Natural Resources

An Indepdent Long-Term WebQuest for 3rd Grade

Designed by Wil Turner

This lesson is anchored in 3rd grade Social Studies standards (TN) and is designed to be an independent inquiry-based research module.

Materials needed: Notebook paper, pencil

Natural Resources WebQuest

WebQuest Introduction

This WebQuest will allow you to explore how people use natural resources.

 

During this WebQuest, you will research how natural resources are made into finished products.

 

You will also research how natural resources impact the economy of a region and their connection to global trade.

 

Features of this WebQuest

Menu - there is a floating list on the left side of the screen that lets you move back and forth between parts of the WebQuest.

Checkmarks mean that there is a task for you to complete.

THINK ABOUT IT means stop and reflect on what you just learned, did, or read.

FQ means Focus Question. These questions are for you to write answers to.

Right there, think and search, author and you, and on my own questions mean different types of thinking about what you read. Look at THIS PICTURE if you are not sure what these mean.

Know Your Grade - At the end of each step, check your work with these expectations for this section. Match what you feel like you did with what one of the boxes says.

If you feel like your work matches what it says in the green box, you did a great job. You will get full points for this part of the assignment.

Great - 3 Points

If you feel like your work matches what it says in the green box, you did an OK job, but your work needs improvement. You will get some points for this part of the assignment.

Needs Improvement - 2 Points

If you feel like your work matches what it says in the red box, you did not follow instructions. You should go back and follow them, or you will get no points for this part of the assignment.

Unacceptable - 0 Points

 

Introduction and Task

 Watch this YouTube video about sustainability:

Read about this problem:

People use a lot of resources in everyday life. Our planet Earth has limited natural resources, and they won't last forever.

  • Can you think of a product that is made from natural resources that people use every day?

  • How is this product made?

  • How does making and using this product affect the environment?

TASK: Our class is now a team of researchers. Together, we will research where natural resources come from, how we use them, and the effect we have on our environment. Then, we will will come up with sustainable ideas for the future.

 

You will prepare a Research Presentation to share your findings. You will complete the work for the presentation as you complete each step of the WebQuest.

Step 1 - Important Words

 

Our first task as researchers is to learn the meaning of a few important words.

On a piece of notebook paper, write down these words. Skip two lines between each word:

  1. natural resource

  2. product

  3. region

Use this online dictionary to search for the definition of those four words:

Merriam-Webster Online Word Central Dictionary (for Kids)

At the top of that page, write the title Important Words. Keep that page safe, because those words are… important!

Watch this video about how we use natural resources every day:

Let's add the word transform to our page of important word definitions.

Add transform to your definition page:

4. transform - to change completely

Up above, you were asked to think of a product that we use every day. This product could be something you eat or drink, something you wear, something you or your family uses at home, or many other things.

THINK
ABOUT
IT

What is a product that you use every single day? Try to think of something that you would not want to live without.

Get a clean piece of notebook paper. Title the paper My Product.


Draw a simple picture of the product you thought about and label the picture with the product’s name.


Think about a product and answer this Focus Question. Write your answer under the picture you drew. This is an on my own question:


FQ #1 - How would your life be different if there was never going to be any more of the product you have chosen?

Know Your Grade - Check your work with these expectations for this section.

I chose an everyday product and drew a simple picture of it. I did the best I could do on the picture. I answered FQ #1 with a complete thought and a well-written sentence.

Great - 3 Points

I chose an everyday product and drew a simple picture of it, but it looks like I did not do my best on the picture. I answered FQ #1, but not with a well-written sentence or complete thought.

Needs Improvement - 2 Points

I did not choose an everyday product and / or did not draw a simple picture of it. I did not the best I could do on the picture. I did not answer FQ #1 with a complete thought and a well-written sentence.

Unacceptable - 0 Points

 

Step 2 - How is the Product Made?

Most products are made from some natural resource. In this task, you will research how your chosen product is made.

BEFORE you research your product, you will make a prediction about how the product is made.

While I did my research, I chose the product paper.

You will see my examples of work using information about paper.

​Get a clean piece of notebook paper. Title the paper How ________ is Made, but use the name of the product you chose. My paper about my product is titled How Paper is Made.

✓ Write "I think ________ is made like this:" Write how you think your product is made using Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, and so on.

Here's my example:

How Paper is Made

I think paper is made like this:

Step 1 - A tree is cut down.

Step 2 - People slice the tree into skinny pieces.

Step 3 - We use the skinny wood slices as paper.

I don’t think I have all of the steps just right, so I am excited to do some research to learn how paper is really made. Make sure you write down how you think your product is made before going on to do the research.

