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3.5: Lesson 3.4: Mining and Using Minerals

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Concepts

  • Ore deposits
  • Finding and mining minerals
  • Making metals from minerals
  • Uses of ore minerals
  • Gemstones and their uses
  • Other useful minerals
  • Mining and the environment

Lesson Objectives

  • Explain how minerals are mined.
  • Describe how metals are made from mineral ores.
  • Summarize the ways in which gemstones are used.
  • Identify some useful minerals.

Lesson Vocabulary

  • gemstone: Mineral that is cut and polished to use in jewelry.
  • ore: Rock that contains useful minerals.

Teaching Strategies

Introducing the Lesson

Introduce the many uses of minerals by doing the poster activity, “What Materials Are in My Subaru?” Tell students they will learn where these minerals come from in this lesson.



This activity will demonstrate the steps that are taken to find, extract, process, and use mineral resources. Students will be able to describe the major steps from discovery of a mineral deposit through consumption of the finished product.


Building Science Skills

Students can simulate how geologists use core samples to locate underground ore deposits by doing the class activity at the URL below. In the activity, they will model core-sampling techniques to find out what sort of layers are in a cupcake.


Differentiated Instruction

Pair beginning English language learners with more advanced English language learners, and have partners work together to make a flow chart that shows the steps in finding and mining minerals and making metals from minerals.


Urge interested students to learn about the uses, mining, and refining of specific minerals, such as copper and molybdenum (see URLs below). Ask them to share with the class some of the most interesting things they learn.

Science Inquiry

The inquiry activity at the link below allows students to simulate mining ores. In the activity, a variety of chocolate chip cookies represent the ore and toothpicks are used to represent the mining technique. Students will model the mining process including environmental considerations and economics.


Language Arts Connection

If you assign the “Mineral Haiku” activity below, students will closely observe and draw a mineral and learn what products are made from it. They will also practice language arts and use their creativity.


Reinforce and Review

Lesson Worksheets

Copy and distribute the lesson worksheets in the CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Workbook. Ask students to complete the worksheets alone or in pairs to reinforce lesson content.

Lesson Review Questions

Have students answer the Review Questions listed at the end of the lesson in the FlexBook® student edition.

Lesson Quiz

Check students’ mastery of the lesson with Lesson 3.4 Quiz in CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Quizzes and Tests.

Points to Consider

Are all mineral deposits ores?

An open-pit diamond mine may one day be turned into an underground mine. Why would this happen?

Diamonds are not necessarily the rarest gem. Why do people value diamonds more than most other gems?

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