Earth’s Resources: Teacher Links

Earth's Resources Book Cover

Teacher Links

Resources unit is part of SEPUP’s Issues and Science three-year Middle School program. Each unit of the program incorporates science and engineering concepts and practices with current issues.


Learning Pathway Diagrams for this unit:

Activity 1
Observing Earth’s Resources

The Smithsonian GeoGallery
View additional natural resources in this photo gallery of rocks, minerals, and gemstones on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Energy Kids
The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides facts, maps, and images about nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. Learn more about fossil fuels as well solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

Earth’s Resources at the American Museum of Natural History
Find photos and other information about natural resources such as coal and salt. Click on other links, such as “Where do Earth’s riches come from?,” to find more images.

Activity 2
World Resource Consumption

Global Consumption Database
This World Bank database provides searchable data, tables, and charts on household consumption patterns in developing countries.

Our World in Data
University of Oxford economist Max Roser provides a global history of topics such population, food, and energy using empirical data and interactive graphs and maps.

Activity 3
Properties of Natural Resources

Double Refraction in Calcite
View this Youtube video segment on double refraction in the mineral calcite.

Fluorescent Minerals
Information and photos about the minerals and rocks that “glow” under ultraviolet light. The site is primarily authored by Dr. Hobart King, a retired geologist.

Activity 4
Per Capita Consumption

U.S. and World Population Clock
Visit the U.S. Census Bureau site to view continuously updating data on the United States and world populations.

Energy Use Per Person Over Time
Press “play” on this link to investigate how the use of per capita energy consumption has changed since 1960. Select other options to investigate other per capita data. The site is authored by Gapminder, a Swedish foundation.

World Resources Institute Data
Find featured data sets on topics such as water and forests. Download a pdf to read a factsheet and see more detailed maps.

Activity 8
Groundwater Formation

Drinking Water Mapping Application
Use this Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) app to help you “Locate Drinking Water Providers.”

Basic Information about your Drinking Water
Find information about U.S. groundwater and drinking water from the EPA.

Drinking Water
The American Society of Civil Engineers describes and rates the infrastructure that delivers drinking water. Go to the “State by State” section to find out more about your state.

Activity 11
Fossils Through Time

Geological Time Scale
Find the latest thinking about the geological time scale and its divisions at the Geological Society of America’s site.

Activity 12
Reading Rock Strata

Fossil News
Science Daily provides information on fossil research, including fossil discoveries. Check out the latest headlines, news summaries, and in-depth articles.

Fossils (LiveScience)
LiveScience has articles and pictures of fossils as well as recent fossil news. Search for articles that include video segments of fossils.

Fossils (The New York Times)
News about fossils, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. Scroll through recent headlines that include a photo and a short summary.

Activity 13
Impact on Earth’s Systems

Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies
In 2007, LiveScience described how experimental technology is being investigated to solve issues related to energy consumption, water use, and waste production. Find out more by viewing this slideshow.

5 Tech Innovations
In 2017, the World Economic Forum highlighted possible solutions to the world’s increasing resource needs. Find out how technology could help with energy, transportation, food production, and more.

Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground
This 2017 NPR story takes a look at how California farmers are experimenting with refilling aquifers. Check out how they are using rainwater to solve this problem.

How New Technologies are Helping Mining
This 2015 Guardian article lists some of the new technologies being used to reduce the environmental impact of mining. Find out why these approaches are more common today than in the past.