Have you written down how you think your product is made? Good! Now, it is time to do research. You are going to use World Book to research your product now. Check out these pictures to learn how to research how your product is made:

World Book is an online encyclopedia that has a lot of expert information. When you open the World Book website, you will see a place to type the name of your product.

After you type it, press the search button that looks like a magnifying glass.

There may be many articles that come up. Try to find an article that is just about your product.

When you open an article, you will see a menu on the left with the different sections of the article. Which do you think I should click to find out how paper is made? 

That’s right, the one that says “How Paper is Made”. Even if your product does not have a “How _____ is Made” section, the information might be there somewhere!

If you have trouble finding your product on World Book, raise your hand to ask your teacher for help.

It's time to research!

​Search for your product on World Book to find information about how it is made.

https://www.worldbookonline.com/student-new/#/home

Are you surprised about something you learned about the finished product? 

THINK
ABOUT
IT

What natural resources are used to make your product? Can you think of another product that uses the same resources?

Now that you have done some research, it’s time to write down how your product is really made.

Draw a line across your How ________ is Made paper.

✓ Write "According to World Book Encyclopedia, ________ is made like this:" and then write the steps. You do not have to use Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 in your writing this time, but you can if you would like to. This is a think and search activity.

Here's whole example paper now that I have done some research:

How Paper is Made

I think paper is made like this:

Step 1 - A tree is cut down.

Step 2 - People slice the tree into skinny pieces.

Step 3 - We use the skinny wood slices as paper.

------------------------------------------------------

According to World Book Encyclopedia, paper is made like this:

There are different ways to turn wood in to pulp.

The pulp is refined and mixed with water and fiber.

Then, it is pressed flat into a sheet of paper.

Some paper is made from recycled paper, too.

I'm glad I researched this topic, because I was totally wrong about how paper was made! Well, I knew it was made from wood at least.

Think about your product and answer this Focus Question. Write your answer at the bottom of your How _____ is Made paper. This is an on my own question.

FQ #2 - Your product uses natural resources. How could your product be made if there were no more of that natural resource?

Know Your Grade - Check your work with these expectations for this section.

Before I did research, I wrote down how I thought my product was made. Then, I wrote down the real way it was made after I did research. My writing looks like the example. I answered FQ #2 with a complete thought and a well-written sentence.

Great - 3 Points

I wrote down the steps to make the product, but I did not follow all instructions before and after research. My writing looks different than the example. I answered FQ #2, but not with a well-written sentence or a complete thought.

Needs Improvement - 2 Points

I did not down the steps to make the product, and I did not follow all instructions before and after research. My writing looks totally different than the example. I did not answer FQ #2 with a complete thought or well-written sentence.

Unacceptable - 0 Points

Step 3 - Resource Maps

 

You are a great researcher. You have been learning a lot about natural resources and how we use them to make products. You have also been thinking about sustainability, which is how we try to make good decisions with Earth’s limited resources.

We need to add sustainable to our Important Words paper. 

Get out the Important Words paper and add "sustainable". It should be number 5:

5. sustainable - choices that let us not run out of a natural resource

 

I’m thinking about the product I chose, paper. I know that paper is made out of wood, and that wood comes from trees that are cut down. Now I’m wondering… where do all of the trees that we cut down come from?

THINK
ABOUT
IT

Where could the natural resource that your product uses come from?

For the next part of your research, you will explore interactive maps of the regions of the United States. 

 

Wait, what’s a region? We better check your Important Words paper to help us remember.

 

Oh yeah! A region is a broad geographic area. It’s a part of a larger place. For example, if you live in Tennessee like me, you live in the the South region of the United States.

 

When you are exploring the interactive maps, make sure you look at the East, South, Midwest, and West regions.

 

Think about the natural resource your product uses. Try to find the region you live in, and see if the map shows a major supply of your natural resource anywhere near you.

Explore the interactive maps to learn about different natural resources in the United States.

Welcome back. Those maps were cool, right? I’m kind of confused about something, though. I know that we use a lot of paper in my school, but the South (my region) does not have a lot of forestry on its resource map.

There is a lot of forest in the Appalachian Mountains, but I have been there before and I know that they don’t cut down all of those trees for wood for paper. I looked at all of the other regions of the United States. There really aren’t any places with a lot of forests. So, I still don’t know where the wood for all the paper I use comes from!

THINK
ABOUT
IT

Did you find a place in your region where your product's natural resource might come from? If it was not in your region, was it somewhere else in the United States?

