The Utah Mining Association, partnering with University of Utah mining engineering students, developed lesson plans to help teach the middle school earth science curriculum using mining industry examples and real world applications. Teachers in the Alpine School District piloted and refined the lesson plans. UMA is proud to offer these free lesson plans targeting specific earth science curriculum standards and objectives for grades 7, 8 and 9.

Lesson 1 – Density Separation

Students will be able to calculate the density of various solids and liquids.

Lesson 2 – Water and Its Effects

Students will learn the impact of expansion and contraction of solid materials on the design of buildings, highways and other structures; including highwalls and mines.

Lesson 3 – Expanding & Contracting Earth – Intro to Mining Methods

Students will learn to describe some basic mining methods and about expansion and contraction of certain materials that are mined. The different mining methods try to take advantage of the fact that materials expand or contract to help extract the desired material in the most efficient and safest way possible.

Lesson 4 – Minerals and Our Everyday Lives

Students will understand that structure is used to develop classification systems. Other goals within this topic include the categorizing of nonliving objects based on external structures, comparison of living, once living and nonliving things, emphasizing the various methods of classification. As part of learning classification techniques, a discussion on the composition of everyday materials and their sources leads into a lesson on the modern and sustainable mining industry. This discussion can focus on the production, engineering, basic principles or career options within the mining industry.

Lesson 5 – Classify This!

Students will learn how to create a simple classification system for non-living things.

Lesson 6 – Name that Mineral

Students will develop a classification system for minerals based on their observed physical characteristics.

Lesson 7 – Earth’s Structure & Density

Students will examine the densities of the Earth’s layers and relate density to positioning of Earth’s atmosphere, water, crust, mantle, and core.

Lesson 8 – Earth as a Cupcake

The students will understand how the interior of the Earth is researched.

Lesson 9 – Magnetic Cereal

Students will understand the relationship between properties of matter and Earth’s structure. Also observe and describe the sorting of Earth’s materials in a mixture based on density and particle size with different densities, sort materials of different particle size with equal densities.

Additionally, students will learn that some minerals are essential nutrients for human health. They’ll identify essential micro-mineral and macro minerals and confirm the presence of iron in breakfast cereal.

Lesson 10 – Earth’s Crust & Plate Tectonics

Students will be able to model movement along plate boundaries. Students will also be able to describe things formed at these boundaries including ore bodies that lead to deposits that are mined by man.