LESSON 19 Our Earth: Storehouse of Natural Resources
Grade Level: 7-10
2. Overview It is generally believed that there is so much that is present underneath the earth that have not been discovered. Mining science has thus revealed, in most cases the wealth underground and under the ocean. The discovery of natural oil, gas and other minerals have helped the economy of most nations.
3. Purpose There are many useful minerals that can be obtained from the depths of the ground. The purpose of this lesson is to draw attention to the geological terrain of a country.
4. Objectives Students will be able to:
i. List what minerals have been obtained from underground
6. Activities and Procedures Geologically, Africa was first put on the world map for its coal fields. Coal was discovered and mined mainly for export. Internally, Africa did not have what it took to mine the coal. Later, other minerals were discovered in Africa -gold, bauxite, copper, iron, tin, uranium, etc. Crude oil and gas are also exported. Countries in Africa then joined the group of oil producing and exporting countries. Here the teacher should draw attention to the politics of mineral exploiting and sale. The minerals produced in specific countries should be discussed.
It is interesting to note that almost all the minerals are obtained from underneath the earth and under the sea which is why our earth has been referred to as the storehouse of natural resources. Several questions can then be raised:
Some of the minerals should be studied in detail. Here the science in the mining industry should be explained. A geological map of Africa should be constructed.
The uses of minerals should be discussed. The students should indicate which minerals and resources have been used in producing things in use in their community. Petrol and cooking gas understandably will top the list of resources directly used in the community. Petroleum refining presents very good opportunity to see how science is involved in industries. In countries where there are petrol refineries, simple fractional distillation principles should be discussed. To round off this question, the big question can be raised-What would our lives be without mineral resources?
The discussion on minerals will not be complete without raising issues of the environment. In the process of exploiting the mineral reserves, so much damage is done to the immediate environment. The term pollution could be revisited here. With the mining of natural resources, water, air and land are polluted. The impact of pollution on the community should be discussed. There are known cases of environmental pollution due to oil spillage in Africa. These can be discussed along with the world attention attracted by oil pollution. The economy of some oil producing African countries have been changed.
7. Tying it all together In studying mineral resources, the earth indeed is a store house. Mineral processing is what is referred to as capital intensive. It took a long time, after the independence of many African countries to know that there are mineral resources in the country. Prospecting for oil and gas for instance calls for very high level application of scientific principles. A high level staff is needed. There are vast opportunities for employment in the mining industry. Students should therefore be motivated to work hard at their science so as to be prepared for a challenging career in the mining industry in Africa.
8. Assessment Students should be given the task of finding out about natural mineral resources in their own part of the world. The teacher should examine the geological maps produced by the students.
9. Author(s) S. T. Bajah email@example.com
10. References Bethell, George et al. (1999). Science in Zimbabwe A practical approach Harare: John Murray Ltd. in association with Academic Books (Pvt) Ltd. Harare