Conserving Earth's Resources

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SWBAT explain how people use and conserve Earth's Resources

Big Idea

Why should we care for Earth resources?

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards

Earth Science

  • Types of resources

Resources such as rocks, soil, water, animals, and air, are living and nonliving things that help to meet our needs.  This lesson focuses on students learning about how to use Earth's Resources and how to take care of Earth's resources. The lesson is important because students learn that natural resources can be classified as renewable or nonrenewable.  Students need to understand that renewable resources,such as water, and wind are replaced quickly and nonrenewable resource like coal or oil take million of years to form. They understand that they need to protect Earth's resources; since. some take a long time to replace.   Also, this lesson helps to support 2nd grade Tennessee Standards.

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups communicate with each other about how they use Earth's resources in their every day lives.

Prior Knowledge:

Students understand Earth's resources. They know that Earth's resources are air, water, plants, animals, soil, and rocks. They know that these are living and non-living things that are a part of Earth. Students understand how soil helps plants grow and how rocks and minerals are used to meet our needs.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets that they created early in the school year, during their experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It is Science Time" before each lesson.


  • Water-
  • Water-
  • Water and Air-




5 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song  at the opening of each Science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists before the lesson begins. During Science lessons, I call my students Junior Scientists because I want them to imagine themselves in this career.

I call on a volunteer to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a Junior Scientist says, "I can explain why people should care for Earth's Resources." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping. I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

Students observe a video about conserving natural resources. The video helps my visual learners and helps students learn more about taught concepts.





15 minutes

While students are sitting with their groups, they assign their group roles such as: recorder, manager, and reporter. I permit the students to select their own roles because they are more aware of  their own strengths and weaknesses.  This also boosts students' self esteem and encourages them to make social and academic improvements. I select the leader of the group who I believe has demonstrated leadership qualities.  The students use labels and clothes pin clips to secure them to the lab jacket.  The labels are provided  to help them remember their role within the group. Also, it helps promote a positive classroom environment with little conflict and more cooperation.

They are informed that they are going to become an expert on a selected natural resource.  Groups pull an index card  with a natural resource on it in order to make their selection.  The students pull a card to ensure fairness and equity. They are instructed that they are going to tell what the resource is; how the resource can be used; how the resources can be destroyed and how the resource can be saved.  Groups are instructed to complete the expert sheet to record their findings.  The students are provided 25 minutes to complete their expert sheet and research. I remind the manager to pay close attention to the timer. This is done to help students with time management and as well as keep them on task.  I inform them that they can assign jobs to their group members to make the task move along quickly such as: someone can research on how soil is used while another person can research how to conserve soil.

Be the Expert-Student Work

Teacher note: I  provide the groups with trade books and access to a computer with preselected websites for students to use. If you do not have access to a computer, you can print the information out and provide it to the students.



15 minutes

When the groups are finished, I provide each student in the group with a number, 1-4 which is on a wooden clothes pin. I ask each group member to place numbers 1-4 on their science lab jacket. Also, I provide them with a copy of their expert sheet that they completed collectively.  Then I use the Jigsaw method. I place all 1's at a table, all 2's, all 3's, and 4's.  Students take turns to share their research. 

Be the Expert (reading)-video

Be the Expert

The Jigsaw method helps students learn all the new information obtained from each group. Also, I like this method because all students are required to report  their findings. My less talkative students are actively participating.

After the group's discussion, we have a whole class discussion. During the whole class discussion, we discuss the Earth's resources. I make sure that the students discuss renewable or non-renewable resources; how people use them; how people damage it; and how people can conserve it.  I have the whole class discussion to check for students' understanding. Also, I ask questions to ensure that students discuss the resources thoroughly.



20 minutes

Choice Board

After our whole class discussion, I provide students with three choices to show their understanding of their selected natural resources. In providing them with choices, I am accommodating my students' learning style which makes the learning more authentic for the students.

After the students make their choices, I provide them with the appropriate activity sheet.

1. Write a persuasive letter to a person that lives in the future about a selected resource such as: soil, air, water, or plants. Your letter should inform them how to take care of the selected resource; why it is important; and what would happen if they do not. This assignment helps my students who enjoy writing and are analytical thinkers. 

2. Create a poster about how to save a selected resource such as: soil, air, water, and plants. This assignment helps my creative learners.

 3. Create a how to list on how to conserve a selected natural resource such as: soil, air, water, and plants. This assignment helps my practical learners.

Letter-Student Work

How to List-Student Work

Ad-Student Work