Environmental Assessment Using Model Building


*introduction of model needs to be done prior to building
*library research is needed before changes to post-development model can be complete
*model materials are needed prior to building sessions
*research & building can be done in various stages throughout the course


1) To build a pre–development 3 dimensional model of a given area.
2) To research background information (causes, effects, solutions) about the development of their assigned area.
3) To build a post-development 3 dimension model of a given area.
4) To determine possible solutions to minimize and/or eliminate negative changes to the environment.
5) To create visual representations of the solutions from #3.
Construction paper of various colours
Pencil Crayons
Popsicle Sticks
Small rocks
Small twigs
Glue gun
Glue sticks
Blank paper
Mat for glue gun


Phase One – Building Both Models
1) On rough paper, create a sketch of the landscape layout for your assigned area (similar to a contour map)
2) Get your sketch approved by your teacher.
3) You will be building two duplicate models at the same time. One model will show the area before it was developed and the second model will show how the area has changed over time.
4) Obtain two thick pieces of cardboard that are approximately 1 m by 1 m each. This will be the base of each model.
5) Cut out other pieces of cardboard to create hills or mountains. Trace each cutout to create a duplicate for the other model and cut it out.
6) Arrange each cutout on the models. Try to arrange the pieces so each model is the same. Glue all of the cutouts to each model until they are finished.
Phase Two – Adding Features to the Pre-developed Model
1) Using one of your models, begin to add natural features to it by:
using green construction paper to represent grasses
using blue construction paper to represent water bodies (streams, rivers, lakes)
using toothpicks or small twigs and green construction paper to represent trees
using paper to draw sketches of 10 animals/organisms and taping them to tacks
any other features you think may be in your undisturbed setting

2) (More instructions needed)
Areas of Study
Special Features
Open Pit Diamond Mine
- in Northwest Territories (tundra)
- isolated open pit mine that is only accessible by helicopter, plane, or ice road
- ore from the mine is processed on site with a mill
Golf Course
- in central Ontario
- originally a boreal forest
- contains a series of small rivers which lead to a small lake
- 9 hole course
Logging Area
- in British Columbia
- clear cutting along a mountainside
- lake is located beside the mountain with a river in the valley
- near Ottawa
- has beef cattle, dairy cattle
- various natural watering holes (streams which lead to a lake)
- grows a variety of crops (wheat, hay)
Garbage Dump
- located on the outskirts of the city
- proposed to be built in a small valley
- stream is located nearby which leads into a small lake
New 8 Lane Highway
- four lanes per side
- 1 major bridges built over 2 streams
- Area is hilly on the outskirts but goes downhill towards the two streams
New Subdivision
- located on the outskirts of the city
- boreal forest
- proposal to build 30 new single homes
- stream located behind 15 houses
- area is rocky and will require some blasting
Nuclear Power Plant
- built right beside a lake
- uses uranium in a CANDU reactor
- all trees have been removed
- shoreline has been leveled and modified to prevent wave erosion
- on a lake
- access to cottage by a new 2 lane dirt road dirt from highway
- uses an outhouse
- has a dock and motor boat
- has only a few mature trees left on the property after building
- has a small beach

*the open pit mine developed model could be slightly different than the original by building a large hole in the model (i.e. Diavik Mine)
Other possible areas – smelter, sewage treatment plant, oil refinery/tar sands

SNC 3E – Environmental Assessment Using Model Building – Worksheet 1

Area: Names: _

Comparing Before & After

Usually when humans change an environment, it negatively affects that area and the organisms that live there. Using your models, compare how your area has changed. Answer the following:

1) List the 10 organisms that are living in your area before construction began.










2) List 10 things that have changed in your area.











SNC 3E – Environmental Assessment Using Model Building – Worksheet 2

Area: Names: _

The Negative Impacts on the Environment

1) Of the 10 organisms you listed on Worksheet 1, pick 5 of them and describe how each is directly affected by the changes made to your area.

Why are they affected?
What will happen to them?