|Environmental Science||Environmental Education 5I1.00||Science In Society||Societal Needs 4.4 ab|
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
CONTENT STANDARD: Environmental Science
CONTENT TOPIC: Energy and the Environment
CONCEPT: Energy consumption impacts the environment.
CONTENT OBJECTIVE: 5I1.00 To understand the relationship between energy and the environment
INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES: The learner will:
TN COMPONENT OF SCIENCE: Science In Society
BENCHMARK: Scientific developments may impact personal decisions.
4.4b The demand by society for more and better products and services drives scientific research and development.
BENCHMARK:The desire for more efficient technology assures the need for more research and design.
Because of the way coal forms, we find it in layers - or beds. Some coal beds are so far underground that deep mines must be built to reach the coal. If the coal is close to the surface, it can be strip-mined. In strip-mining, soil and rock at the earth's surface are stripped away to reach the coal. This stage of strip mining is economical, but it presents problems. The wastes from strip mines often wash into streams, clogging or polluting them. The waste also kills vegetation. Strip mining destroys valuable farmland that could be used to produce food. Now laws have been passed that require mining companies to restore the land after the coal is strip-mined.
Coal has been used as a fuel for over 3,000 years. But it has been used in great amounts only since the industrial revolution in the 1800's. Burning coal for homes and industry caused the killer smogs that plagued European cities in the 1800's. Now people are concerned that burning coal will add so much carbon dioxide to the air that the earth's climate will change.
Geologists believe that oil and natural gas formed hundreds of millions of years ago. As tiny organisms died and settled to the bottom of shallow oceans, they were covered with sediments that later became sedimentary rocks. Heat and pressure changed the organisms into natural gas and oil, which is also called crude oil or petroleum.
Gas sometimes collects with oil in the pores and cracks of sedimentary rocks. Gas which is lighter, can float on top of the oil, or it can be dissolved in the oil deposits. Oil and gas that collect in sedimentary rocks can be pumped from the rocks.
Most of the large oil deposits on land in the United States have already been used. The search for new oil reserves in this country has led geologists and oil companies out into the continental shelf. Off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has already been successful.
The United States has other sources of oil. The Green River shale of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming is a thick bed of oil shale. Oil shale is sedimentary rock containing organic matter called kerogen. The kerogen, which contains oil, cannot be pumped out of oil shale. Instead, the shale is heated and the oil is removed in an expensive process. This squeezing process requires a lot of water, which is scarce in many states.
Oil and gas are good sources of energy. They burn easily and produce a lot of heat and power. They are also easy to transport. However, like coal, burning oil causes air pollution when the sulfur in it combines with oxygen. Soot and ashes are put into the air. The chief product made from oil is gasoline. Automobiles, trucks, and tractors run because of gasoline. Airplanes run because of jet fuel, which is also made from oil. Oil is also used for heating and power and it is used as a fuel to produce electricity.
As with coal, the use of oil can cause harm to our environment. Drilling for oil off the shores of oceans has sometimes led to oil spills. Oil tankers have had accidents, spilling thousands of barrels of oil into the water. When spills and accidents take place, beaches and wildlife suffer.
Also, when oil is burned it pollutes the air. The gases given off help to make smog. In fact, the burning of gasoline in automobiles is a main source of pollution.
The United States has the largest coal reserves of any country in the world. The Soviet Union is the world's largest oil producer.
Place a layer of petroleum jelly on white cardboard. Staple it to a pie tin. Place it outside in an area protected from the weather. Observe the pollution that collects on it daily.
l. Make drawings to show steps in drilling for oil and gas.
2. Make drawings to show steps in surface and underground mining.
3. Research and write a brief summary of environmental laws that apply to mining.
4. Collect pictures (or draw own) and articles which show effects of mining on the environment and also what is done to restore the environment after mining. Display these on a bulletin board.)
5. Research the damage caused by major oil spills.
6. Research laws about correct disposal of oil products. For example, what should you do with used oil drained from your car? Should you be allowed to change oil in your car? Why? Why not?
(The teacher will MONITOR and ADJUST as all students actively participate in these groups.)
This is the time this file has been accessed since 08/01/97.
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