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Resource Consumption

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Janis Treworgy, Principia College
Course: Introductory Geology
17 students
Connecting course topics to students' lives is a very effective strategy to motivate their learning.

The Activity

As one means of showing the relevance of geology to our lives, I put up a list of about 30 items in homes and have students discuss in small groups which of those items are made of earth materials. We discuss this as a group and they start to realize how much "rocks" are everywhere in their lives. I then show a couple of visuals that illustrate the per capita consumption of a variety of earth materials that need to be mined. This leads to them having to think beyond their comfort level and talk with others in the class, first in small groups then as a class.

Additional Information

Visualizations from the Gapminder (more info) website can help you explore per capita consumption by country, too.