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CareerStart lessons: Grade seven

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

Students will read reference materials and respond to guiding questions in order to gain an understanding of ecotourism and how it has affected Nepal.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

Approximately 55-60 minutes. Homework time may be needed.

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
    • Background information about ecotourism and Nepal
    • Guided questions about ecotourism
  • Map of South Asia (Tip: Click on the link below the image for the largest size. This map can be projected or printed and handed out to students.)
  • Overhead projector or board to record student responses during brainstorming activity


  1. Begin the lesson with the question: Is it possible to enjoy nature without disrupting it? How do we take care of the world around us while enjoying its beauty? (5 minutes)
  2. Ask students if they have heard the term ecotourism. Show students the map of South Asia and ask them to locate Nepal on the map. Tell students that people and governments in countries like Nepal must balance their concern for the natural beauty of their country with the need to provide jobs for the people who live there. Because Nepal’s geography offers a variety of scenic attractions — including the Himalayan mountains — tourism is an important source of income for the country. But traditional tourism can have negative environmental impacts, such as pollution and resource depletion. The field of ecotourism has emerged as a result. Ecotourism is a form of tourism that seeks to draw tourists to natural areas as a way of making money, while minimizing the negative environmental impacts of traditional tourism. The idea is to provide services for tourists (e.g. hotels, guides, etc.) while preserving the natural areas that draw tourists to Nepal.
  3. Brainstorm with students the pros and cons of the ecotourism industry. On the positive side, ecotourism provides job opportunities and revenue to the government to build roads, schools, etc. On the negative side, it can change traditional culture and place pressure on environmental resources by drawing tourists into formerly remote areas. (Encourage students to think of other positive and negative effects of this program.) (5-7 minutes)
  4. Have students work alone or in pairs to read the background information about ecotourism and Nepal. If students have internet access, they may read more about Nepal in the CIA World Factbook and the U.S. State Department website. When students have finished reading, have them respond to the guided questions. (15 minutes)
  5. Review questions and answers with the class. (10 minutes)
  6. Career connection — The United States has many national and state parks. Brainstorm careers connected with the park system (for example, park rangers, landscapers, guides, environmental scientists) and other job opportunities that are created for the tourist trade (for example, hotels and restaurants, gift shops, car rentals, etc.)
  7. Conclude the discussion with the following scenario: Imagine that you’re a park ranger in the United States. Write a journal entry describing your day as a park employee. What was your day like? How would you limit the impact of tourists so that people in the future will be able to enjoy the area?

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 7

  • Goal 3: The learner will analyze the impact of interactions between humans and their physical environments in Africa, Asia, and Australia.
    • Objective 3.02: Describe the environmental impact of regional activities such as deforestation, urbanization, and industrialization and evaluate their significance to the global community.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 7

        • 7.E.1 Understand the economic activities of modern societies and regions. 7.E.1.1 Explain how competition for resources affects the economic relationship among nations (e.g. colonialism, imperialism, globalization and interdependence). 7.E.1.2 Explain the...
        • 7.G.1 Understand how geography, demographic trends, and environmental conditions shape modern societies and regions. 7.G.1.1 Explain how environmental conditions and human response to those conditions influence modern societies and regions (e.g. natural barriers,...