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Fossil Fuels and the Carbon Cycle

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

What Is in Earth's Crust?

Begin a discussion by asking students if they have ever wondered what Earth’s crust is made of, or what it contains. Then ask, What do you think the people in this picture are doing? Who do you think they are? Tell students that the people in this picture are a type of scientist, called geologists. Then ask, Have you ever wondered what geologists do? Tell students that geologists drill into Earth’s crust and collect samples, which they use to determine if fossil fuels might be found nearby. 

Help students to recognize that fossil fuels are important resources that we use to make gasoline, plastic, fertilizer, and medicines. Tell students that they will learn how geologists locate fossil fuels by using a straw to extract core samples from a model that has different layers. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education