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In this four-part series, hosts Zoe and Eric take students on video field trips to the oil sands operation in Northern Alberta. Students learn what oil sand is, why it is important, how it is taken out of the ground and the challenges involved. The videos discuss how bitumen is produced by plants, and the techniques used to separate the oil from the sand. The final video discusses the environmental implications of the process including water use, tailing ponds, landscape disturbances, and the need to balance environmental and economic needs. The videos come with an accompanying teachers guide, student work sheets, answer keys and extension activities.
This video series can be used to address outcomes in middle level science that deal with heat and temperature and the role of thermal technologies in sustainable energy development. Environmental science classes could use the videos to show the impacts of technology on the environment in a Canadian context. It could also be used in geography and social studies classes to promote discussion and debate on the importance of finding ways to balance the economic and environmental needs of the planet.
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