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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

Storyline Narrative 8.4.1

Phenomenon: Geological processes affect the uneven distribution of resources.

Why are coal resources plentiful in central Utah but scarce in northern Utah?

 

This standard takes students through the process of discovering what a natural resource is, how resources are distributed across the globe, and how this distribution is related to the underlying geology.

 

Episode one introduces the standard by providing a story of a real life example of a search for natural resources. The Great Diamond Hoax took place in the 1870’s shortly after the gold rush. Two men were able to convince many prominent men across the country to invest in a fictitious diamond mine in northwest Colorado. From the story students will identify patterns in the distribution of diamonds and other precious gems. Students then generate questions about how natural resources are created and distributed.

In episode two students will explore examples of natural resources and generate a definition of a natural resource by creating a mind map model of materials that make up the structure of an everyday object. They will see that all products are ultimately generated from natural resources and that many of them have a geologic origin.

Students begin episode three by playing a mining game to explore the distribution of natural resources. This game will illustrate that natural resources are not distributed evenly across the earth’s surface. For example, some states in America have abundant gold reserves while others have none. The game will also show them that even resources such as potash or building stone that are less valuable per ounce than resources such as gold, are still very important to societies and can be mined for a profit. They will then obtain information to create maps of natural resources in Utah and look for patterns in their distribution by comparing all the student generated resource maps with each other.

In episode four students will take the maps they created in episode 3 and compare them with a simple geological map of Utah. This will be done either by drawing their resource map on top of laminated geological maps or digitally through mapping programs. They will be able to explain how the distribution of resources in Utah is caused by the underlying geology.

Episode five covers what may be the most important resource to societies; water. Students explore three different ways water is stored, aquifers, reservoirs, and snowpack, and recognize that these resources are limited and in increasing demand.

Conceptual Understandings

We can find things in nature that are useful to man.

What are natural resources?

Snapshot

Students experience a phenomenon in which they watch a video about prospecting for gold. They will make observations and ask questions about what causes resources to be found where they are.

Episode 1

Question

Where can we find the resources we use in our society?

 

Episode 2

Question

What are natural resources?

Snapshot

Students explore examples of natural resources and generate a definition of a natural resource by creating a mind map model of materials that make up the structure of an object.

Conceptual Understandings

Natural resources are things that are found in nature that are useful to humans. Almost everything we use originally came from a natural resource.

What natural resources are found in Utah? What resources are not found in Utah?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Natural resources are not distributed evenly over the surface of the earth.

What causes the uneven distribution of natural resources?

Snapshot

Students play a mining game that models uneven resource distribution. They will apply what they find to real-world systems and read about an example of a search for natural resources. From the story students will identify patterns in the distribution of diamonds and other precious gems. Students then generate questions about how natural resources are created and distributed.

Episode 3

Question

What natural resources are found in Utah? What resources are not found in Utah?

 

Episode 4

Question

What causes the uneven distribution of natural resources?

Snapshot

Students compare maps of resources in Utah with a simple geological map of Utah and look for patterns in the distribution of resources. They will be able to explain how the distribution of resources in Utah is caused by the underlying geology.

Conceptual Understandings

The distribution of many natural resources is a result of the geology of an area.

What has happened in the past to affect the geology that is found in an area?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Utah has not always been the same as it is today. It has been covered by oceans and lakes, ancient mountain ranges, and active volcanoes. These processes have affected the resources we find in our state today.

What has happened in the past to affect the geology that is found in an area?

Snapshot

Students look at the rocks found in a roadcut to determine what has happened to that area in the past geologically.  They will use maps of what Utah has looked like in the past to see how Utah has changed over time and construct an explanation for what causes resources to be distributed unevenly across the earth’s surface.

Episode 5

Question

What has happened in the past to affect the geology that is found in an area?

 

Episode 6

Question

What other resources that we depend on are found in nature?

Snapshot

Students explore three different ways water is stored and recognize that these resources are limited and in demand.

Conceptual Understandings

Water resources in Utah come from three sources; snowpack, reservoirs and lakes, and underground aquifers. Water in Utah is a very valuable resource because it is in short supply. Other western states are interested in Utah’s water resources.