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Car Quest
http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/curriculum/WWFBinaryitem5970.pdf

World Wildlife Fund

In this activity, students will determine the environmental effects of existing cars and a fleet consisting of their dream cars. They compute how many tons of heat-trapping gases are produced each year, how much it costs to fuel the cars, and related information. Then, students research and prepare a report about greener transportation choices.

Activity takes four to five 45-minute class periods some of which can be assignments to be completed outside of school. Computer with Internet access 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
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Energy Literacy

Energy decisions are influenced by environmental factors.
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5.6 Environmental factors.
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Energy decisions are influenced by several factors.
Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.
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6.6 Behavior and design.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
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6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.
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Human use of energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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E) Environmental Issues.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Objects made up of a small number of atoms may exhibit different properties than macroscopic objects made up of the same kinds of atoms.
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Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
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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

  • Advise appropriate school personnel about this activity before going out to conduct "research" in the parking lot, making observations of cars. Also, be sure you can visually monitor all students as the groups "spread out" among the cars.
  • Students should be encouraged to write from a more scientific perspective vs. a personal preference. Compare and contrast a "dream car" with more conventional alternatives.

About the Science

  • The science in this activity is fuel efficiency of various vehicles using data from the environmental protection agency (EPA) and other similar sources. The focus of activity is on the environmental impacts of each and on making informed choices about the vehicles we use.
  • The concept of analyzing the fleet of vehicles increases statistical validity and adds business-level relevance.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is basically a Webquest but engages students in issues that directly concern them -- vehicles they and their families/friends/teachers drive, the environmental impact of different vehicles, and the fuels they use.
  • Can be used with a very diverse group of students; ELL students could be paired with other students.
  • Only a limited rubric is provided for assessment.
  • Thoughtful discussion questions are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Computers with Internet access are needed.

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