Synthetic Materials versus Natural Resources Unit


Students learn about the differences between natural resources and synthetic materials and how each has impacted society.

Grades 7 and Up

This bundle was specifically designed to TEACH and ASSESS NGSS MS-PS1-3: Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society. All of the work has been done for you – from start to finish!

Bundle Includes the Following Lessons:

  1. Synthetic & Natural Materials Impact on Society READING & ANALYSIS
  2. Synthetic & Natural Materials Introductory WEBQUEST
  3. Synthetic Products from Natural Materials WORKSHEET
  4. Synthetic Materials of the Future RESEARCH PROJECT
  5. Natural & Synthetic Materials Impact on Society TIMELINE PROJECT
  6. Formal Assessment

Individual Lesson Descriptions:

Synthetic Materials Impact on Society Reading & Questions: (Includes Google version!) In this activity, students will:

  • READ the article “Natural & Synthetic Chemicals: Good Guys & Bad Guys“, about natural and synthetic chemicals, how synthetic chemicals can be made from natural resources, and interesting examples of how chemicals have impacted society in both negative and positive ways.
  • ANSWER text-dependent analysis questions.

Synthetic Products from Natural Materials Worksheet: (Includes Google version!) This activity has 2 parts:

  • ARTICLE: Students learn how synthetic materials are made from natural crude oil.
  • WORKSHEET: Students answer text-dependent questions.

Materials of the Future Research Project: (Includes Google version!) This activity includes the following components:

  • CHOICE: Students choose from a provided list of 17 “materials of the future”.
  • RESEARCH: Students follow clear instructions to find information about their material, including source, properties and function, and potential impact on society in the future. To make the research easier, students are provided a “Research Organizer” that serves as a guide for what questions to research as well as a place to record their findings.
  • PRESENTATION: Students create a presentation to present what they have learned.
  • RUBRIC: This project is a breeze to grade using the provided, simple rubric.

Natural & Synthetic Materials Impact on Society Timeline Project: Students learn about 20 materials that changed history, such as salt, penicillin, and plastic. JUST PRINT, CUT, ASSEMBLE! Everything you need is included for students to create a Natural and Synthetic Materials Impact on Society Timeline. Two differentiated versions are provided.

Synthetic & Natural Materials Introductory Webquest: (Includes Google version!) This web activity is not based on any particular website, rather students use Google to find the specifically requested information. Therefore, it is best suited to classes that can independently find information online and pull information from text. In this webquest, students will:

  • Define synthetic and natural materials.
  • Research 8 different products, each of which has a natural and synthetic version. List the source of the material, properties, and function of each version (synthetic or natural).
  • Research the advantages and disadvantages of 3 commonly used materials that have both synthetic and natural versions.

Assessment: This natural versus synthetic materials quiz includes different question types to measure student understanding of NGSS MS-PS1-3. The 10 Questions include multiple-choice, analyze a brief text to identify the pros and cons of a synthetic vs. natural resource, and analyze a brief text to make a claim based on evidence.

Teacher Notes:


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Synthetic Materials versus Natural Resources Unit”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click below to tell us which type of lessons you'd like to receive.