a result of the processes mentioned above. Without soil plants cannot grow to ensure the lives of animals and humans. Write an essay on the importance of soil to sustain life on earth and the dilemma we are faced with as soil is washed away through erosion much faster than it is being formed.
In the History section we have referred to the barter trade that existed before the Industrial Revolution. The transition from bartering (goods or services were exchanged for other goods or services) to the convenience of generally accepted currencies supported by financial institutions like banks happened gradually over many centuries.
Present some advantages and disadvantages of using ‘money’ as a means of trade rather than person to person bartering. Consider the way in which convenience stores removed consumers from the places from where products were made and in so doing lost much of their connectedness to nature,
Investigate and report how technology has:
a) Improved productivity, economic growth and living standards
b) Impacted negatively on the environment by causing air-, water-, soil- and surface pollution. Also mention what it would cost in financial terms to restore nature to the state it was in before the pollution occurred.
Find out how to manufacture (assemble) a simple solar product, for example an LED light powered by a small battery charged by a small solar panel during the day.
Produce environmental-friendly (biodegradable) soap
Cultivate an all-seasons vegetable garden
Calculate a viable selling price for your product by taking into consideration the following:
• The cost of the ingredients/parts of the product (labour)
• The time it takes to produce / assemble the product
• Transport costs to collect the ingredients/parts and to deliver
• A profit
Design and print a flyer promoting your product by e.g.:
• Listing the advantages
• Offering various shapes / colours / sizes
• Offering extra’s e.g. neat casing for battery or decorated bottle for soap…
Go from house to house to promote your product and get opinions from the community