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Topic – Using Resources

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Using Resources

We use natural resources in many ways. We use some resources almost in their original form.
We drink water and eat salmon. The water and the salmon are easy to identify. That is because they have not been changed into something else.

Products Made from Resources

Many resources are changed into products that we use. Sometimes it is easy to identify the resource that was used to make the product. Wood from trees is used to build houses and furniture. The wood in a bookcase looks like the wood in a tree. That is how we know it came from a tree. But wood can also be used to make paper, and paper does not look like wood.

Oil is a resource that is used in many different products. These include plastic containers, paint, soap, helmets, carpets, and tires. None of these look like the oil that comes from underground.

Different technologies are used to change resources into products. Before this can happen, the resources need to be harvested or extracted. Resources that are taken from Earth’s surface are harvested. Resources that are taken from below Earth’s surface are extracted. So trees are harvested, and oil is extracted.

From the Ground to Your Bathroom

Copper pipes are used for plumbing. You may have some copper pipes bringing water to the bathroom in your house. These are the steps for turning copper into copper pipes:

1. Ore containing copper is mined from below Earth’s surface.

2. Ore is crushed, then ground into a powder.

3. The powder is concentrated so there is more copper in the mixture.

4. The copper mixture is smelted, or heated at high temperatures. This is done until it is 99 percent copper.

5. The copper is refined or made purer, then formed into big blocks.

6. Blocks are shipped to a manufacturer to make pipes.

That is one example of how we change a natural resource into a useful product.


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