The Extraction of Natural Gas through Hydraulic Fracturing on the Marcellus Shale Formation in Pennsylvania

Author: John DiFiore


Cassidy Elementary School

Year: 2011

Seminar: The Marcellus Shale and Pennsylvania: Energy, Money, Trout

Grade Level: 4

Keywords: geology, marcellus shale, natural gas, water

School Subject(s): Geology, Science

This unit is designed to supplement the fourth grade unit on Land and Water, and the sixth grade unit on Land Forms, as stipulated in the School District of Philadelphia curriculum.

The Marcellus Shale formation, the largest known shale deposit in the world, is the source of vast deposits of natural gas. The economic and environmental impact of the extraction of this gas will be a major issue in this state in the foreseeable future. This five-lesson unit will focus on the geology of Pennsylvania, natural gas as an energy source, hydraulic fracturing, and environmental concerns. Background information in these areas will be provided by tables, graphs, charts, and maps. A list of related books videos, and websites will also be provided. The students will work with inexpensive hands on materials to enhance their understanding of geological and environmental concepts. Students will work in a small group (4-6) for lessons of 45 minutes in length. Elements of lessons from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the basis for a portion of the hands on activities. A variety of assessments will be used: informal teacher observation, verbal student reports, daily “Do Now” written reports, and student illustrations.

Lesson 1: Geology – Students will review the basic Earth structures, rock formations, and Pennsylvania topography, including waterways. Students will view a video on Earth’s structure.

Lesson 2: Where does the Water Go? – Students will perform a water percolation experiment to demonstrate how groundwater moves underground to form aquifers

Lesson 3: Hydraulic Fracturing: How is it done? – Students will examine a picture/diagram of hydraulic fracturing and complete a well model experiment.

Lesson 4: Natural Gas: What are the benefits? – Students will review and analyze the benefits of natural gas and the possible environmental concerns of hydraulic fracturing in the Pennsylvania greenways.

Lesson 5: Evaluations

Download Unit: 11.03.02.pdf

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