Earth's Resources NGSS MS ESS3-1

in the Earth’s Resources mini unit, students analyze evidence and determine if resources like solar energy, water and coal are renewable or nonrenewable. Then, students choose one specific natural resource that is important to them and create a public service announcement to educate others.

Extension activities challenge students to learn about the pros and cons of nuclear energy and present arguments for both sides of the issue.

Anchor Phenomenon Ideas: Choose your state on the U.S. energy Information Administration (EIA) website and share your state's energy profile with students. Use the authentic questions they come up with to make connections throughout your Earth's Resources unit.

Check out the EIA Energy Kids Page and this department of energy page for more student and teacher resources.

Make it Relevant: Help your students imagine what it would be like to not use electricity or another form of energy for a week. Ask students if any of them have been camping or lived without power for more than one day. Make connections between your students' everyday activities and the natural resources that make these activities possible.

Tips and Tricks: This mini unit offers multiple opportunities for writing. For students who find challenges with writing, offer them different ways to show what they know. Modifications could include working with a partner or small, teacher directed group; verbally explaining how, where and when their resource formed; and including drawings to help explain their thinking.

For the summative assessment, here is a great resource for helping students make high impact public service announcements.

Enrichment Ideas: Project WET has excellent activities to discuss water pollution. "A Grave Mistake" asks students track arsenic levels in a community and determine the cause (point source pollution) and "Sum of the Parts" is a whole class activity that demonstrates non-point source pollution. Both can be found in the published Project Wet Teacher's Guide or through an online search.

Challenge students to learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. How does this non-point source pollution affect water as a natural resource?