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Car of the Future
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/activities/3507_car.html

Jeff Lockwood, NOVA Teachers

In this activity, student teams research and develop a proposal to decrease the carbon footprint of their city's/town's public transportation system and then prepare a report that explains why their transportation plan is the best for their community.

Activity takes about four class periods. Computer access is necessary.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg

Energy Literacy

Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
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4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
Energy infrastructure has inertia.
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5.2 Energy infrastructure has inertia.
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Energy decisions are influenced by several factors.
One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.
Earth has finite energy resources.
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6.4 Earth has finite energy resources.
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Human use of energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Social and economic forces strongly influence which technologies will be developed and used. Which will prevail is affected by many factors, such as personal values, consumer acceptance, patent laws, the availability of risk capital, the federal budget, local and national regulations, media attention, economic competition, and tax incentives.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
When selecting fuels, it is important to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of each fuel.
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Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators will need to preview activity to determine what prerequisite knowledge is required before the start of this project.
  • Have the groups with "the best" proposals present them to school administrators or community members to raise awareness.
  • Educators could use the jigsaw cooperative group method to organize students for this activity - divide students into 4 alternative technology groups and after students have become experts on their one area, reorganize groups to write proposals so that each group has one member from the original alternative energy groups.

About the Science

  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
  • Activity addresses concerns about air pollution, CO2 emissions, and the U.S.'s dependence on imported oil and introduces students to the following areas: hydrogen fuel, ethanol fuel, vehicle engineering, and hybrid and electric cars.
  • Internet resources are provided as background readings for each area.
  • Excellent worksheets and resources.

About the Pedagogy

  • Student driven project with collaborative groups working together to create a final presentation.
  • Good visual materials are provided.
  • Interesting NOVA program clips (8-10 mins each) are provided for each alternative technology.
  • Group work, research, discussions and presentations will engage learners of different learning types.
  • Sample rubric and assessment questions provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to follow, step-by-step directions for the educator are provided.

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