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Core Concepts

Secondary, Middle

Description

This comprehensive resource provides strong curriculum connections to the earth sciences. In addition to the topics of rocks, minerals and soils, Core Concepts effectively addresses the need for mineral resource extraction (mining) as well as its impacts. Individual lessons feature a wide range of learning activities that are well-supported by the resource. Most of the activities are hands-on, easy to implement and involve students in guided inquiry. The five ‘stand alone’ units comprising Core Concepts include:

1. Structure of the Earth- Students are introduced to the physical structure of the earth and processes that have formed and continually shape it. Information is provided through short readings, video clips and students participate in a number of hands on activities that demonstrate core earth science topics including the earth’s layers, Tectonic plates, faulting & folding and volcanic and seismic activity.

2. Rocks and Minerals- Employing actual tools and tests used by geologists, students learn to how to identify the characteristics and properties of various minerals. An exercise with color photos (provided) illustrates how the ‘type’ of rock is based on its mineral component. Students are also provided with information and opportunities to learn how rocks are classified and changed via the rock cycle. Other topics include rock strata and fossils and geological timescales. The unit concludes with an engaging rock identification challenge.

3. Soil and Erosion- This highly hands-on study begins with a number of simple experiments to demonstrate the key processes of weathering and erosion and their role soil formation. Students then conduct a series of laboratory investigations into the components and core characteristics of soil. Information is provided on the various soil types leading to a discussion of the importance of soils as a natural resource, human impacts and the need for conservation. Other topics included glaciers and glacial landforms.

4. Mining Cycle- With the help of posters, videos, printed information, role play and simulation students learn about the different types of mines (surface vs underground), how mines are discovered, mining technology, and various methods of mine reclamation and rehabilitation. In this unit students also research and discuss the social, economic and environmental considerations surrounding resource extraction. Attention is also given to the importance of recycling given the non-renewable mineral resources contained within the many disposable products that make up our everyday waste.

5. Social & Environmental Responsibility- Students are given the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a real –world context. They take on the role of mining engineers and build a model of a surface mine. Using a case-study approach, students then investigate a proposal for a new nickel mining project in the fictitious town of Wakima. After studying the site and mining plans students take on the roles of key stakeholders and participate in a ‘town hall’ simulation that examines the economic, environmental and social considerations of the project.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • rock identification
  • soil identification
  • use of field and laboratory equipment

