More! Rocks in Your Head

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Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas; Non-renewable Resources

This short activity, adapted from the More! Rocks in Your Head earth science workshop will show why coal, oil, and gas are classified as non-renewable.

One poster will show how coal forms over millions of years. 

One poster will show how oil, and gas form over millions of years.

One poster will show how long coal, oil, and gas have been accumulating. The poster will have black beans on it, which represent coal, oil, and gas. Time scale: 1 second = 100 years, so 1 day = 9 million years (long enough to produce coal, oil, and gas).

For a group of kids:

  1. I will explain the formation posters.
  2. I will explain the time scale.
  3. We will use a plate of beans – the same number of beans as on the poster.  The beans represent the accumulated coal, oil, and gas.
  4. The kids will each pick a country, peel off a label of the country, and wear the label.
  5. The kids will gather around the plate of beans. They will take beans off of the plate (utilizing resources; using them up), taking off 3 beans per second.
  6. We will show that as the beans are leaving the plate at a fast rate, they are still being formed … at a rate of 1 bean per day.
  7. This shows that we will run out of this resource; it is non-renewable.

For more information about the More! Rocks in Your Head workshops, please see

October 15th, 2011 11:00 AM   through   4:00 PM
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