As part of our lesson, we discuss the impact of obtaining natural resources and their effects on the environment. Students learn about different minerals found in Southeast Alaska and how minerals are used in our daily life.
This lesson focuses on pros/ cons of mining on environment and the role of minerals in our society.
The lesson addresses content and curriculum standards. It uses modern tools and technology, like a Kahoot! Pre-assessment, matching names of minerals with photos, and watching a video about an abandoned Gold Mine in Juneau, Alaska.
By doing the lab activity simulating mining, students will develop an understanding that solving problems involves different ways of thinking, and perspectives. They will each receive a blueberry muffin. The muffin represents a land area and the blueberries are valuable deposits. The goal is to remove as many mineral deposits (blueberries) with the least amount of damage to the land. Students can use different materials to mine,and different mining methods. The activity will lead them to the essential question of the lesson:
Can we mine while not destroying the Earth?
I chose to bring members of the community to share their knowledge and expertize: a U.S. Forest Service employee and a USGS employee. They will speak to the students about resource sources in the forest and the local mines, presenting mining from their perspective.
Students will listen to a story about the resources of the Tongass which opens up a discussion about the wildlife that will be endangered by mining.
To assess the outcomes students will be split in 2 groups and will have a mock debate in front of our guests and classroom. One group will be given the task to brainstorm 5 things pro mining and the other group will have to come up with 5 things against mining. Both groups will have 2 minutes to support their cause. The last activity gives us the chance to share opinions, and to reflect on the impact of mining on the environment.
For a PDF version of the lesson plan click here:Lesson plan- Impact of mining on the environment