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EDC: Earth Science, Revised

EDC: Earth Resources, Revised | Unit 6

EDC: Earth Resources, Revised | Unit 6

6-8 weeks

Chapter 15 Hidden Treasures in Rocks: Mineral Resources

Students explore the surprising extent to which they rely on Earth’s crust for the materials in the objects around them. Putting themselves in the shoes of mineral prospectors, they gain expertise in the different ways that mineral ores become concentrated within Earth’s crust, how prospectors go about finding them, how the ores are processed, and contemplate the environmental consequences inherent in these processes.

Chapter 16 The Mystery of the Rub al Kahli: Energy Resources in Earth’s Crust

Students read about the Rub al Kahli—a desolate desert landscape in Saudi Arabia that overlays one of the most prolific oil reservoirs in the world. Students investigate how oil reservoirs form naturally in Earth’s crust, and how geologists go about finding and extracting this precious resource. 

Chapter 17 A Different Earth

Students imagine a future when Earth’s core has cooled completely. They use the knowledge they have gained about the geosphere to describe how this planet would be different.

Content in EDC: Earth Resources, Revised | Unit 6 is organized into activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Overview
What's the Story?. Pikes Peak or Bust: 1859 Students read a story about a prospector who finds gold in a mountain stream. They begin to think about why mineral resources are valuable and how to obtain them.
Task. What Makes a Metal, Rock, or Mineral Valuable? Students explore what makes certain minerals valuable, investigate the useful properties of some metals and review facts and figures about the quantities of rocks, minerals, and minerals they use in their lifetime.
Activity 1. Where are the Mineral Ores? Students gain expertise in the ways that mineral deposits form within Earth and, preparing a physical demonstration, share this information with their classmates.
Activity 2. Prospecting for Mineral Ore Students perform chemical tests and search for a layer of rock that contains the valuable mineral molybdenum.
Reading. From Rocks to Riches— Mining and Processing Mineral Ore Students learn about how mineral ores are found, mined, and processed to make useful materials. They think about the costs of using mineral resources in terms of energy use and environmental impacts.
Activity 3. Refining an Ore Students perform a two-part process to refine copper from malachite.
Address the Challenge. Business Plan Brochure Students develop a business plan brochure that describes how they would develop and market a mineral resource. They apply the knowledge gained in this chapter to research why people want this material, propose a prospecting extraction, and processing strategy, describing how the ore forms and how it is found, mined, and processed.
Final Reading. Ore from Earth Students read about and consider the impact of extracting ores from the Earth.
Career Spotlight. Mining Geologist
Task. Energy Connections Students develop their understanding of the importance of oil by completing the task Energy Connections, in which they evaluate data on the amount and sources of energy people use and how these energy sources have changed in human history. They create and share graphs of these data, and think about what the trends in these data might mean.
What's the Story?. The Mystery of the Rub’ al-Khali Students read about a remote desert region in Saudi Arabia that is underlain by a rich reservoir of oil. Students think about possible reasons there is oil in some parts of the world and not in others.
Activity 1. How Do Oil Reservoirs Form? Students review information and use a physical model to investigate the processes by which oil forms and migrates into reservoirs within Earth.
Reading. A Convergence of Conditions—the Rub’ al-Khali Students read about how the unique geologic history of the Middle East has resulted in the formation of giant oil reservoirs. They use their understanding of geologic processes that occur in Earth’s crust to synthesize the reasons some areas of the world have more oil than others.
Address the Challlenge. Create an Educational Display Students synthesize what they have learned by creating an educational display, news story, or documentary explaining why the Middle East has so much oil.
Reading (Extend). How Is Oil Found and Produced? Students learn about how oil is found and produced from oil reservoirs, and think about why oil is becoming more expensive to find and produce in the United States.
Activity 2 (Extend). Exploration and Production Models Students design and construct a physical model to demonstrate knowledge that is critical to have if you hope to find and produce oil.
Final Reading. The Recipe for Oil This reading summarizes the main concepts of this chapter.
Career Spotlight. Oil Production Engineer
Reading. The Heartbeat of Earth Students review the sources of Earth’s internal heat and the mechanisms by which it is cooling. They discuss their initial ideas about how Earth would be different if its interior cooled.
Activity. Digging for Answers Students perform a group activity to review their knowledge about processes within the geosphere and their relationships to Earth’s internal heat. They consider how these processes might be affected if Earth were to cool completely.
Final Challenge. Prepare an Essay or Presentation Students apply the knowledge they have gained during this course to prepare an essay or presentation predicting what Earth will be like when its interior cools completely.

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