Title: Your House Comes From a Mine
Time: 1 class period
KERA Goals: 2.3

Background Information:

ny3-1.gif (15845 bytes)

ny3-2.gif (2107 bytes)The foundation and sidewalk are probably concrete (limestone, clay, shale, gypsum and aggregate) and the driveway-- concrete or asphalt (petroleum and aggregate).The roof may be covered with asphalt shingles (petroleum and a variety of colored silicates), fiber glass (silica sand), clay, or corrugated iron. ny3-5.gif (1701 bytes)
ny3-3.gif (2279 bytes)The exterior walls may be of concrete block, brick (clay), stone or aluminum siding, all provided by mining. The gutters can be made of galvanized steel (iron and zinc), aluminum (bauxite), or plastic (petroleum).ny3-6.gif (2386 bytes)
ny3-4.gif (2476 bytes)The lumber in the walls, roof and floor will be fastened together with nails and screws (iron ore & zinc).The insulation in the walls may be glass wool (silica, feldspar, trona) or expanded vermiculite (available from mining).ny3-7.gif (2151 bytes)
ny4-1.gif (2924 bytes)The interior walls are usually wallboard, made of gypsum.Your plumbing fixtures may be made of brass (copper and zinc) or stainless steel ( iron, nickel & chrome).ny4-6.gif (4386 bytes)
ny4-2.gif (3808 bytes)Your windows are made of glass (trona, silica, sand and feldspar).Your toilets, sinks and bathtubs are made of porcelain (clay) over iron, or plastic (petroleum).ny4-7.gif (2761 bytes)
ny4-3.gif (3605 bytes)Your door knobs, locks and hinges are brass or steel (copper, zinc, iron ore, & alloys).Your sewer system is made of clay or iron pipe (plastic pipes are made from petroleum); if you have a septic tank it is concrete and the leach field is filled with sand and gravel. ny4-8.gif (2221 bytes)
ny4-4.gif (3687 bytes)Your fireplace may be made of rock, brick, or you may have a wood/coal burning stove (steel, iron, alloys, etc.).  Your furnace is made of steel (iron and alloys).The carpet in your home is made from synthetic fibers (petroleum).   The back is filled with limestone, even if your carpet is made of wool. ny4-9.gif (2848 bytes)
ny4-5.gif (2719 bytes)If your house is painted, paint is manufactured with mineral fillers and pigments. And finally, your mortgage or rental contract is written on paper made from wood or cloth fibers.  The fibers are filled with clay and other minerals to determine its color and texture. ny4-10.gif (4480 bytes)
ny4-11.gif (2515 bytes)Your electrical wiring is of copper or aluminum (bauxite).

Your House
Came Out of the Ground


  1. Which of the materials used to build your house came from your community or state?

  2. What natural resources used to run your house (i.e. electricity, gas) came from your community or state?

  3. Can you discover which other states, and even countries, were involved in producing the materials that were necessary to build your house?

  4. Does mining itself provide benefits to your community (i.e. strip mining of coal provides flat land for building sites in mountainous areas)?

Adapted from the Mineral Information Institute.