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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

This Mine of Mine

Lesson Description:
This activity allows students to explore the formation, geology, recovery, and uses of coal, as well as the reclamation of coal mine sites. using sand, clay, soil, and rocks, students build a miniature plot of land containing coal deposits.
students then learn about the surface mining method of recovering coal from the earth, and practice the method on their plot of land. after the coal is mined, students reclaim the plot of land and discuss how the coal is transported and used.
Lesson Type:
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

Time Needed:
3 class periods
Standards Addressed:
Primary(Grades K–4) Standard–D: Earth and Space Science
  • Properties of Earth  Materials

Primary–F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
  • Types of resources
  • Changes in environments
  • Science and technology in local challenges

Intermediate (Grades 5–8) Standard–B: Physical Science
  • Transfer of energy
  • Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound,
  • nuclei, and the nature of a chemical.

Intermediate–D: Earth and Space Science
  • Structure of the earth system

Intermediate–E: Science and Technology
  • Understandings about science and technology

Intermediate–F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
  • Personal health
  • Populations, resources, and environments
  • Natural hazards
  • Risks and benefits

Materials Needed:
  • 36 small plastic bowls
  • 36 clear straws
  • 36 plastic spoons
  • 24 large plastic bowls
  • 5 lb. bag of sand
  • 5 lb. bag of small gray pebbles 
  • 5 lb. bag of  small white pebbles
  • 5 lb. bag of topsoil
  • 5 lbs. of clay 
  • 50-100 small pieces of coal, or large black pebbles representing coal
  • 1 small container of grass seed
  • Newspaper to cover work areas
  • Grass, leaves, and twigs,
  • A container to represent a dump trunk or coal car
  • Class set of NEED Elementary Energy Infobooks

Supplemental:
  • Coal poster  and coal samples from the American Coal Foundation (202-466-8630)
  • NEED's U.S. Energy Geography - Coal Reserve map at www.NEED.org
  • NEED's Primary Energy Stories and More  

School or Group:
National Energy Education Development Project
Contact Email:
service@greeneducationfoundation.org
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf This Mine of Mine[1].pdf
Located in: Science

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