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Fuel Cells
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/eng06.sci.engin.systems.fuelcells/

NOVA scienceNOW, Teachers' Domain

This humorous video segment includes prominent roles for NPR’s Robert Krulwhich and the Car Talk hosts. It highlights the electrochemical reaction that takes place within a hydrogen fuel cell and explores the challenges of producing the pure hydrogen that fuels it.

Video length 5:50 min.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe

Energy Literacy

Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
Other materials addressing:
4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
Other materials addressing:
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Other materials addressing:
Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • This is a good addition to a unit on energy.
  • Could be used in a chemistry class that is doing an electrolysis experiment, and would fit well in an environmental science class when alternative energy options are explored.

About the Science

  • One segment of the video “enacts” the remove of electrons through the semi-permeable membrane of the fuel cell with a tennis court net standing in for the membrane. The segment ends with two hydrogen atoms bonding together and then one of the hydrogen atoms bonding to the oxygen atom, suggesting an incorrect bonding arrangement.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Background essay and discussion questions are included as well as links to other resources within Teachers’ Domain. Together with the video, the resources provide a very clear, although fairly superficial, explanation of how a fuel cell works.
  • There is a "viewing ideas for teachers" link at the end of the background essay that suggests ways to use this in a lesson.
  • Excellent narration and engaging physical models to drive home the chemistry principles.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • If viewed on-line in full screen mode, the picture is grainy. Best to download to view full screen.

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