Jump to this Video »

WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment, adapted from Need to Know, discusses how the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is used to extract natural gas and how the process may be polluting water resources with hazardous chemicals, leading to health concerns.

Video length: 5:44 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Fracking is a controversial political subject. This video may be used to introduce a discussion of the tradeoffs between need for increased energy supply and environmental damage and human health impacts that may result from extraction activities.
  • Another discussion point could be the question of confidentiality with respect to intellectual property vs public health.

About the Content

  • An animated diagram shows how the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is used to extract natural gas.
  • The resource also discusses the health and pollution problems that are potentially associated with the process.
  • One of the challenges of investigating the possible link between the contaminants and illness is that the gas industry is not required to disclose which chemicals they use in fracking fluids, as that information is protected by intellectual property rights.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video and background essay provide a good basic description of hydraulic fracturing. Attention is given to relevant concerns and benefits, and the science appears to be accurate if somewhat one sided. It appears the resource was produced prior to 2012, based on the facts that the Need to Know television series that it draws from ceased production in 2013 and the essay makes reference to a report to be released in 2012. Understandings of fracking's impacts and industry transparency have both changed in the intervening years. While secrecy related to exact compositions of fracking fluids remains a concern, industry is considerably more likely to reveal fluid composition now than was the case four years ago.

About the Pedagogy

  • A background essay, discussion questions, and a link to standards are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The resource has closed captioned text.
  • The video resolution is not sufficient for classroom projection. Educators can download this video via a free registration with Teachers' Domain.
Entered the Collection: February 2017 Last Reviewed: May 2016

Jump to this Video »