Page Contents
Questions to Ponder
Surfrider Foundation
Discovering Sources for Electricity
The Dangers of Gathering Natural Resources
Mining Dangers
Hydraulic Fracturing Article and Questions
How Oil Forms
Gulf Oil Spill Slideshow
Cleaning up an Oil Spill
Environmental Impact Webquest
BrainPop - Dams
Logging Simulation
Natural Resources BCR
Notes_1.pngNatural Resources Notes
Quizlet Flashcards
Questions.pngNatural Resources Quiz

In the Natural Resources and Human Needs unit, students will learn to recognize and compare how different parts of the world have varying amounts and types of resources and how the use of those resources impacts environmental quality.

Go to Natural Resources Objectives

Questions to Ponder
  • What natural resources do you use the most?
  • What natural resources do you use the least?
  • What natural resource is used most at your school?

Take this Survey about Natural Resources before we begin the unit.

Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a group that is dedicated to the preservation of beaches (a natural resource) all around the world. Check out their website and all of the cool environmental things they do.

Discovering Sources for Electricity
In this activity we will predict the amount of each fuel used to generate electricity in each of the following countries:
Click on the above links for general information about each of the countries then make your predictions about the amount of each kind of fuel each country uses. You will use Skittles candies to represent the different kinds of fuel. Each color will represent a different kind of fuel:
oil/natural gas
other renewables*
* solar, wind, biomass, etc

  1. Each Skittle will represent 5%. You will be allowed 20 candies in different colors to represent your predictions. For example, if your prediction is that 50% of our electricity is produced from oil then you will use 10 purple candies.
  2. Once you have made your predictions, arrange your candies in a circle on the paper plate so that the candies are grouped together by color and touching each other.
  3. Draw a dot in the center of the circle of candy and extend lines out to each of the places in the candy circle where the colors switch. Draw a circle all the way around and you have now created a pie chart!
  4. Remove the candies (decide the best way to dispose of them!) and write the name of the fuel and percentages in each wedge.
  5. Finish by writing the name of your country and Energy Predictions around the edge of the paper plate. For Example - If your country is China, then you would write China Energy Predictions at the top.
  6. Check Your Predictions The following data table shows recent percentages of the amount of fuel used to generate electricity in each of the countries. Discuss why your predictions may or may not be correct.
  7. Click here to answer a few questions about what you learned about resource use around the world.

  8. Add the following terms to your notes on Natural Resources:
    • natural resource
    • renewable resource
    • nonrenewable resource

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The Dangers of Gathering Natural Resources
Gathering natural resources that we need can be dangerous business; for the people working to get them such as miners as well as the natural environment. In this activity you will read two articles about two different problems associated with gathering natural resources. Read each article and answer the questions that follow.
  • Click here to get started

Mining Dangers
Mining Can be dangerous business, but it is also Big Business!
  1. Read the following article about the dangers of mining. When you are done, click on the questions link to test your understanding.

Hydraulic Fracturing Article and Questions
Read the following article about a controversial method for obtaining energy and answer the questions that follow.
Hydraulic Fracturing Article and Questions

How Oil Forms

Gulf Oil Spill

Read this article about the gulf oil spill.

Copy and fill out the following graphic organizer:

Cleaning Up an Oil Spill
There have been many oil spills over the years, such as the Gulf oil spill in the U.S. that happened in April 2010, when there was an accident at a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. A spill like this that is close to land causes many problems for the environment and makes it difficult to clean up. As little as three gallons of oil can spread to make a slick mess covering one acre of the ocean's surface. With the Gulf oil spill, it is estimated that 200,000 gallons a day spilled into the ocean as scientists worked to stop the leak and clean it up.

In this activity you will compare different absorbent materials to decide which would best clean up an oil spill.

