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Title:  Finding Coal Products in Your Home
Level: Primary, Middle
Time: 1-2 Days

Objective: Students will identify items in their homes that come from coal.

Background Information:

- Coal is used for industrial and manufacturing purposes and household materials.

- Fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag are formed when coal is burned and each is used to make certain end products.

Materials:

abrasives
baking powder
batteries
chalk
concrete (small pieces)
fertilizer
golf balls
insulation
linoleum (some)

mothballs
paint
paper clips
perfumes
pens
plastic
poster board
rubber bands
shingles (some)
sugar substitute
trays
 

NOTE:  Teachers may use other items.

Discussion:

Coal is a national resource whose use affects everyone.  Coal is America’s most readily available, least expensive, and most abundant major fossil fuel resource.  Burning coal generates over half of our nation’s electricity.  Coal is also used directly by industries and manufacturing plants.  When coal is burned it produces coal ash.  Fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag are the primary forms.  Fly ash can be used as a partial replacement for cement in concrete; as a low cost filler in golf balls, tennis rackets, screwdriver handles, plastics, bowling balls and linoleum.  Bottom ash is often used in concrete blocks and as a base in road construction.  Boiler slag is used in roofing shingles and as a blasting abrasive.


Activity:

  1. Divide students into groups.
  2. Give each group poster board and markers.
  3. Students are to view the items laid out before them and are to decide as a group which items are made from coal by-products.
  4. Students are to divide their poster board into three columns and label the first – Items made with fly ash, second – Items made with bottom ash and third – Items made of boiler slag.
  5. Students are to arrange the items on the poster board under the column of the group’s choice (students may also glue or paste their items on to the poster board).
  6. Each group is to explain its selection rationale with class members.
  7. Students are to create a graph to depict coal by-product use. See sample graph.

 

SAMPLE COAL-BY-PRODUCTS GRAPH

  

Number of Items Rescued

 
22 
20 
18 
16 
14 
12 
10 
8 
6 
4 
2 
 

BY-PRODUCTS
FROM FLY ASH

BY-PRODUCTS
FROM BOTTOM ASH

BY-PRODUCTS
FROM BOILER SLAG

 

Provided by American Coal Foundation