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Chapter 7

Earth's Natural Resources


Section Learning Outcomes
Section 1
  • Compare energy resources used to generate electricity in the United States to other countries.
  • Identify the major energy sources used to produce electricity in the United States and your state.
  • Identify trends and patterns in electricity generation.
  • Understand the difference between electric power and electric energy.
  • Describe commonly used methods of generating electric power.
Section 2
  • Classify the rank of coal using physical properties.
  • Understand what coal is made of and how coal forms.
  • Explain why coal is a nonrenewable resource.
  • Investigate the distribution, production, and consumption of coal in the United States.
  • Evaluate possible practices to conserve coal resources.
Section 3
  • Understand the origin of petroleum and natural gas.
  • Describe the distribution of oil and gas fields across the United States.
  • Understand factors that control the volume and rate of production in oil and gas fields.
  • Recognize the overwhelming dependence of today’s society on petroleum.
  • Graph changes in domestic oil production and foreign imports to predict future needs and trends.
  • Understand why oil and gas production have changed in the United States over time.
Section 4
  • Examine some of the environmental impacts of using fossil fuels.
  • Understand how the use of fossil fuels relates to one of Earth’s major geochemical cycles—the carbon cycle.
  • Understand the meaning of pH.
  • Understand how weather systems and the nature of bedrock geology and soil affect the impact of acid rain.
  • Determine ways that energy resources affect your community.
  • Analyze the positive and negative effects of energy use on communities.
Section 5
  • Construct a solar water heater and determine its maximum energy output.
  • Construct a simple anemometer to measure wind speeds in your community.
  • Evaluate the use of the Sun and the wind to reduce the use of nonrenewable energy resources.
  • Understand how systems based upon renewable energy resources reduce consumption of nonrenewable resources.
Section 6
  • Identify the mineral resources and commodities of the United States.
  • Understand how different minerals are formed and which minerals are best suited for particular tasks.
  • Construct a model of a mineral deposit and map the relative positions of the deposits.
  • Understand how geologists explore for mineral resources by conducting a survey to locate ore deposits in another group’s model.
  • Use your survey results to drill for the ore.
  • Understand the necessity and benefits of exploratory surveys in locating minerals.
Section 7
  • Design a procedure for mining the model used in Section 6 that optimizes time and cost, and reduces environmental impact.
  • Analyze the outcomes of mining the model to understand demand and market value, and the costs of labor, refining, transportation, and environmental reclamation.
  • Understand the benefits and drawbacks to mineral exploration and mining.
  • Analyze the economic importance of mining in your state.
Section 8
  • Create and manipulate physical models of surface-water and groundwater supply systems.
  • Explain how a change in one part of the water-supply system creates changes in other parts of the system.
  • Understand the main ways that a community can increase its water supply.
  • Compare and contrast surface water and groundwater systems.
  • Analyze the water-supply system in your community.
Section 9
  • Design a method for determining how much fresh water your school uses every day.
  • Analyze statistics on water use for your county and an adjacent county and explain any differences in per-person water use between your county and an adjacent county.
  • Differentiate between uses of fresh water in the United States and identify these uses as consumptive or nonconsumptive.
  • Explore methods of water conservation and make suggestions about which methods would benefit your school and home.
Section 10
  • Construct and analyze a physical model of the movement of pollutants in groundwater and determine how the pumping of water from wells influences this movement.
  • Measure the level of nitrates in a stream within your community.
  • Identify and describe ways that human activity affects surface water and groundwater quality.
  • Model and explain key processes and stages in water treatment and filtration.
  • Understand how and why water is treated prior to human consumption.

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