I also saw that my state, Tennessee, was covered in light green for farming. It looks like about half of the state has farming as a major economic activity. This makes sense to me, because I see a lot of farms near where I live! A big part of Tennessee’s economy is food that is produced on farms.

Go back to the interactive maps. Open the South map, and press Show All. Do all states in the south have farming as a major economic activity? Compare what resources you see the most of in each region.

✓ Find your state. What major economic activity can you see in your state?

Since the maps showed us information about economic activity, we probably should talk about the economy. You may have heard the words “economics” or “economy” in the news quite often. 

When you think about the “economy”, think about how goods or products are produced and used. Also, think about the money that moves between different people and places when we buy or sell a product. These are important parts of the economy.

Let’s write down the definition of economy on our Important Words paper.

✓ Get out the Important Words paper and add "economy". It should be word number 6:

6. economy - the system of how many goods and services are produced, and how much money people spend on those things

Think about my example product (paper). I am pretty sure that my state, Tennessee, does not rely on cutting down trees to get wood for paper as a major part of its economy. The economy of my state depends a lot on farming, a little on manufacturing and trade, and mining in a couple of places.

Since farming is so important to the area that I live in, what would happen if something made it harder for farmers to grow crops and raise animals? What if it did not rain enough and everything became dry. What if a disease spread through the plants and killed the crops? These things would hurt our economy because it depends on farming.

THINK
ABOUT
IT

According to the interactive maps, what might the economy of your state depend on? Is it farming like my state, or is it a different natural resource?

Write an answer to this Focus Question at the bottom of your How _____ is Made paper. This is an on my own question, so you have to think hard and make a connection.

FQ #3 - How does the economy relate to natural resources?

Know Your Grade - Check your work with these expectations for this section.

I added the words to my important words page. I answered FQ #2 with a complete thought and a well-written sentence.

Great - 3 Points

I didn’t quite add words to my important words page as instructed. I answered FQ #2, but not with a complete thought or a well-written sentence.

Needs Improvement - 2 Points

I did not add words to my important words page as instructed. I did not answer FQ #2 with a complete thought or well-written sentence.

Unacceptable - 0 Points

Step 4 - Think About the Future

 

The WebQuest is almost finished, and it is time to start thinking about the future.

 

Now that you have learned about natural resources, learned how a product was made, and explored resource maps that helped us learn about the economy, think about this final question:

How do humans interact with the environment,

and do we do it in a sustainable way?

 

 

 

This is a really important "THINK ABOUT IT" question.

Since this question is so important, let's break it down. Think about each and every one of these:

How do humans interact with the environment...

  • What do humans use natural resources for?

  • Do people in every part of the world use the same type of natural resources to produce things?

  • How does using natural resources to make things make our lives better?

... and do we do it in a sustainable way?

  • If humans continue to do what they are doing now, will we be able to do it forever?

  • Does the planet Earth have enough natural resources for all of the things we like to use so much?

  • How can we help right now to make sure that people in the future have enough natural resources to use?

Think about what life could be like if everyone in the world thought about these questions like you and the rest of the researchers in your class have during this WebQuest! 

For your final task, you will prepare the Research Presentation to share what you have learned. You have already done most of the work. Your presentation will include:

    1. Important words about natural resources (Done ✓)

    2. An example of how a product is made from natural resources (Done ✓)

    3. How the economy relates to natural resources (Done ✓)

    4. Your ideas for a sustainable future (This is all we have to do now)

There is only one part of this Research Presentation that we have not finished, so let’s take care of that now.

Get a clean piece of notebook paper. Title it A Sustainable Future.

Write down your ideas about how humans use resources now and how you think humans should use resources for the future. You can write about how specific products should be made or about many types resources and how we use them.

Staple all of your papers from this WebQuest together (there should be three pages) and turn them in.

THINK
ABOUT
IT

Know Your Grade - Check your work with these expectations for this section.

My work is neat and organized. I turned in all of the work.

Great - 3 Points

My work is somewhat neat and organized. I turned in most of the work.

Needs Improvement - 2 Points

My work is not neat or organized. I did not turn in most of the work.

Unacceptable - 0 Points

Conclusion

 

In the beginning of this WebQuest, you were given the role of researcher and the job of gathering information about natural resources, how we use them, and how this affects our planet. You have prepared a Research Presentation to turn in to your teacher with the things you wrote down. 

Even though you found out a lot about these topics, there is so much more to learn. Would you like to find out what natural resources other products use? Where do the natural resources and products that we use every day come from in the world? Have the resources found in different regions changed over time or have they stayed the same?

Congratulations. You have finished the Natural Resources WebQuest.