Natural Resources


Natural Resources introduces students to the variety of substances that exist naturally in the world. Students will discover how humans use these resources for various purposes. They will also learn how to categorize resources in three different ways.

There are several suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section that you can take advantage of during your lesson. One such suggestion is to go outside with your students and let them identify various natural resources. Another idea is to have students research a specific type of natural resource and present to the class.

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What our Natural Resources lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Natural Resources explores the various resources that the Earth provides. Students will learn the different between renewable and nonrenewable resources. They will also be able to list examples that fall into each category. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, make sure you bring several items for the lesson opening.

Options for Lesson

This section of the classroom procedure page provides a number of suggestions for ideas or activities to incorporate into the lesson. A few relate specifically to the activity portion. For instance, you could have students work in pairs for the activity. You could also include additional photos for them to use. Students could complete an activity chart using items they find at home. Another suggestion is to take students outdoors to identify items that fall into each of the categories. Divide students into groups and assign each one a category of resources to research and later present to the class. One more idea is to give each students an item and have them figure out which type of resource it is. You can then rotate the items around the room.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information or guidance as to what to expect from the lesson plan. It suggests incorporating a discussion on protecting Earth’s resources or on environment issues that world leaders face. The blank lines provide some space for you to write out any ideas or thoughts you have as you prepare.


What Are Natural Resources?

The Natural Resources lesson plan contains a total of three content pages. The lesson starts off by describing how people use many of the things that surround them. We use oil in our vehicles, soil and water in our gardens, and wood for building houses. Students will discover that the origin of all these things is in nature itself.

Anything we use that comes from nature is a natural resource. A lot of these things are essential or helpful to our survival, such as land, forests, animals, rocks, fossil fuels, and minerals. Human beings did not create these items. On the contrary, they have always been a part of the Earth. Humans simply use them quite often.

Many natural resources connect to each other. Water, for example, is one natural resource that is incredibly important. A limited supply of water would affect other resources, such as animals and plants. It would not just affect human beings.

Natural resources can be consumed directly or indirectly. An animal eating a plant is an example of direct consumption. However, the trees of a forest indirectly act as a means of climate control, flood control, and storm protection. On the other hand, the same trees could be used as raw materials for building houses or furniture.

Categories of Natural Resources

Students will learn about the three main ways to categorize natural resources: organic or inorganic, renewable or nonrenewable, and metallic or nonmetallic. Organic resources are those that come from living things. Examples include trees and plants, animals, single-celled organisms, and other living things. Nonorganic resources come from non-living things, like rocks, wind, or sunlight.

All resources are either renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable resources are always available and can easily be replaced or recovered. This includes animals, water, wind, and a few others. Nonrenewable resources, however, are not easily replaced. Fossil fuels like oil and natural gas are a major example of nonrenewable resources. Minerals form naturally, but replacing them takes thousands of years because of the process of the rock cycle.

Finally, students will learn the difference between metallic and nonmetallic resources. A metallic resource is one that contains metal, is shiny and hard, and can be melted to form other products. Copper, tin, gold, and iron are examples of metallic resources. On the opposite end are nonmetallic resources that contain no metal and tend to be softer and not shiny. Clay and coal are nonmetallic resources.

Using Natural Resources

The lesson explains that finding natural resources is easy because they exist all over the world. They provide many benefits from food and drink to farm products to medicines and more. We use natural resources for transportation in cars, boats, trains, planes, and many others. One of the main uses of any number of natural resources relates to building structures like homes, roads, and other construction. We also use them for energy to heat and cool homes and businesses.

Natural resources exist freely in nature. We categorize them in different ways and have found many beneficial uses for them. The lesson ends by asking students what natural resource they would miss the most if it no longer existed. This could be a great opportunity to discuss the impact various resources have on the Earth and its inhabitants.


The Natural Resources lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help solidify students’ grasp of the lesson material and help students demonstrate their knowledge in different ways. The guidelines on the classroom procedure page outline when to hand out each worksheet throughout the lesson.


For the activity, students will review two images. Using the chart on the worksheet, they will list as many items as they can think of based on the photos. These items can be visible (like a table) or invisible (like air). There are six columns that list the various categories of resources that the items might represent. Students will write an X in the columns that each item matches. There is an answer key for this worksheet that lists items with the accompanying X’s for reference. For instance, for the item of water, students should place an X in the renewable, inorganic, and non-metallic columns.


The practice worksheet requires students to read a passage about nonrenewable resources. There are 20 blanks throughout the passage and a word bank with 20 terms. Students must fill in the blanks using the options in the word bank.


There are two sections of the homework assignment. The first section requires students to match definitions with their correct terms. There are 10 definitions and 10 corresponding terms listed in a word bank. For the second section, students must look at three subsections of resources. They will mark items in the first section as renewable (R) or nonrenewable (N). Next, they will mark items in the second section as either organic (O) or inorganic (I). Finally, they will mark whether items in the last section are metallic (M) or nonmetallic (N).

Worksheet Answer Keys

The last three pages of the lesson plan document are answer keys for the three worksheets. All the correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare them to students’ work. The answer key for the activity provides many examples of items students may find in the pictures. Students’ responses may vary from those on this key. However, their work should mirror the answers on the practice and homework answer keys. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Science, Video

State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1.c, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.5, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1.c, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.5, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.10

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of
most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact
your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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The material was useful in the lead up to a waste audit at the middle school level. Thank you.

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