Day 1 – Resource Depletion Overview


  1. Standard – 6.1.12.A
    Predict the long-term consequences of decisions made because of scarcity 
  2. Standard – 6.1.12.B
    Evaluate the economic reasoning behind a choice. Evaluate effective allocation of resources for the production of goods and services 
  3. Standard – 6.2.C.E
    Analyze the characteristics of economic expansion, recession, and depression

Opening Discussion: Resource Dependence and Community

(10–15 minutes) 

This discussion is meant to get students to start thinking about the concepts involved in this curriculum. Potential topics/questions:

  • Do you know what a resource-dependent community is?
  • What do you think would happen to a community if it lost its main sources of income or employment?
  • Is there a resource or system here in your community that has a large cultural and/or economic impact?
  • e.g. a particular business, industry, university, or common space?
  • What do you think might happen if that resource or system left your community? Consider how it would impact your community’s…
    • Economy
    • Culture
    • Schools
    • Perception (internal and external)
  • Is it possible for individuals and a community to adjust after losing such an impactful resource or system? How?

Lecture: Resource-Dependent Communities

(10–20 minutes)

Introduce students to some of the key terms and concepts utilized in the lesson. More detailed answers and explanations for these questions are this curriculum’s accompanying document, the Teacher Key

  • Introduce basics about After Coal, contextualizing the curriculum
  • Explaining what resource-dependent communities are and how those featured in the documentary had formed
    • Resource-Dependent Communities
    • South Wales & Central Appalachia
  • Explaining how coal jobs left the communities in After Coal
    • Automation of coal industry
    • Global, cheap competition
    • Decreased reliance on coal
  • Explaining the effects of the communities losing their primary resource
    • Job Loss
    • Poverty and associated issues
    • Population leaving community
    • Cultural impacts

Documentary Clips: Community Recovery Efforts

(15–25 minutes)

Show video clips from After Coal that explain how the communities began to recover after coal left. Feel free to show as many or as few of these as you’d like.

  • d.o.v.e. workshops (27:08–30:45)
  • Farming as a local business (37:35–39:45)
  • Community Music Projects (32:30–35:40 and/or 45:35–50:25)
  • Outdoor Recreation (35:45–37:05 and/or 39:50–41:40)

Encourage students to explore some of the websites of these local business when they return home. These websites can all be found on

In the teacher key there are guiding questions that go along with these websites, meant to help students think more critically about the communities’ post-dependency efforts.