Lesson Two: Overview of Wyoming’s Mineral & Energy Industry

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Grade Level:

4th Grade


45 minutes


  • “Minerals and Energy in Wyoming” overview text (sources 2-13) for each student
  • Blackline master for word sort activity (one copy for each pair of students)
  • Blackline master key (teacher copy)

Suggested Teacher Preparation:

  • Read through the overview text and become familiar with the information it contains.

Activity Type

Building background knowledge

Purpose Statement (content Focus & Enduring Understanding/Knowledge/Skills and connection to the unit and preceding lessons):

Students will read informational text as an introduction to the mining and energy industry in Wyoming.

Explanation of how the activity enables students to answer the overarching question:

By better understanding the role of minerals and energy in Wyoming, students will be better equipped to be stewards.

Essential Question:

How can we be stewards of Wyoming’s minerals and energy to benefit current and future generations?

Supporting Question:

What are minerals and energy?


ELA: RI.4.2 RI.4.4, RI.4.10 (practiced/encountered for all three)


(use as a reference as needed)

  • Coal – a black or brownish-black hard substance within the earth that is used as a fuel
  • Bentonite – a kind of absorbent clay formed by the breakdown of volcanic ash
  • Trona – a gray mineral that occurs as an evaporate in salt deposits and consists of a hydrated carbonate and bicarbonate of sodium
  • Uranium – a gray, dense radioactive metal used as a fuel in nuclear reactors
  • Crude oil – unrefined petroleum
  • Hydropower – electricity produced from machines that are run by moving water
  • Mineral – a substance (such as quartz, coal, petroleum, salt, etc.) that is naturally formed under the ground
  • Revenue – money that is made by or paid to a business or an organization
  • Industry – a group of businesses that provides a particular product or service
  • Infrastructure – the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise
  • Natural Gas – odorless gas that is taken from under the ground and used as fuel

Instructional Procedure/Steps:

  1. Provide each student with a copy of the overview text. “Minerals & Energy in Wyoming”. Either read the text aloud or call on students to read it aloud. All students should follow along while reading with their own copies.
  2. Discuss key vocabulary and concepts as the text is read.
  3. When the class has finished reading the text, have students complete the sorting activity in pairs. Together, students will complete the “Minerals & Energy” chart identifying which heading goes with each of the terms in the word box.
  4. TEACHER NOTE: Alternative activity- interactively manipulate the words from the word bank into the correct column of the chart on an interactive whiteboard.

  5. Close the lesson by having students discuss the following questions. Ask:
    • What personal connections can you make to minerals and energy in Wyoming?
    • In the text, can you track your morning activities (alarm, phone, light, warm shower) to the resources which may have made them possible?
    • What other aspects of your daily lives are you aware of being impacted by Wyoming’s minerals or energy?
    • Does anyone have a family member who works in the industry?
    • benefit – possible suggestions- advantage, profit
    • generation – possible suggestions- age group, grandparents, parents
  6. TEACHER NOTE: Even though coal is technically classified as a fossil fuel (because it is composed of organic matter), it is often referred to as a mineral. (source 1)


Completed sorting activity

Worksheet Key

Oil & Gas Minerals Power Production
crude oil trona solar energy
gas uranium hydro
state’s largest amount of generated taxes rare earth minerals wind
carbon dioxide bentonite power plants
helium coal

TEACHER NOTE: Some students may also make the case that coal, uranium, oil, and gas could go in the power production box. Ask students to justify their rationale for putting them in either column.


  1. National Mining Association. (2016). Facts, Stats and Data. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://nma.org/facts-stats-and-data/
  2. Wyoming State Geological Survey. (n.d.) Wyoming’s Oil & Gas Facts. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/energy/oil-gas-facts
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA. (2017, April 18). Independent Statistics and Analysis. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA. (2016, November 23). Independent Statistics and Analysis. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=46&t=8
  5. Wyoming Mining Association. (2016, April 6). Economics. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/economics/
  6. Wyoming State Geological Survey. (n.d.). Wyoming Industrial Minerals. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from http://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/minerals/industrial-minerals
  7. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA. (2017, June 15) Independent Statistics and Analysis. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.eia.gov/state/data.php?sid=WY
  8. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA. (2017, June 15). Independent Statistics and Analysis. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.eia.gov/state/data.php?sid=WY
  9. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA. (2017, June 15). Independent Statistics and Analysis. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.eia.gov/state/data.php?sid=WY
  10. Wyoming Mining Association. (n.d.). 2016-2017 Concise Guide to Wyoming Coal. Retrieved June 22 , 2017, from http://www.wyomingmining.org/wp-conten/uploads/2013/10/2016-17-Concise-Guide-to-Wyoming-Coal.pdf
  11. Wyoming Mining Association.(2016,April6).Trona.RetrievedJune22,2017, from https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/trona/
  12. Wyoming Mining Association. (2016, April 6. Bentonite. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/trona/
  13. Stafford, J. Wyoming State Geological Survey (2012, February). Wyoming’s Electrical Generation (Rep.). Retrieved June 22, 2017, from website: http://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/products/wsgs-2012-electricalgeneration-summary.pdf