Primary Resources

Scroll down for links to useful sites and on-line resources.


Oresome Resources

Oresome Resources provides free on line resources with links to the Australian National Curriculum including powerpoints, fact sheets, units of works, interactives and virtual tours. Topics covered include: Geology, Mining, Minerals Processing, Environmental Management, Coal and Low Emission Technologies, Energy, Rocks and Minerals.


Minerals Downunder

This interactive resource is organised into seven sections. It provides information and on-line activities on mineral formation, exploration, different types of mining, the extraction of minerals from ore and the processes involved in transforming minerals into everyday products. Designed for the middle school years (5-8), it also uses the minerals industry as a context for enhancing students’ literacy skills. It contains links to additional websites and provides a Teacher Guide with student activities, and links to the Australian Curriculum. Minerals Downunder is also available as a free “ipad app”.

Follow this link to find further fact sheets and quizzes relating to gold, copper, silver, iron and mineral sands.


Minerals in Sport

"Minerals in Sport" Minerals and metals are used in all sorts of sports – not only the equipment used but also the venues the sports are played in. Explore the website below to find out how they are used in athletics (track & field) and cycling. Check out how the Olympic Games are so dependent on minerals and metals to make it such a memorable event – from the torch to the medal ceremony.


Units of work for Prep – Year 2

Our Special Place a unit of work designed for Prep. Students explore their local environment using their senses. The resource aligns to the outcomes of the Australian National Science Curriculum and incorporates the 5E’s.

Below our Feet a unit of work designed for Year 1. Students explore the ground and the area below it. The resource aligns to the outcomes of the Australian National Science Curriculum and incorporates the 5E’s.

Barren or Bountiful a unit of work designed for Year 2. Students explore the natural environment. The resource aligns to the outcomes of the Australian National Science Curriculum and incorporates the 5E’s.

Minerals Downunder is a multimedia resource covering the formation, use and management of Australia's mineral resources. It contains student activities designed to develop scientific literacy skills.

Minerals Downunder enables teachers to use the minerals industry as a context for enhancing students' literacy skills. The student information book uses a number of different genres, or text types, allowing comparisons to be made with other materials that students access.

The book and activities have been developed to support the achievement of valid educational outcomes in science and literacy.


Student Book

Student books can be ordered in sets of 10 for $22.00 or single books for $5.50 each (includes GST, postage and handling)


Teacher Guide

Contains activities to download and print for classroom use.

The Teacher Guide relates to the contents of the student book, as listed below:


Under Pressure - Mineral Formation

Activities for pages 2 and 3 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Explore with the students the layout of these two pages - their location within the book, the position of the title, the location of the photographs and the map, the content and labels on the photographs and the map, and finally, the cross section and its arrows.
  • Discuss the relationship between the title and the cross-section, focussing on students' understanding of the words 'pressure' and 'transformation'.
  • How do the photographs relate to the words in bold on these pages.
  • Ask students to read the text and discuss the purpose of each paragraph. Comment on how the whole text is organised. Focus on aspects such as defining, explaining, classifying and describing.
  • Explain to students that they will be involved in writing a text on one of the minerals mentioned in the information book. This text will be an example of the information report genre.
  • Ask students to choose a mineral and direct them to use websites to locate other sources of information about minerals. Discuss in general terms what the students found at the various sites and record any information that will be useful as a reference for other students, such as the web addresses.
  • Download and print copies of the Information Report - Note Taking (Microsoft Word doc).
  • Ask students to compare the content of the texts they have found on minerals with the headings on this document. Similarly they could identify the similarities and differences in the organisation of the texts and the Note Taking headings.
  • Model how the students might use the Note Taking sheet (perhaps on an overhead) and how to use key words to record the main ideas for a mineral, metal or energy source.
  • Download and print the Information Report Scaffold (Microsoft Word doc). Demonstrate how their points on the Note Taking sheet can then be written up as an information report on this document. It is valuable to construct the first two paragraphs of a report with the students so they can see the choices to make when writing a report. For example, topics you write about in your report often appear at the front of sentences. Look for a sentence befinninf with the 'Minerals ...' or 'Valuable minerals...' The tense is usually the present tense.

