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Minerals and Soil Unit



This comprehensive minerals and soil unit contains rocks and minerals lesson plans focusing on mining as well as soil lesson plans focusing on soil profiles, soil horizons, and soil conservation.  Lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, labs, activities, and assessments are all included.  Human impacts on the environment are interwoven through each lesson to provide students with a good basis for any environmental science or APES course.

All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.

PLEASE NOTE: This unit is part of my Full Environmental Science Curriculum.

What’s included?

  • 10 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 Minerals, Mining, and Soil PowerPoint (39 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 4 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 2 web-quests with corresponding student pages for independent learning
  • 2 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • 8 Activities: 4 Hands-on lab activities: Mineral identification lab, edible mining simulation, soil analysis lab, and soil erosion STEM activity
  • 4 individual or group research activities: Mineral social media profile, Types of rocks jigsaw activity, Mining impact research project, Global soil profiles research project
  • 6 Extension Pages: 4 Digging Deeper extensions for increased critical thinking (The Mining Process, The Smell of Soil, Porosity v. Permeability, Saving the Soil), 2 Data Analysis extensions to focus on interpretation of graphs & math integration (Coal Mining Calculations, Soil Erosion)
  • 2 quizzes through Google Forms for automatic online grading
  • 26 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review
  • Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short-answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)
  • Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration
  • Answer keys and grading rubrics for all student pages


What topics are included in this unit?

Rocks and Minerals, Mining

  • Characteristics and properties of minerals
  • Use of minerals in everyday life
  • Mining methods and impacts (surface v. subsurface, restoration v. reclamation)
  • Preservation of mineral deposits
  • Types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic) and their properties
  • Rock cycle

Soil Composition & Conservation

  • Formation of soil
  • Soil horizons and profile
  • Soil particles (sand, silt, clay)
  • Porosity and permeability of soil
  • Soil erosion by wind and water
  • Soil conservation methods


The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: MS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-5, HS-ESS2-7, HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-3, HS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS3-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, . Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.


*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 4.2: Soil Formation and Erosion
  • 4.3: Soil Composition and Properties
  • 5.4: Impact of Agricultural Practices
  • 5.9: Impacts of Mining
  • 5.15: Sustainable Agriculture
  • 6.4: Distribution of Natural Energy Resources
  • 8.2: Human Impacts on Ecosystems

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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