Utilization Strategies

Lesson Plans

Meet the Teachers





Angela Baker and Brian Sica
University of Idaho




This lesson plan examines the human impact on our environment and alternative fuel sources.


Students will identify existing methods for providing fuel, and energy to the world.

Students will create possible, yet logical solutions to resource limitations with the aid of college seniors in the Engineering program at local Technical school and after seeing examples of what scientists are doing already to solve this problem (video clip and internet sites).


Real Science: Fueling the Future: Introduction to electric engines.
Internet Bookmarks for "alternative power sources":

Computers in Classroom (2 students per computer)
12-15 available college seniors in Engineering


We've been discussing the environment for the last two class periods, more specifically human impacts and the effects of those impacts on our environment. Today we are going to look at and then brainstorm some alternative methods for obtaining the things we depend on like energy and fuel from other sources that aren't non-renewable as many of the things that create energy and fuel are.

After introduction, have students take out their Biology journals and write down some of the resource problems we have been discussing (e.g fuel shortages and effects of using fossil fuels, hazardous wastes, water quality - make sure they tie it into non-renewable resources). Also have them brainstorm a few solutions that they can think of off the top of their heads to the problems they wrote down.



To give students a specific responsibility for viewing have half the class note what renewable resources are mentioned and the other half of the class note what non-renewable resources are mentioned.




START the video about two minutes in where scientists are trying to create an electric engine to run cars versus using gasoline because it is a non-renewable resource. STOP the video after the car sequence is over.

After the video make sure to point out the problem (gas shortage) and the solution (electric engine) and discuss why the electric engine may or may not help solve the gas problem.

It may save gas in one respect but don't they have to charge the electric engine somehow - what will be the power source used to do that?


Each line is worth a total of two points.

0 = No effort or did not do assignment.
1 = Effort but still needs work / more clarity
2 = Met standards / very clear and concise

Students identified a power source problem..

Students worked well with college students and each other to find a logical solution to their problem (college student will give this grade).

Rough draft was completed before second period.

Final draft addressed problem and solution in an understandable and clear format (no huge grammar errors, etc.).

Project was presented well (divided evenly amongst members, etc.) Total points = 10 points


Biology Journal grading collected at end of Unit.

Class observations - at internet, with group, etc.

Project (draft and presentation to be graded by following attached rubric).



After the discussion hand out the alternative power project guidelines. Tell them briefly about what will be expected of them and then show them some examples of projects done in the past or an example you have created. After giving out the assignment, give directions for internet activity BEFORE students leave desks to go to computers. (Note sites should be bookmarked on computers.)

We are going to look at some bookmarked web pages now. The pages that have been chosen for you will have some more information about electric engines as well as some other alternate power sources that are being tossed around by scientists. We will be looking at the first bookmarked sight together so I can point out some important features of it. Take a good look at each of the bookmarked sights. Be thinking about which example you would like to expand upon, take some notes, draw pictures, etc. One last thing before getting up to go to the computer, pick a partner to work with that will be your partner for the entire project. Remind students: Do not search the internet - the only sights you need are bookmarked. Also do not click on any of the links listed at any of the sights. I have bookmarked all the sights you will need.

Have students go to the computers with their partners.

Have them then go to the first listed bookmark: http://home.earthlink.net/~fradella/car.htm
and point out the research behind the project (electric car) etc…

Bring students back to desks at five minutes to the bell. Tell them that college Engineering students will be there to help them the next class period with their projects but they need to have a pretty good idea of what they are doing before the students can work with them.

In other words they need to bring in a rough draft to have the teacher look at before assigning a college student to their group.

Before class meet with college students letting them know what they are to help out with is the technical stuff but to allow the students to be creative!

Immediately get students into groups with the college students so that both can get the benefit of time working together after double checking rough drafts.

When there is about 15 minutes left of class have the students within their groups decide who is going to present what of their project the next class period (both members must speak). Then tell the students to make sure that they each hand in a final draft of what they came up with in the next lecture (after presentation).

Thank college students for their participation.

Immediately start student presentations (should take ½ to ¾ class period). Followed by a discussion of the project as a whole.

For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!

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