Kean University Continuing Education
Implementing the Science Standards K-4
Four Natural Resources
The Environment is comprised of two major categories of components:
the living environment and the nonliving environment. The
living environment consists of all of the plants and animals that live
in a particular habitat, region, area or biome. At the lowest level, these
make up a community.
The nonliving environment contains the components that are not alive.
These are the physical components which can be summarized as soil/rock,
air, water and sun.
- Soil/Rock. This category contains all of the rocks in the environment
that is being studied as well as the soils that are encountered in the
environment. Certain soils are characteristic of certain environmental
regions. Forests contain much organic material in the soil so the soil
is known as loamy. The soil in the desert is dry and sandy. Rocks play
a role in the environment as well. Red rocks generally contain iron. This
works its way into the soil above the rocks. Much good farmland contains
loamy soil with lime in it. The lime originates in the limestone beneath
- Air. Air is found in the atmosphere. It is also found dissolved
in the soil and water to some extent. All higher organisms require the
oxygen in the air to breathe. This includes all of the animals, plants,
fungi and protozoa. An exception is the anaerobic bacteria which have no
need for air or oxygen. The living creatures use the oxygen in the air
for cellular respiration. This process occurs in all higher organisms inside
their cells in organelles known as mitochondria. The oxygen in the air
has resulted from the process of photosynthesis by green plants. The Earth
is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Photosynthesis by green plants
has been producing oxygen for approximately half of that time, approximately
2.5 billion years.
- Water. Water is essential for all life. Earth is a planet with
over 3/4 of its surface covered with water. Water is the major constituent
of living things. Most creatures are approximately 90% water. Living things
need water in order to maintain metabolic balance and to keep from drying
out. Many organisms such as fish live entirely in the water. Some animals
such as frogs have part of their life cycle in the water and part outside
the water. Land animals live entirely out of the water. But, all organisms
require water. In the environment, water is circulated by means of the Water
- Sun. The Sun provides energy in the form of light. The energy
from the sun is used by green plants to make food by photosynthesis. This
provides the base level of the food chain. The green plants are the producer
organisms which utilize the Sun's energy to make food. Animals which eat
the plants are known as primary consumers. They, in turn, are food for
secondary consumers which eat them. This constitutes a basic food chain.
This simple food chain is found in the natural environment. The source
of energy in the food chain is the Sun. This is true for all parts of the
surface of the Earth including the land and the upper parts of the ocean.
The four natural resources; soil/rock, air, water, sun; constitute the
major components of the physical environment.
- Pictures of various plants and animals in varied habitats collected
- Science Journals
1. Students discuss the components of the environment. They make a list
of things found in the environment that are alive. They make another list
of things in the environment that are nonliving.
2. Students analyze the pictures that they have collected. They draw
lines pointing to various components of the environment and label them
with the name of the component and whether it is living or nonliving.
3. Students make lists of their nonliving components and how they are
classified according to the list of the four natural resources.
1. Students make a list of the living things in the environment that
utilize sunlight directly. They make another list of living things that
are dependent on the organisms that utilize the sunlight. They arrange
pictures of these living organisms to make food chains.
2. Students make a list of naturally occurring objects that are made
of rocks. They identify areas where rocks are found in the area of the
3. Students make a list of naturally occurring bodies of water. They
classify them according to whether they are lakes, rivers, streams or others.