Students are then ready to research the mineral they have chosen, use Note Taking sheet to record their notes and then writing a report using the Information Report Scaffold.

Map Reading

The map of Australia on page three indicates the location of mineral deposits and mining activity within Australia.

  • Students could consult to find the specific location of some other important mining and processing operations. Maps can be created at this website and printed for display in the classroom.
Literacy Activities


The Search is On

Activities for pages 4 and 5 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Students explore the relationships between the photographs, captions and title. Try to determine their understanding of what is being explained. Are the pictures in any order? How might they link the pictures with arrows to show the sequence? Having done this, can they relate the information in the print text to the photographs and captions? Could they suggest another main heading (eg "How and why do companies mine in certain places?")
  • Ask Students to suggest the genre or text type of the first three paragraphs. (These consititute a 'Sequential Explanation', explaining how data is collected, what happened to that data and the work that is carried out based on that data).
  • Students could consider which action summarises each of the pictures (using the captions as support). Similarly they could summarise the major action in the first three paaragraphs of the print text. Can they match these actions with the sections of the print text?
  • Students could discuss the content of the last two paragraphs on page 5 and suggest a sub-heading (eg what are the factors for deciding where to mine?)
  • Much of this text is presented as facts about how minerals are found and whether mining goes ahead where substantial mineral deposits are located. Ask students to identify other parts of the text where the publisher is trying to inform the reader about aspects of environmental management. (see for example the paragraph beginning 'Exploration Teams...').
Literacy Activity


Mining Australia's Minerals

Activites for pages 6 and 7 of Minerals Downunder Student book:

The Text Mining Australia's Minerals is an example of a taxonomic report. Such a report has a clear pattern in its structure and language. The overarching structure is the taxonomy of types of mining. Within each section, there is a clear pattern in the way the information is organised. This pattern is identified in the Types of Mining Expert Table and Types of Mining Jigsaw Matrix.

Point out to students that while the overarching genre is a taxonomic report, each section on mining is a sequential explanation. This embedding of one genre inside another is typical of longer, more complex texts.

The following tasks exploit these patterns by focussing on the content of each of the sections on types of mining using a jigsaw activity.

  • Download and make copies of the Types of Mining Expert Table and Types of Mining Jigsaw Matrix for each student.
  • Place students in groups of five, giving each member a number 1-5. These will be their 'Home Groups'. Divide students into 'Expert Groups' placing all the ones together, twos together and so on. These groups each study one mining type from the text Mining Australia's Minerals. They are to read, analyse and discuss their mining type, in order to complete their Types of Mining Expert Table. Once done, return to their 'Home Groups.' Ask them to share their information with other group members, in order to complete the Types of Mining Jigsaw Matrix. Note that the Undergroud Mining section includes two different types.
  • Point out to students that by engaging in this activity and similar activies in the Teacher Guide, they are taking on the roles of scientists involved with mining and hence are learning to speak and write like these 'experts'.
  • Students could complete this work by creating a glossary by making a list of technical words and their meanings. They could also add words from other sections of the book already covered.
Literacy Activities


Transformations - Processing the Minerals

Activities for pages 8 and 9 of Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Download and print Transformations-Processing the Minerals, and make enough copies for students to work in pairs.
  • Cut the text into strips separating the paragraphs and place a complete set in random order in an envelope. Give one envelope to each pair and ask the students to assemble the stips in the correct order. The students can then check their order with an adjacent pair and finally with the text in the Information Book.
  • As a class, discuss the language features that helped them to assemble the text. This prepares students for the literacy activity later in this section.
  • Now ask the students to use the visual text (images and layout) and the print text to identify the genre of Transformations-Processing the Minerals. They should be able to predict that it is a sequential explanation. Note that this example begins with a paragraph that prepares the reader for the detailed explanation of the process which follows.

