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Car of the Future

Jeff Lockwood, NOVA Teachers

In this activity, student teams research and develop a proposal to decrease the carbon footprint of their city's/town's public transportation system and then prepare a report that explains why their transportation plan is the best for their community.

Activity takes about four class periods. Computer access is necessary.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
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4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Energy infrastructure has inertia.
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5.2 Energy infrastructure has inertia.
One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.

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

  • Educators will need to preview activity to determine what prerequisite knowledge is required before the start of this project.
  • Have the groups with "the best" proposals present them to school administrators or community members to raise awareness.
  • Educators could use the jigsaw cooperative group method to organize students for this activity - divide students into 4 alternative technology groups and after students have become experts on their one area, reorganize groups to write proposals so that each group has one member from the original alternative energy groups.

About the Science

  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
  • Activity addresses concerns about air pollution, CO2 emissions, and the U.S.'s dependence on imported oil and introduces students to the following areas: hydrogen fuel, ethanol fuel, vehicle engineering, and hybrid and electric cars.
  • Internet resources are provided as background readings for each area.
  • Excellent worksheets and resources.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This resource is relevant to current issues (CO2 emissions reduction, alternative fuels, renewable technologies, vehicles) and it can be expanded upon, and will help students think about current and future issues in US.

About the Pedagogy

  • Student driven project with collaborative groups working together to create a final presentation.
  • Good visual materials are provided.
  • Interesting NOVA program clips (8-10 mins each) are provided for each alternative technology.
  • Group work, research, discussions and presentations will engage learners of different learning types.
  • Sample rubric and assessment questions provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to follow, step-by-step directions for the educator are provided.

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