Hybrid Vehicles: Are They Worth It?
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jul 15, 2015
In this project, students compare and contrast hybrid electric and gas-only powered vehicles, with an emphasis on associated fuel costs. In particular, during an in-class activity, students learn about hybrid vehicles and also how to convert mileage driven to a corresponding dollar value based on a vehicle's MPG rating. Afterward, students are assigned a group project in which they: (1) use descriptive statistics to analyze the cost of gasoline throughout the U.S.; (2) investigate the question of whether it makes financial sense to purchase the more expensive hybrid version of a vehicle; and (3) consider the broader implications of owning a hybrid vehicle. Students present results of their investigations via an oral presentation.
- Reflect on fuel consumption, the monetary costs associated with driving, and vehicle emissions
- Build effective coalitions
- Engage in civil discourse/communications that lead to more effective decisions
- Increase their literacy around sustainability issues
- Self-reflect and develop their voice and skills for solving societal challenges
- Think creatively to envision and build a sustainable future
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
In this project, students find the average price of gasoline in each state from the internet, and use Microsoft Excel (or other data analysis software) and elementary descriptive statistics to analyze the data. Students are then asked to research hybrid electric vehicles and determine whether purchasing a new hybrid vehicle is more cost effective than purchasing a new vehicle of the same make and model that runs solely on gasoline. In other words, students address the open-ended question of whether the money saved over the years by using less gasoline would compensate for the higher purchase price of the hybrid version of a car. Finally, students are asked to consider the broader societal question of whether hybrid vehicles are "worth" the extra monetary cost. Students are expected to present their computations and results via an oral presentation with an accompanying visual display.
Gasoline and Hybrid Vehicle Project (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Sep23 18)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources