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Material Resources: Definition & Uses

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  • 0:00 What Are Material Resources?
  • 1:15 Uses of Material Resources
  • 2:20 Renewable vs. Nonrenewable
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

What are material resources? Learn about what our planet has to offer and how we use those resources to our advantage. See how much you know by taking a quiz.

What Are Material Resources?

You're walking through a forest, marveling at the beauty of the trees. Suddenly, you decide it might be nice to build a house here. You realize that if you cut down a few of the trees, you can both clear space and use the logs to build the house at the same time. You've just realized that a material (wood) can be used as a valuable resource.

Or, let's say you come home from the beach one day, and you accidentally drop some sand from your shoe into a hot oven. The oven is so hot that the sand melts, and when it hardens, you find a piece of clear glass. Suddenly you get excited and collect more glass so that you can have enough to build a window. You've realized that another material (sand) can be used as a resource.

Material resources are materials found in nature that can be used for practical, human purposes that are considered to have value. You can sell houses, and you can sell glass windows, so both of these things certainly have a value in money. But as long as humans think an item has some value, it's a material resource. There are many material resources, including wood from trees, edible plants that can be used as food, sand to make glass, metals extracted out of rocks, and chemicals from plants that can be turned into plastics.

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