Resources – an Earth sciences unit

Resources is an earth and space sciences unit with no prerequisite knowledge aimed at 11-14 year olds.


People of every time and culture have relied on nature for resources. We are no different today.

It’s important to know if the way we use resources will leave a healthy, productive planet for our great-grandchildren.

Introduction stimulates interest in resources with a recent Cosmos Newsblog post on discoveries about the animal resources used by the ancient Mayans.

Lesson 1 defines resource, distinguishes natural from synthetic resources, and introduces animal and plant resources. End-of-lesson quiz to test understanding.

Lesson 2 explains renewability and introduces non-living resources including rocks and minerals. End-of-lesson quiz to test understanding.

Lesson 3 explains the importance of energy and lists the world’s main energy resources. It introduces fossil and nuclear fuels. Project: energy at home. End-of-lesson quiz to test understanding.

Lesson 4 explains the motivation to adopt renewable energy and outlines how solar, wind and hydropower work. It looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the different energy resources. Activities: power station models and working steam turbine model. End-of-lesson quiz to test understanding.

Lesson 5 explains sustainability and looks at some examples illustrating overuse and harm. Project: sources of colour. End-of-lesson quiz to test understanding.

Science and society profiles an environmental science student working on a citizen-science soil project. As a societal issue we consider the ethics of our treatment of animal resources, in particular with respect to experimentation.