InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Humans' Dependence on Earth's Mineral Resources > Unit 1: People, Products, and Minerals > Activity 1.3 - Economic Development and Resource Use
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Activity 1.3 - Economic Development and Resource Use

Leah Joseph (Ursinus College) with significant input from Joy Branlund (Southwestern Illinois College)


Summary

This short activity (10--15 minutes) for Unit 1 introduces students to the general relationship between economic development and resource use, and, particularly with the follow-up homework, the relationship among growing populations, increasing economic development, and natural resource extraction. The activity is intended to be completed by individuals or small groups but could also be used for a guided class discussion. This activity serves as a transition to Unit 2.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this segment, students should be able to:

  • Infer the relationships between sustainability, resource availability, and economic development

Context for Use

This quick activity can be done anytime during Unit 1, although it works well after the Minerals and Products section and concept map discussion. The activity can be completed individually, in small groups, or as a whole class discussion. A class discussion would take the least amount of class time, as the instructor can quickly familiarize the students with the graphs and the terminology.

Description and Teaching Materials

The students should complete the questions on the handout as a small group activity (2--4 students per group), although students could work individually instead. If the graphs on the handout cannot be printed out in color, it might be helpful to project the first graph on a large screen in front of the class (using the provided PowerPoint presentation).

Alternatively, the instructor could use the PowerPoint presentation to complete the activity as a whole-class discussion. Suggestions for the instructor on what to do and say with each plot can be found in the "Notes" section at the bottom of each PowerPoint slide.

Economic Development and Resource Use Activity Student Handout in Word (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.2MB Oct1 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 1.1MB Oct1 14)

Reading through the

or will also help the instructor lead class discussion.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Notes about Figure 1

  • If this activity is completed individually or in small groups, then it may be helpful to project Figure 1 in the front of the room regardless, as it may be easier to read. This will be particularly important if the copies for the students (or for groups) cannot be printed out in color.
  • Note that both of the axes for Figure 1 are log-based. We suggest the instructor discuss these axes with the class before they start work.

Other Options

As noted above, this exercise is also provided (slightly modified) as a PowerPoint presentation for instructors who would like to use it as class discussion rather than as a small-group assignment. Whether the activity is done individually, in small groups, or as a class discussion depends on the amount of class time; the class discussion likely takes the least amount of time.

Further Explanation of Key Terms Used in this Assignment

Assessment

  • If individuals or groups complete this assignment, an instructor could grade individual answers or give a general grade based on thorough and appropriate completion of the assignment. We encourage the instructor to communicate their method of choice with the class in advance of this assignment (and perhaps when looking at the module as a whole).
  • If used as class discussion, there is no individual assessment embedded within.

References and Resources

Source Information for Figures:

Other Source Information:

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »