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)

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.

Overview

Focus is on looking at the relationship between mineral resource consumption and GDP and trends over time for consumption and extraction for 3 different regions. No mention is made on the impact of extractions, so DCI alignment includes ESS3.A but not ESS3.C (human impacts); however, discussion should address sustainability (thus CCC C7.2).

Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. MS-P4.2:

Cross Cutting Concepts

Cause and effect: Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects. HS-C2.1:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Natural Resources: Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes. MS-ESS3.A1:

  1. This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

    • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
    • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
    • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
    • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
    • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.

  2. This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

    This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

    • Scientific Accuracy
    • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
    • Pedagogic Effectiveness
    • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
    • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

    For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Oct 16, 2014

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)

Economic Development and Resource Use Activity PPT.


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Teaching Notes and Answer Key for Economic Development and Resource Use in Word


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in PDF


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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

We have used the term "consumption rate" to indicate what Steinberger et al. (2010) called the "metabolic rate" for Figure 1. Our use of "consumption rate" within this activity (and metabolic rate for Steinberger et al. (2010)) refers to the domestic material consumption (DMC) of a country (in tons) per capita per year. The DMC of a material is the extraction of that material plus its imports minus its exports of those same materials. Please see the Steinberger et al. (2010) article for a discussion of how the data was derived and any uncertainties within the generation of the data.

Per capita gross domestic product, or GDP, is the "gross domestic product divided by midyear population," as defined on the World Bank website from which the data were obtained. "GDP is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources." Another definition of GDP (not GDP per capita) that may be helpful is the "total market value of the goods and services produced by a nation's economy during a specific period of time. It includes all final goods and services—that is, those that are produced by the economic resources located in that nation regardless of their ownership and that are not resold in any form." (online Encyclopedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/246647/gross-domestic-product-GDP)

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:

  • Figure 1 Consumption (Metabolic) Rate data: 
Steinberger, J., Krausmann, F., and Eisenmenger, N. 2010. "The Global Patterns of Materials Use: A Socioeconomic and Geophysical Analysis." Ecological Economics, 69, no. 5: 1148--58.
  • Figure 1 GDP per capita for constant 2000 US$ data for the year 2000: Downloaded from the World Bank website http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.KD.
  • Figure 1 Country Classification: Obtained from the United Nations Statistics Division at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm. The exception is that Mexico is considered on the plot to be part of North America, rather than Latin America/Central America.
  • Figure 1 Concept (and general source of information): Fischer-Kowalski, M., Swilling, M., von Weizsäcker, E. U., Ren, Y., Moriguchi, Y., Crane, W., Krausmann, F., Eisenmenger, N., Giljum, S., Hennicke, P., Romero Lankao, P., Siriban Manalang, A., and Sewerin, S. (2011). Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth. A Report of the Working Group on Decoupling to the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme. Downloaded from http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/decoupling/files/pdf/decoupling_report_english.pdf on 11/15/12 (Figure 2.6 on page 14).

  • Figure 2 Data and Concept: Rogich, D. G., and Matos, G. R. 2008. "The Global Flows of Metals and Minerals." U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1355. 11 pg., available only online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1355/.

Other Source Information:

  • Fridolin, K., Gingrich, S., Eisenmenger, N., Erb, K.-H., Haberl, H., and Rishcer-Kowalski, M. (2009). "Growth in Global Materials Use, GDP and Population During the 20th Century." Ecological Economics, 68, no. 10: 2696--705.
  • Gross Domestic Product. Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/246647/gross-domestic-product-GDP (accessed November 15, 2012).
  • SERI, 2011. Global Resource Extraction by Material Category 1980--2008. Accessed at: http://www.materialflows.net/trends/analyses-1980-2008/global-resource-extraction-by-material-category-1980-2008/ (Accessed September 12, 2012).

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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 »