Fossil Fuels and the Carbon Cycle
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.
Keywords: lessons | carbon cycle | fossil fuels | global change | atmosphere | energy | coal | oil | rock | sediments | natural gas | drilling | carbon dioxide | CO2 | petroleum | crude oil | Earth | sulfur | nitrogen | diesel oil | gasoline | heating oil | methane | CH4 | gas | gases | bituminous | anthracite | combustion
- Moreno N., and B. Tharp. (2011). The Science of Global Atmospheric Change Teacher’s Guide. Third edition. Baylor College of Medicine. ISBN: 978-1-888997-76-7.
- Photo of a geologist examining a freshly recovered drill-core courtesy of Geoz, released into the public domain.
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Funded by the following grant(s)
My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932
Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education