At this level, students need to develop control over two key language features of the explanation genre. One relates to the direct links between the product of on stage of the process and the beginning of the next stage. The other relates to technical words that 'summarise' an action or series of actions.

  • Download and print Textual links in Transformations-Processing the Minerals from this website and make enough copies for your students. Ask students to identify where the information in bold is introduced in the previous stage. Discuss how the information in bold picks up the end result of the actions in the previous section. Ask students to consider whether they used these textual links when arranging the strips in the previous activity. Encourage students to refer to the other explanations in the Information Book in order to identify similar textual patterns there.
  • Download Transforming Language from the website and read aloud with the students the discussion on nominalisation contained within it. Students may need some preliminary scaffolding activity where you give some examples of your own before they complete the table Nominalisation-Transformation of Language. This activity can prepare students for reading and writing highly nominalised texts such as those in Environmental Management.
Literacy Activities


Environmental Management

Activities for pages 10 and 11 of Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Using the Types of Mining Jigsaw Matrix to review the types of mining and environmental issues raised. Students in small groups can discuss the likely impact of the different types of mining on the environment as well as any methods of environmental management they are aware of.
  • This text has a patterned structure of genres. As an introductory activity, students could explore the roles of the heading and sub-headings. They would need to identify the function of the major heading (to predict what the rest of the text is about) and then the sub-headings (to predict what the paragraphs under each are about).
  • As with other sections, discuss the role of the vusual texts and the inserted environmental policy and report. Discuss with the students the role that all of these parts play in realising the overall purpose of the text.
  • Following on from the nominalisation activity in Nonimalisation-Tranformation of Language, discuss the role of nominalisation in the headings for this Environmental Management section. Jointly identify the nominalisations in the headings, including the inserted reports and captions. One heading - Water does not have a nominalisation eg Water Conservation. In pairs, students could identify other nominalisations that are prevalent in this text.
  • Environmental management is presented in this section from the minerals industry's point of view. Discuss the various ways the text positions the reader to see that minerals companies are environmentally responsible. A context for presenting other points of view could be set up at this stage. This could involve students engaging in a debate where they take up a position as one of the following: a pastoralist, an indigenous person, an environmentalist, an unemployed mine worker or the chief executive of a mining company. Students should access a range of resources (internet, reference books, brouchures, newspapers) in order to build their knowledge from these different perspectives.
  • The Australian minerals industry is committed to achieving continual improvement in environmental, social and economic performance. To do this it has developed a framework for sustainable development called Enduring Value. The principles on which this framework is based. This text document is not enhanced by the use of images. Describe images that could be used to illustrate each of the principles.
Literacy Activity



Minerals in our Everyday Lives

Activites for pages 12 and 13 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Minerals are the source of metals. Bicycle frames can be made from a metal alloy containing melybdenum, chromium, manganese and boron. The bike spokes are made of stainless steel - another alloy. Conduct research to find out why alloys are often used instead of pure metals.
  • Students could examine various items around the classroom ar at home in the kitchen cupboards and their wardrobes to list the minerals, or the metals contained in minerals that are identified on the items for example, cereals and vitamin tablets, synthetic clothes. Metal Matters is a useful tool for this purpose.
  • As a critical literacy activity, students could also collect examples of texts or text extracts where certain minerals have been highlighted as a selling point such as tennis racquets, or computers. They could then consider the degree of relevance or hyperbole of the assertions made.
  • Students could consider a range of everyday objects, sucha as spectacles, music systems, utensils, pots, and bowls, in terms of the composition of the items at different points in history, eg buckets and bowls that were once made of tin are now made from plastic. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic instead of metals?
  • On page 12, it states that in a lifetime an Australian could use: 200 tonnes of coal, 175,000 litres of oil, 55 tonnes of limestone, 50 tonnes of iron ore, 12 tonnes of phosphate and 4 tonnes of lead-zinc oil. Make a list identifying how these products of mining would be used to enhance an Australian's lifestyle.
  • Conduct research to find out how the metal aluminium is extracted from the mineral bauxite. Then create a flow chart showing steps needed to create a bicycle wheel rim out of aluminium.


