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Moving Oil Case Study

Secondary

Description

Every day, nearly 100 million barrels of oil moves from deep below the Earth’s surface to the fuel tanks of more than a billion vehicles, furnaces and pieces of machinery. In this case study students will examine the different ways by which oil gets from place to place and evaluate the various impacts of the different methods. The lesson is organized in three stages.

Minds On: Students begin by analyzing images relating to oil transport to elicit first impressions, determine prior knowledge and raise questions.

Action: Using a structured research template and variety of information links and documents provided with the resource, students examine four methods of transport, compare information to determine a position on the issue and formulate viable arguments to support their point of view as which is the best method for moving oil.

Consolidation: Students consolidate their learning about transporting oil by creating a short persuasive opinion piece in the form of an essay, multimedia presentation or other method of their choosing.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The individual lessons teach a number of skills associated with  

  • observation
  • organizing and managing information
  • comparing and contrasting
  • evaluating sources
  • collaboration
  • communication

Strengths

The  greatest strengths of the resource lie in its-

Content - the issue of moving oil is both current and critical with respect to climate change and one of which students should be informed. 

Pedagogy - the guided inquiry approach adopted by the resource allows a healthy balance in providing a structure for students to investigate the issue and an opportunity for students to come to their own conclusions about the issue.

Weaknesses

In examining the options for moving oil, the resource implies that we must choose one of the options. In the real world however option A may be preferable to option B in a given situation or for a given purpose but not in another situation. We obviously are not asked to choose between tanker trucks and ocean tankers or pipelines and ocean tankers. The real choice would seem to be between pipelines and rail.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource includes a section Curriculum Connections that identifies the grade level, the course and the strand/unit/topic in each Province or Territory where there is an opportunity if not a requirement to examine the issue of moving oil. 

In a more broad context, the resource has relevance for topics such as sustainable development. science and technology, resource extraction and use, and public policy.

The resource should be viewed within the larger context of climate change and our dependency on and consumption of fossil fuels.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Stewardship 1010: Introduction to Stewardship
        • Fostering Stewardship 1020
        • Natural Resources 1110
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Motion, Change and Transportation Safety
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Resources 2130
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Mines - ENM3040: Energy & the Environment
        • Energy and the Environment 3040
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainable Resources 11: Energy
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science and Technology 11:Science Module: Natural Resources and the Environment
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainable Resources 12: Mining: Hydrocarbon and Mineral Resources in British Columbia
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Introduction to Sustainable Energy: Cross Curriular
        • Introduction to Sustainable Energy:Awareness of Sustainability
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
      • Social Studies
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        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Geography 110: Natural Regions of the World
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Issues Facing the Global Village
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 1202: Economic Issues in Canadian Geography
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Resource Management and Population Dynamics
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Energy and the Environment
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Technological Design (Univ./College Prep.) Technology, the Environment, and Society
        • Transportation Technology (College Prep.) Technology, the Environment, and Society
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Technological Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Transportation Technology (College Prep.) Technology, the Environment & Society
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science Module: Natural Resources and the Environment
        • Technology Module: Transportation

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Economics (1)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Energy (1)

    • Energy Generation
  • Governance (1)

    • Government Regulations
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Transportation
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Appropriate Technology
  • Water (1)

    • Watershed Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The object of the lesson plan is to have students investigate the advantages and disadvantages associated with different options in moving oil. Students consult a number of resources to obtain relevant data, assess the benefits and risks involved, and prepare and deliver an opinion piece in which they argue for a particular means of moving oil. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

In assessing the merits of any given choice in moving oil, students are asked to record all relevant data in an organizer that requires they note the environmental, societal and economic considerations  associated with each of the choices - rail, pipeline, ocean tanker, and truck.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

While students will not emerge from the exercise as authorities on the issue of moving oil, they will realize that the answer is not easy or obvious but that competing arguments can be made in defense of each of the options.

