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Fossil Fuels Teacher Resources
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Junior geologists work through three mini-lessons that familiarize them with the formation and location of fossil fuels. Part one involves reading about petroleum and where it comes from via a thorough set of handouts. A lab activity follows in part two, in which investigators experiment with the sedimentation of different sized particles. In part three, they will examine maps of the distribution of oil deposits throughout the New York region. Use any one or all three terrific activities as part of your earth science curriculum.
Chemistry and earth science meet in a lesson on carbon dioxide emissions. After reading about atmospheric problems caused by using fossil fuels, science stars balance equations for the burning of different alkanes. They compute the number of moles of gasses emitted and consider the use of photovoltaics and other clean energy sources. Although it is only a paper and pencil assignment, it is well-written and pertinent when you want to open your chemists' eyes to the threat of climate change.
Future scientists are introduced to the chemical consequences of burning fossil fuels, learning that fossil fuel combustion leads to the formation of oxides of three nonmetals: carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, all of which end up in the atmosphere and water. They explore how when each of these oxides are added to water, an acid forms, in addition to threatning wildlife in our streams, lakes, and rivers, acids react with building materials as carbonate containing rocks and some metals.
Here is a good visual for demonstrating the nonrenewable quality of fossil fuels and our dependence on them: pass around an opaque bag of candy, allowing pupils to take as much as they want. You will have prepared the bag to not have enough candy for everyone. Learners compare how much each individual received. Then they relate the activity to the use of fossil fuels, considering their daily activities and the amount of energy that they consume. Use this activity as an anticipatory set when introducing energy use to your class.
Students examine the relationship between energy and the environment. In groups, they participate in experiments to discover the law of thermodynamics and the differences between potential, kinetic and mechanical forms of energy. They examine the different types of fossil fuels and determine which alternatives would be best for the environment.
Students calculate stoichiometrically the amount of carbon dioxide that would be emitted from burning a mole of varios alkanes that comprise fossile fuels. If the energy released from burning a mole of these alkanes is known, then the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of energy produced can be determined.
Students become aware of their dependence on fossil fuels. As an introduction activity not all students are treated equitably to emphasize that fossil fuels are finite resources. They are asked to list the external sources of energy used to address everyday needs in their lives.
As the title suggests, this is a simply summary of fossil fuels. There are no questions to answer or problems to solve, just notes about fossil fuels. The notes cover how fossil fuels are formed, how we extract it, what humans use it for, and what is produced as a waste product. Keep this for your own use as a guide to your lecture on fossil fuels.
Students investigate how pollution affects lung health. In this pollution and lung health lesson, students build lung models from a soda bottle and balloons, and then discuss how the emissions from fossil fuels can adversely affect lung health. They determine at least three things that they can do to protect themselves from lung disease.
Does the carbon cycle play a role in climate change? Your class will investigate what fossil fuels are and how they release carbon into the atmosphere. They get an opportunity to understand the causes of green house gases and global warming through the chemical process. A role-play activity and allegorical story are used help children conceptualize the process, then a class mural is created to illustrate the carbon cycle from dead forest to mining, to the air. A writing prompt is used to assess student comprehension. Note: The lesson activities seem more appropriate for a younger audience.
Where does all of the carbon dioxide come from that is supposedly leading to climate change? Earth science pupils test animal, plant, and fossil fuels as sources in this investigation. Using an indicator, BTB, they are able to detect the presence of carbon dioxide in their own breath, from an Elodea plant, and in car exhaust. Learners must be experienced in the lab in order to complete this worthwhile lesson. It would be a great addition when studying climate change or the carbon cycle.