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Students explore current information about natural gas and compare its greenhouse gas emissions to those of other fossil fuels. They take positions and debate the question: Should we expand our use of natural gas as an energy resource, using it as a "bridge fuel" to more sustainable energy practices in the future? Students support their position with evidence from a systems-based analysis of the extraction, leakage, and combustion of fossil fuels.
The activities targets the following critical thinking skills
and the following learning and innovation skills
This is a good resource for a variety of reasons.
Natural Gas: A Cleaner Energy Solution or Just Another Fossil Fuel? is an excellent resource in those subject areas that examine the issues related to renewable and non-renewable energy, climate change, human-environmental interaction, and more generally developing the critical thinking skills that are a prerequisite to informed citizenship.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
The resource poses a question about the merits of natural gas relative to other fossil fuels. Students undertake a structured investigation designed to have them consider the advantages and challenges of different fossil fuels in meeting energy demands. The investigation concludes with a debate in which the competing perspectives of the students are presented and challenged. The format is therefore deliberately designed to encourage the promotion and defense of different points of view.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The resource provides a framework in which students develop position statements with supporting evidence on the merits of natural gas. Central to that framework is an emphasis on what the resource calls " system model thinking" which requires that students consider the economic, environmental, and social consequences of any given fuel choice.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The introduction to the resource alerts students to the need to take a "systems model thinking" approach in their investigation. They are reminded that energy decisions in the real world are complex. Economic, political, environmental, and social factors are often taken into consideration. To apply a systems perspective when considering a fossil fuel's impact on climate, one would investigate the emission's involved with extraction, transportation, and the combustion process in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the implications of the energy choice.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
The teaching approach adopted by the lesson plan is described as "learning - for- use". This means that emphasis is placed on providing students with the skills necessary for them to invesitage and issue, to develop a position on that issue, and to defend that position. These skills are necessary if students are to undertake action on the natural gas debate or any other issue.
|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
|Values Education||Very Good|
The systems model approach adopted in exploring the merits of natural gas requires that students assess the environmental, social, and economic benefits and challenges associated with its development. Such an exercise may be expected to help students consider the value they give to each and the debate format will further help them clarify the priority they attach to each of these concerns.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
While not an overt objective, one may assume that any investigation of the causes and consequences of climate change assumes a concern for humans and may lead to a heightened understanding of the challenges it presents to different regions and diverse peoples.
|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|
In helping students investigate and debate the potential impact of different fossil fuels on climate, the resource helps students gain a better understanding of the consequences of climate change for the Earth and all living things.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The lesson plan does not direct the teacher or the student towards an examination of the local relevance of the exploitation of natural gas but since "fracking" of natural gas is an issue currently being debated in all regions of the country, such a link would be natural.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The investigation of the benefits and challenges of natural gas is viewed relative to the use of other fossil fuels in the past and its possible use as a "bridge" fuel as we plan for a future less dependent on CO2 generating fuels.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The lesson presents students with a question -Is natural gas a cleaner energy solution or just another fossil fuel? and then outlines a systems model approach designed to have them articulate and defend their answer to the question posed
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
In investigating the question posed by the lesson plan teachers and students would need to incorporate a variety of subjects.
It should be noted that the lesson plan advocates a systems thinking approach that would require students to integrate these subjects in pursuing their response to the question asked.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The lesson plan determines the question to be addressed - How does natural gas compare with other fossil fuels? - and provides students with a series of organizers to assist in investigating the issue, articulating a response to the question and debating the competing perspectives which emerge from their investigations.
The question is both relevant and significant and the answer is determined by the students.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The lesson plan adopts a variety of teaching strategies to explore and debate the question posed.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The lesson plan has both a specific and general application. Students explore an issue - natural gas resource development - that is both current and significant but they also exercise intellectual skills that are important if they are to participate as informed citizens in the debate on other issues of the day.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work with others in their group (for/against) in preparing for and participating in the debate on natural gas as a bridge fuel to more sustainable energy practices in the future.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
The resource outlines a number of informal assessment opportunities
|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.|
As part of their preparation for the debate on natural gas, students develop individual position papers with supporting evidence. These position papers are then subject to peer review followed by open discussion in which students offer constructive criticism on the arguments they have read
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The resource includes, as additional resources, a number of case studies that are part of National Geographic Education about Energy Case Studies series.
|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 lesson plan includes a combination of teacher directed discussion and student activities. In organizing for and participating in the debate, students may assign or assume responsibilities that reflect their interests and talents.
|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.|