Reflection: Real World Applications Exploring Coal - Section 2: Explore


I love this lab for several reasons. It is an informal science investigation in which I feel that I do not have to intervene too much in the development of the lab. (In some investigations, I have to help students determine the organization of the lab to record appropriate data.) In this investigation, the students decide it all.

This is especially important when we get to the variables and the data table. I've had groups that want to weigh the "mined" chocolate. I've had groups that want to count the chocolate chips. I have had groups that want to time how long each tool takes and others that want time as a control. All methods work. The students have such fun mining the cookies and they get to eat the cookies. 

Regardless of how the cookies are mined, it is evident that some cookies have more chocolate than others. The students naturally apply this to the coal map and the regional differences in the coal beds. The different tools extract the cookies faster or slower, more easily or less easily. It is a natural conclusion that the better the tool, the more coal will be extracted.

  How to Design a Science Investigation
  Real World Applications: How to Design a Science Investigation
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Exploring Coal

Unit 5: Exploring Non-Renewable Energy Sources
Lesson 6 of 9

Objective: SWBAT explain how coal mining technology has an impact on the economic and environmental viability of an energy resource.

Big Idea: How do technological advances effect the future of coal? How can the USA balance the economic importance of coal with the environmental costs?

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