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In the Copper Mining Laboratory Kit for environmental sciencee, engage in a real-world mining activity and build a complete environmental science lesson around it.

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Engage students in a real-world mining activity and build a complete environmental science lesson plan around it. In this unique lab, students extract and analyze copper from rock and mineral samples. In the process they dig into the history, chemistry, and environmental impact of metal mining in North America. Discuss the recovery of copper from mining waste and the role that bacteria have in the future of mining reclamation. Enough materials are provided for 30 students working in groups of three, or for 10 groups of students. A 0.1-g precision balance and other common laboratory supplies are required but not provided.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
MS-ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
MS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-ESS2.A: Earth’s Materials and Systems
HS-ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
HS-ESS2.E: Biogeology
HS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
HS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
MS-PS1-3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
MS-ESS3-1. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
HS-PS1-2. Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
HS-PS1-7. Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.
HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
HS-ESS2-5. Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.