In asking students to make a choice, however , the lesson sets up something of a false dichotomy in implying that we must choose one of the four options. There would seem to be, for example, no option other than trucks for short hauls and although one may compare the relative merits of pipelines and rail, there are situations in which we cannot choose between pipelines and ocean tankers.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Given the nature of the issue, it is difficult to imagine what actions students might take to influence policy in this area. What the lesson does do, however, is to better ensure that students will be more informed citizens as participants in the debate over moving oil. The final exercise in the lesson plan, the student opinion piece, helps them develop the skills necessary to weight the merits of various options and to be effective communicators in advocating for a particular option.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

While not suggesting that we have to choose between the economy and the environment, in arguing for a particular option for moving oil, students will have to consider the relative weight they give to the environment, the economy and societal well being.  Such considerations are an exercise in values clarification.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Resource is concerned with the impact of moving oil on humans in general rather than a specific group.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The connection to the natural world is implicit rather than explicit in that students are required to give consideration to the environmental effects in weighing the merits of various options for moving oil.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

One might argue that moving oil is by definition locally focused since the concern is on the potential impact on the region through which the oil moves. Since we all live downstream however, the impact may be felt beyond the local community. While not directed to do so, the teacher can help students explore the movement of oil within the context of their particular community.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

The lesson is concerned with the current debate regarding the movement of oil and the impact of the decisions we make on our future well being. It does not examine how we arrived at our current dependence on fossil fuels nor the possibility of reducing that dependence in the future. But this should not be regarded as a failing of the lesson. Today's debate is a real and urgent one and the lesson sets a limit for itself in focusing on that debate.

An assessment of how we move oil should proceed or follow from an examination of the consequences of our use of oil - climate change. This serves to place the issue in the appropriate context.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The lesson presents students with a question/problem - what is the best way to move oil?  The answer is left to the students To help students arrive at that answer, the lesson outlines what is essentially a generic strategy - identify and record the relevant data, weigh the implications/consequences of each of the options, articulate a decision that is supported by the evidence. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

The content  has relevance for a number of subjects - Environmental Science, Geography, Technology, Economics - and for skill development as it relates to gathering information, taking a position on an issue, and defending that position. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The lesson asks students the question - What is the best way to move oil? Students analyze visual images, compare information, complete structured research to create viable arguments, and present an opinion piece in support of their answer to the question posed.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The lessons makes use of a variety of teaching strategies as it moves the student from an introduction of the issue of moving oil to an informed position. Students examine images related to transportation of oil to activate prior knowledge and elicit first impressions. They employ an Anticipation Guide learning strategy to acquire preliminary background information about the four main methods of transporting oil and organize themselves into expert groups to research a specific method of transportation, as well as consider the pros and cons of that method. Students conclude the lessons about transporting oil by organizing and creating a short persuasive opinion piece, which might be in the form of an essay, a multimedia presentation, etc.

The resource makes liberal use of organizers to help students through each of these steps. 

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

The issue of moving oil is both critical and current as evidenced by the media attention given to proposed pipelines, accidents involving rail cars carrying oil, and oil spills in the oceans. The resource allows students an opportunity to examine the competing perspectives on how we get oil to market and to contribute to the debate as informed citizens.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

A number of the lessons in the resource are structured on student collaboration. The introductory lesson has students working in small groups to examine and report on various images illustrating the movement of oil. In subsequent lessons, students work in pairs or groups of four to complete an Anticipation Guide and to participate in Expert Groups.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Each of the lessons in the resource includes a section entitled Success Criteria that is intended to help teachers determine the degree to which students have met the content and skills goals of the lesson.  This allows for continuous formative evaluation. In the final lesson, students are provided with or helped to create an Opinion Piece Rubric that helps them identify and satisfy the criteria for a successful presentation.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

Students have several opportunities to learn from each other as they report to others or the class on their response to the introductory images of moving oil, defend their initial positions as to the best means of transportation, report as Experts to their Home Group on a particular transportation mode, and assess other's chosen method of transporting oil in the final opinion piece.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

The title of the resource is Moving Oil; A Case Study. In effect it has students assess the case made for each of the possible modes of transporting oil.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The pedagogy adopted by the resource is best described as Guided Inquiry. Students move through a series of structured lessons that allow them to recognize and assess the options we have in moving oil. They are guided in the gathering of relevant information but can exercise autonomy in how they report their findings and conclusions to others.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.