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About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing GPg
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Energy affects quality of life .
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Educators can implement several techniques to enhance the learning experience with the video. The topic lends itself to student debates on farming and the future, the pros/cons of biofuels, and a cost analysis of alternative fuels. Students can research and compare other potential benefits and drawbacks of other research technologies that produce fuel - for example, fuel produced from algae.
- See also other resources on the CLEAN site that can support a lesson on biofuels.
About the Science
- Video, produced in 2009, explores turning corn into ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. The rush to turn corn into ethanol has been profitable for Iowa's farmers, but accompanying research has uncovered some energy and climate drawbacks. It takes a lot of fossil fuel to grow and process corn into ethanol — so much that only about 20% of each gallon of corn ethanol represents new energy.
- Comments from expert scientist: The material briefly presents current issue and science associated with croplands for biofuel production. Cites current science at the time. The science is sound but this material is part science, part story telling with anecdotes and politics thrown in. The material works as intended, but the material is getting old and the science, politics, and business around the issue are changing.
About the Pedagogy
- This video also highlights the inter-connectedness of global agriculture, climate change, and economies.
- Background information very closely linked with the text of the video is provided.
- Transcript can be found in a pull-down menu but not downloaded. See also http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/science/ethanol_interactive.html
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