Applied Science - Built Environment (K)
Pre Lab

  • Recognizing the difference between artificial and natural.
  • Exploring the requirements of being "naturally" made.


  • artificial
  • consumer
  • human-made
  • natural
  • worksheet

Students use a worksheet to compare human and natural made.


Students may not recognize items created from natural substances versus those created by artificial means. For instance, wood products such as paper or wooden desks are made from trees. So the material is natural, but the product itself if human created. However, plastics resulted from a chemical combination involving petroleum products and are artificially created. The petroleum products are natural but the plastics are chemically derived.

Technology today makes many artificial products that look very much like the natural ones it imitates. It may be confusing to children to separate these terms. An ant, bird, or any other animal makes a home and we call that natural. A human makes a home and that is considered artificial or human-made. What is the difference? When an organism lives within the context of the other living creatures in an area, that is natural. When organisms, like humans, control the environment to the point where it doesn't resemble its original state, it is considered artificial or a built environment created by humans.

Emphasize to your students that they control the future directions of our built environment. When they grow up, they will have positions as builders, architects, bankers, planners, geologists, politicians, and engineers who will help decide where and what is constructed in an area. Students will also become consumers, who can "demand" certain buildings.

Each person can make a difference on how they work, play, and consume products in our country. Each person influences the next generation and to understand how the environment is a part of that future is important.


  1. Using the worksheet, have students circle those items which are made by humans.
  2. Discuss each item with students on what is the original material and how it was created.
  3. Answers:
  1. A seastar is naturally created. The five part symmetry is natural artwork.  
  2. A corkscrew is human-made, although the handle may be wood and the metal is derived from nature. All the raw products would have to be made in a human factory. 
  3. The worm created its home without any intervention of humans. 
  4. The glider is human-made from different fabrics, wood, and metal. 
  5. A tree is natural. 
  6. Rockets are made by humans, but the man itself is made by nature. 
  7. Cars are manufactured by humans, although some of the parts especially metal and rubber are derived from nature. Many parts of a car today are made of products that are synthetically derived. 
  8. Clouds are naturally made of water. 
  9. A light bulb is artificially made. Glass is derived from quartz (a mineral) or quartzite (a rock) which are natural. 
  10. The man is using machines to make something in a factory, this would be human-made. 
  11. The tools, although made of metals which occur natural, are human made. 
  12. The cow is nature made.

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