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20.1: Chapter 20: Human Actions and Earth’s Resources

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Chapter Overview

This chapter describes the human use of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, including energy resources. It also explains how resources can be conserved.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

In this lab from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, students will learn the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources and discover why sustainable use of natural resources is important.

The lab activity “Old MacDonald Made Some Fuel” on pages 100–110 in the PDF document below allows students to explore how biomass can be used to produce ethanol and methane fuels. Specific student objectives include defining biomass and naming at least 10 sources of biomass, describing fermentation and the production of ethanol, describing the production of methane from manure, and listing advantages and disadvantages of using biomass for energy.

These Web sites may also be helpful:

You can find a collection of teacher-reviewed educational games, videos, lessons, puzzles, and quizzes pertaining to natural resources at this URL: http://www.neok12.com/Natural-Resources.htm.

There are additional materials for teaching about natural resources at the URL below.

For a selection of National Geographic educational content relating to natural resources, go to this URL: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/topics/natural-resources/?ar_a=1

At the following URL, you can find several middle school activities relating to energy use and energy conservation. The document also contains fact sheets and a glossary.

Go to the URL below to download the U.S. Department of Energy’s teachers’ guide Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education.

The documents at the URLs below are the teacher and student pages, respectively, of 11 different activities for middle and high school students that teach students basic concepts of energy use and energy conservation. The hands-on activities allow students to explore energy sources and energy efficiency both at school and at home.

More information and activities on energy use and energy efficiency are available at these URLs. The materials were developed specifically for middle school students. The first PDF document below is intended for teachers and the second document for students. The teachers’ guide provides fact sheets about energy, the major energy sources, electricity, energy consumption, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. The background section includes an introduction to energy and details about individual energy sources. There are also sections on global climate change and several detailed fact sheets on electricity and energy consumption and efficiency. The companion student activities book reinforces the general information and facts about the energy sources. The activities include worksheets and crossword puzzles among other types of activities.

You can find several lesson plants on energy for middle school students at this URL: http://www.infinitepower.org/lessonplans.htm.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
20.1 Use and Conservation of Resources 2.5
20.2 Use and Conservation of Energy 1.5

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