Level: Middle School
Time: 20 minutes
KERA Goals: 1.12; 1.4
Students will be aware of the amount of different kinds of minerals needed to maintain our standard of living.
Materials: Transparency of worksheet below
To maintain our standard of living requires the continual production of new minerals. In fact, it requires the production of 40,000 pounds of new minerals and metals every year, for every citizen in the United States.
Those minerals provide our food, homes, schools, hospitals and factories, and the equipment and energy to make them operate. Every day, we are surrounded by minerals that help make our lives a little easier.
40,000 pounds of minerals must be mined every year for every person in the United States to maintain our standard of living.
Per Capita Consumption of Minerals
1776 vs 1991 (in pounds)
Iron & Steel
Sand, Gravel, Stone
Occurrence of Resources in the U.S. -- Coal fields
Coal is formed from peat (decayed plants) usually in swamps. There are four types of coal lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite. Do you have coal in your state? What type?
How much coal must be mined every year for every person in the United States to maintain our standard of living?
How much coal was needed per person in 1776? Why do we need 125 times more coal per person today? Will the amount of coal we use increase or decrease?
Adapted from the Mineral Information Institute.