Strengths

  • supports a balanced examination of the social, environmental and economic considerations involved in mineral extraction (mining)
  • support materials needed to complete the activities are  included in the resource- very easy to implement
  • materials for experiments and demonstrations are inexpensive and easily obtained.
  • mining content is current and up to date
  • employs a wide range of learning activities
  • highly hands-on
  • has meaningful applications in a number of curriculum areas.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The entire resource package effectively supports Earth Science and Geology outcomes in most grades (from 7-11) in most provinces.  Individual modules and activities will prove effective in meeting curriculum objectives in other subject areas as well, including Geography and general Science.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Planet Earth
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20: The Changing Earth
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 30: World Patterns of Physical Elements
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: The theory of plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological processes
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Science 11: Earth Materials
        • Earth Science 11: Earth Materials: Earth materials are changed as they cycle through the geosphere and are used as resources, with economic and environmental implications
        • Earth Science 11: Geologic Time Scale
        • Earth Science 11: Internal Processes and Plate Tectonic Theory
        • Earth Science 11: Plate tectonic theory explains the consequences of tectonic plate interactions
        • Sustainable Resources 11: Mining
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12: Gradation Process
        • Geography 12: Tectonic Processes
        • Geography 12:Resources and Environmental Sustainability
      • Geology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geology 12: Earth Materials
        • Geology 12: Earth Resources
        • Geology 12: Geological Time Scale
        • Geology 12: Internal Processes and Plate Tectonic Theory
        • Geology 12: The form, arrangement, and structure of rocks are affected by three-dimensional forces over time.
        • Geology 12: The plate tectonic theory explains the changes that occur within Earth and to Earth’s crust throughout geological time.
        • Geology 12: Weathering and erosion processes continually reshape landscapes through the interaction of the geosphere with the hydrosphere and atmosphere
        • Geology 12:Earth’s geological and biological history is interpreted and inferred from information stored in rock strata and fossil evidence.
        • Geology 12:Minerals, rocks, and earth materials form in response to conditions within and on the Earth’s surface and are the foundation of many resource-based industries
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainable Resources 12: Mining: Geology and Exploration
        • Sustainable Resources 12: Mining: Sustainability and Environmental Issues
        • Sustainable Resources 12: Mining:Extraction and Processing
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth's Crust
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth's Crust
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Geography 110: From Continental Drift to Tectonic Plates
        • Physical Geography 110: Geological Emphasis
        • Physical Geography 110: Shaping the Land
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth's Crust
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 3200/3202: Land and Water Forms
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Systems 3209: Earth Materials
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Planet Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Geology and Geomorphology
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20: The Changing Earth
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Earth's Crust
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10:Land Environment
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Geography:Resources and Commodities
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geology 12: Earth Materials
        • Geology 12: Internal Processes
        • Geology 12: Surface Processes
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Planet Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Geology and Geomorphology
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20: The Changing Earth
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Spheres of the Earth
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): Spacial Organization
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth and Space Science (Univ. Prep) Recording Earth's History
        • Earth and Space Science (Univ. Prep.) Geological Processes
        • Earth and Space Science(Univ. Prep.) Earth Materials
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth's Crust
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 521A, Global Studies: Physical Patterns of the World
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Earth and Space Science: Earth’s Crust and Resources
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: The Form of the Earth
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Science 30: Foundations of Earth Science
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: The theory of plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological processes
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • /Earth Sciences :Earth Materials
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12: Gradation Process
        • Geography 12: Resources and Environmental Sustainability
        • Geography 12: Tectonic Processes
      • Geology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geology 12: Earth Materials
        • Geology 12: Geological Time Scale
        • Geology 12: Internal Processes and Plate Tectonic Theory
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geology 12: Earth Materials
        • Geology 12: Earth Resources
        • Geology 12: Geological Time Scale
        • Geology 12: Internal Processes and Plate Tectonic Theory

Themes Addressed

  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Rocks and Minerals
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Much of the resource is focused on teaching key concepts/content in Earth Science.  For those modules addressing mineral extraction, effort is made to represent a variety of perspectives. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

In both the Mining Cycle and the Social & Environmental Responsibility modules, students participate in activities in which they are asked to consider the social, economic and environmental dimensions of mineral extraction.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

While the description provided of mineral extraction is comprehensive, more attention could be given to the environmental and social impacts that can unfold during the active life of a mine.  The need to prevent harm and the technology in place to do so are highlighted, but the record of successes and failures is not.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Attention is paid to the importance of and need for soil conservation and recycling minerals.  Students do venture into the community to investigate the status of recycling efforts but taking action for  personal or community change is not a point of emphasis.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

In those activities and exercises that examine human impacts on the environment, students are provided with opportunities to form and express their own values.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Not considered.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

Topics and discussions related to mineral extraction and soil formation should help foster both appreciation and concern on the part of students for the natural world.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

As part of the Weathering and Erosion Unit, students investigate and apply what they have learned to soils in their own communities.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered

While geological timelines are part of the Earth Science activities, the focus of attention in the mineral extraction discussions is on present circumstances.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The learning framework used in the resource follows the '5E's' approach- Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. Units dealing with mineral extraction and mining allow students to explore various impacts and perspectives.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Poor/Not considered

With the exception with a few communication and visual/music arts activities, the resource is focused on outcomes in the Earth Sciences.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The resource involves students in a number of guided inquiries in all 5 modules.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

All modules offer numerous hands-on activities.  Some (eg. interviewing and community survey work) take learning into the community.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Activities allow for both individual and group investigation.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

Most activities include questions that can help assess student learning.  Each module offers assessment ideas and rubrics. 

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Case studies are included in the feature video "Ground Rules" and in module 5: Social & Environmental Responsibility.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

While the resource is largely directive in its approach, there are limited opportunities for students to choose the medium in which they work and to control the depth & area of their research.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.