Lesson Plan: How Coal Is Formed


Based on the article “How Coal Is Formed”

Click here for a printable PDF version of this lesson.


Lesson:  Understand and identify the steps that occur when coal is formed.

Objective:   Students will be able to identify the cause and effect relationships that lead to the formation of coal.

Overview:  Students will watch an animation that shows the steps that occur over time when coal is formed.  After watching this, students will go back over each slide and identify the cause and effect that occurred at that time period.  Students will record this information on the worksheet.

Standards Addressed:     National Science Education Standards, Content Standard F

  • As a result of activities, students should be able to develop and understanding of changes in an environment, whether man-made or created by nature.


Activity Steps:

  1. Watch through the animation on how coal was formed.  Students should watch this at least two times, taking notes of the steps that occurred.
  2. Using the recording worksheet, students will look for cause and effect relationships that occurred.  One way to present this to students is to use the following started to help: Because of _______________________, this happened. Students will find cause and effect relationships in the video and record them in the boxes on the sheet.


After recording, have students present their findings to the class.  Compare the cause and effect relationships that were chosen by each student.  Which ones were common to most?


Create a visual time-line to illustrate each step.