  • 250 mL beaker
  • water
  • blue food coloring
  • spoon
  • vegetable oil
  • dropper
  • scale
  • various absorbent materials
    • cotton balls
    • sponge
    • denim
    • synthetic halloween webbing

  1. Read all procedures then create a data table to collect the data from this investigation.
  2. Pour 200mL water into a beaker. Put one drop of blue food coloring in the water and stir to combine. (this will make it easier to see the oil)
  3. Using the scale, find and record the mass of the water and food coloring.
  4. Drop 10 drops of oil into the container. Record your observations of the behavior of the water and oil.
  5. Decide which two absorbent materials you will use to clean up the spilled oil. This is your independent variable.
  6. Record your question and hypothesis.
  7. Question
    • To what extent is there a difference between absorbent materials used for cleaning up oil spills?
  8. Hypothesis
    • I think _ because ___.
  9. Decide on a procedure for removing the oil with each material and then conduct your investigation.
  10. After you have soaked up all of the oil with the first absorbent material, find the mass of the water and record this on your data table. This will be your dependent data (or the results) of your experiment.
  11. Try the second absorbent material. Repeat your procedures with a new batch of colored water and drops of oil. Be sure to keep everything the same except for the new material. Keeping things the same is an example of conducting a controlled experiment.
  12. Compare the two final amounts of water after clean-up. Which material cleaned up more oil without soaking up a lot of extra water?
  13. Conclusion - State a claim about the best material to clean up oil and support it with evidence and reasoning. Be sure to use data from the experiment.

Environmental Impact Webquest
To what extent does human activity affect the environment?
In this activity I want you to think about how 5 different human activities might have an impact on the natural world. They are Agriculture, Beach Preservation, Mining, Development, and Stream/River alteration.
1. Go to the following link and work as a group to complete it - Environmental Impact Webquest
2. Visit each of the following links as a reference.

Websites about Natural Resource Use

Add the following terms to your Natural Resources Notes:
  • fossil fuels
  • agriculture
  • development
  • minerals

Environmental Impact Slideshow

Energyville - Natural Resources Game

BrainPop - Dams
Watch the Brain Pop video on Dams (first go to the Caroline County Library Site to get to BrainPop, then do a search for Dams)

chainsaw copy.jpgLogging Simulation
Go to the Active Art site and learn more about logging methods. After you are done, take the 3 question quiz.
Logging Simulation

Answer the following question about logging and growing populations.

Natural Resources BCR
Choose one of the following natural resources we have studied:
  • water
  • trees
  • oil
  • coal
  • soil
  • wind
  • sunlight
  • minerals

Identify and describe problems with obtaining these resources as well as possible solutions to the problems.
In your response be sure to:
  • name and describe a natural resource
  • tell what the problem is
  • describe a possible solution to the problem

Natural Resources and Human Needs

Key Words
Definitions, facts, examples
Natural resource
  • things in the environment used by people
  • there are two kinds
    • renewable
    • non-renewable
Renewable resource
  • always available or naturally replaced in a short period of time
    • sunlight
    • wind
    • fresh water
    • trees
Non-renewable resource
  • natural resources that are not replaced in a useful time-frame
    • coal
    • oil
    • natural gas
  • often called fossil fuels
Fossil fuels
  • An energy-rich substance formed from the remains of organisms
    • coal, oil, natural gas
  • fossil fuels are burned to release their energy, causing pollution
  • The science or practice of farming
  • includes growing crops and raising animals
  • The process of converting land to a new purpose
  • includes constructing buildings and other structures
  • making use of the resources
  • A naturally occurring, nonliving solid with a characteristic crystal, structure and definite chemical makeup.
  • Gold, silver, quartz
  • The process of reclaiming and reusing raw materials
  • Helps to conserve non-renewable resources
  • Metal, plastic, glass, and paper are often recycled

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Natural Resources and Human Needs Flashcards - Online flashcards and games
Do you have an iPhone or iPod Touch? Use the Touchcards app to study your Quizlet flash-cards. For the Natural Resources and Human Needs unit use the code - 3294680 to access the virtual cards.

Natural Resources Quiz
Click here to take the Natural Resources and Human Needs Quiz