Learn with Hanford Mills

Natural Resources: Pre-visit




Better understand natural resources, and explain the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources and apply their knowledge.


Students discuss the meanings of renewable and non-renewable natural resources and will understand how people have used those resources. They will also draw a diagram of the water cycle.


  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Class Time: 45 minutes


  • Explain the definition of natural resources.
    • Discuss natural resources as a class:
      Questions to Ask:

    • How do we use natural resources today?
    • Why were natural resources important to the world one hundred years ago?
    • How are natural resources important to the world today?
    • Explain renewable natural resources and renewable energy resources.
    • Ask students to name some renewable resources that they have seen used around them.
      • “Water as a Renewable Resource” Activity:

        • Ask students to draw and label the water cycle

        • Question: How can you tell by looking at the diagram that water is a renewable resource?
    • Explain non-renewable natural resources and non-renewable energy sources.
    • Ask students to name some examples of non-renewable energy resources.
    • Explain that when students are visiting Hanford Mills Museum they will see resources being used.
    • Ask students to learn the meaning of these terms during their visit to the museum: headrace, tailrace, millrace, and millpond.
    • This may also be a good time to cover the Pre-Visit Orientation Activity.
    • OPTIONAL: Consider asking students to bring notebooks with them to Hanford Mills Museum to record the natural resources used, and whether those natural resources were renewable or non-renewable.


  • • Participation in class discussion (listening and speaking)
  • Finished water cycle diagram.

    NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 1
  • Math, Science and Tech. Standard 1
  • Math, Science and Tech. Standard 4

Vocabulary & Spelling Words

    Energy Resources – n. sources of usable power, such as fossil fuel, electricity, water, wind, or solar radiation.

    Headrace – n. the race, flume, or channel leading to a water wheel or a millpond.

    Millpond – n. a pond for supplying water to drive a mill wheel.

    Natural Resources – n. the natural wealth of a country, consisting of land, forests, mineral deposits, water, etc.

    Non-renewable – adj. something that cannot be restored or replenished.

    Renewable – adj. something that can be restored or replenished.

    Resource – n. a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily used when needed.

    Tailrace – n. the race, flume, or channel leading away from a waterwheel or the mill.

    Water cycle – n. the route of water movement from the oceans to the air, to the Earth, and return to the air.