Going for Gold

Activities for pages 14 and 15 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Discuss with students the different meanings of the major heading Going for Gold such as mining gold, competing for a gold medal, various gold rushes in history.
  • Students could then analyse the photographs and their captions, group them (historical aspects, appearance of gold, current gold industry, storage options) and then check which parts of the text are linked to the pictures.

Going for Gold is typical of texts at this level. It is made up of more than one genre, otherwise known as a multi-generic text.

  • Ask students to identify some of the language features of the first and last sections and ask them to identify which genre these are, noting that the featrues of historical recounts include past tense, specific people of importance, specific dates and places.
  • Ask students to work in pairs to identify the genre and major language features of the second section which is a report organised into classification, qualities and uses. Its features include present tense, the work 'gold' often at the front of the sentences and technical words.
  • As a class, analyse the third sectin in terms of genre and language. The purpose of this section is to instruct the reader in how to fossick. Ask students how this sectin could have been written to make it quite clear that they were indeed instructions. For example, this procedure could be written using features of a typical procedure. The goal could be 'How to Fossick.' A list of essential requirements (such as permission from the landowner, a map of the area), numbered steps or dot points and commands using the imperative mood (eg 'Scoop up the sediment from a creek bed in a pan'). Students could rewrite Anyone Can Go For Gold - Fossicking for Gold Today in this way.
  • Ask students to identify the explanation found at the end of the report Going for Gold - The Gold Industry Today. What process does it explain? Students could then use the same schematic structure of this text to write one on another precious material such as opals or diamonds with a title such as Opals in the Outback. Otherwise, students could focus on one aspect of gold and write a lengthier example of each genre, such as a report on Gold in Religion, or an historical recount on World Gold Rushes.


Fascinating Mining Facts

Activities for page 16 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

  • Students work in pairs, using Fascinating Mining Facts, to change some of the facts into questions and answers to use in a mining quiz.
  • Students could then use the other texts in the Information book to make a list of ten fascinating mining facts of their own, again as questions and answers to add to the mining quiz.



Activities for page 17 of the Minerals Downunder Student book:

Students can reinforce their technical language on mining and minerals by working with the Glossary in a barrier game.

In pairs, students use the Glossary Barrier Game to match the definition with the technical word.


Minerals Downunder website

Minerals Downunder is supported with a website for further information on all topics. It was developed collaboratively with Geoscience Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia.



Treasures from the Earth

Treasures of the Earth has been written for students at Level 4: Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS).

The aim of this unit is for students to explore the "Treasures from the Earth" to discover where they are, what they are, how much there is, how valuable they are, how we get them, who gets them and what happens when we do!!

Click on the links below to access and download Treasures from the Earth:


Unit Activites and Activity Sheets


Click on the links below to download extra resources for Treasures from the Earth and click on the extra links to get to great education websites for more information and resources.

Extra Links


Rock Files

The Rock Files provide a background introduction to each of:

  • Aluminium
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Tin
  • Iron
  • Diamonds
  • Titanium minerals
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Opal

Suitable Yr 4 — 8



K-4 Readers

This illustrated set of five booklets is designed for children from Kindergarten to Year 4 (and beyond) to assist the development of literacy skills while at the same time introducing aspects of how we search for, mine and process minerals into the metals we use every day.



Victorian Mineral Fact Sheets


Interactive Mineral House

Find out how much your lifestyle depends on mining. This is an interactive activity in which students select common household items and materials, such as mobile phones or carpet, to access facts about them. The facts include such details as chemical nature, properties and uses as well as information about their origins in the earth, mining and production. Most examples of deposit locations are drawn from Queensland.



Victorian Minerals industry sites



Other useful links