To frack or not

To frack or not

The extraction of gas from shale rock – hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – is widespread in the USA. Whilst some countries in Europe have banned fracking following concerns that substances used in the process pollute water, others want to exploit shale gas reserves to provide new – and cheap – sources of natural gas. In this activity, students decide whether they support a ban on fracking. They apply their knowledge of the properties of rocks to decide whether substances from fracking can get into water, and learn how to justify opinions.

Learning objective

  • Explain why a rock has a particular property based on how it was formed
  • Give opinions, present evidence to support their opinions, and explain their reasoning

Blueprint curriculum link

Lesson 1

  • Unit: Earth systems
  • Concept: Rock cycle: The three type of rock that make up the Earth's crust were formed by processes that link together in a never ending cycle
  • Learning stage: Apply

Lesson 2

  • Skills: Explanations: Argue for a claim with data and reasons
  • Learning stage: Analyse

Activity contents

  • Teachers guide
  • Two powerpoint presentations (lesson 1 and 2)

These lessons are delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download them.


Fracking video 1

A neutral view of fracking, explained in 5 minutes

Fracking video 2

Explanation of fracking from a fracking company

Fracking video 3

Several videos against fracking from a campaigning organisation

Fracking in Europe

This article from Deutsche Welle summarises the current state of play for fracking in European countries, and includes a useful map.

Newspaper article about EU fracking report

This article reports on a recent EU report on fracking.

Newspaper report in answer to the question ‘why is fracking bad?’

A clear and relatively balanced report on fracking

Fracking and drinking water in the USA

A report about contaminated drinking water in the USA

Pollutants from fracking

This long and detailed article describes pollutants from substances used in fracking, written from a particular perspective.