7.1 What Makes Up Earth’s Natural Resources?
This module focuses on two overarching ideas: 1) Planet Earth is made up of natural resources that humans rely on and use in a variety of ways, and 2) Each of these resources, regardless of state of matter, is made up of atoms, joined together in particular configurations called molecules. Students explore key concepts, especially the particle nature of matter, in the context of both physical and Earth sciences. Students first investigate air, modeling odors traveling in air, and then generalize their models to all gases. Over time and through investigations, they revise and generalize their model to include liquids and solids, all of Earth’s natural resources, and all matter. In an engineering-focused lesson, students investigate fossil fuels derived from those resources. While students come to this module with a general, macro-level understanding of air as made up of molecules (from 6th grade), they learn what it means to be “made up of” molecules, and for molecules to be made up of atoms. The foundational understanding of the particle nature of all matter is built upon in all modules that follow this one.