Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Mining for Coal

Grade Level:

Activity Overview: Natural resources are not evenly distributed across the United States or even across the State of Texas. Looking at the horizon you can see if you are near the sea or surrounded by timber, but other resources crucial to our daily lives are less obvious. Each of the activities on this page references a different resource and provides resources your class can use to identify different sources of freshwater, fossil fuels, and renewable resources.

Time: This activity is part of a series on maps of natural resources. Each one takes about 15 minutes. You can schedule them in series or you can evaluate them as you discuss each resource in your class.

Procedure:

The United States is a large country with many continental resources, and coal is one of those abundant resources. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the United States sits atop the world’s largest-known coal reserves, about 267 billion short tons. In global comparison, the United States holds more coal than Russia, China, Australia, India, and Germany.

Take a look at the following slideshow of the different types of coal that can be found in the United States. You can project this slideshow map using the projector in your classroom, or ask students to access Chapter 7: Coal from Energy 101: Energy Technology & Policy.

Ask students to answer the following questions:

  • What kinds of coal can be found in Texas? [Lignite, Bituminous]
  • What type of coal CANNOT be found in Montana? [Anthracite]
  • What is the most common type of coal? [Lignite]
  • What is the rarest form of coal? [Anthracite]
  • In which states can anthracite be found? [Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado]

TEKS

SS.6.6B, SS.6.3C

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