A different kind of fuel

PBS has a great lesson plan to use when discussing the need to develop an alternative form of fuel with your class.

The increase in the world’s population combined with declining fossil fuel supplies has created the need to develop an alternative form of fuel.  In this video segment adapted from Curious, scientists are developing ways to create fuel using the earth’s greatest energy supplier, the sun.  In order to harness this energy, scientists are attempting to recreate photosynthesis and store the hydrogen fuel released during the process.


Students will watch a video segment that discusses the world’s need to find a replacement for fossil fuels and scientists’ attempts to produce energy from the heat of the sun using a man-made photosynthesis process.  Students will then answer questions by using their understanding of the text and details from the segment to support their answers.

Why is this an important concept?

Learners must be able to interpret various informational texts including those with a scientific basis (i.e., doctor’s reports, warning labels and nutritional information).  In these instances students need to be able to use context clues to help them define words or phrases that are unknown to them.  They also must be able to generate inferences based on the facts and data provided and use these inferences to determine the overall message of the text.



  1. Hi Ann,

    Colleagues in the UK may be interested in the Generation Green project in UK schools. There are curriculum free resources for 4 – 19 year olds focusing on exactly the sort of issues you have highlighted above. Below is the briefing I was sent.

    http://www.generationgreen.co.uk re-launched!

    · Generation Green has re-launched – and is now supporting schools with competitions for technology / installations that will help them become more sustainable.

    This term’s prize is for insulation, but other prizes will include Solar PV panels (electrical ones over heat), and biomass boilers

    · Prize this term is to win up to £5k worth of loft and cavity wall insulation – 25 schools will win before the end of 2011 Autumn / Winter term

    · Money Can’t Buy experiences are also up for grabs for classes of students – including visits to a wind farm in Scotland, energy centres in the Midlands and lamplighters tours in London

    · To enter the competition, you simply engage with the website. You gain entries by uploading and downloading lesson plans and activities – assisting teachers all over Britain deliver sustainable messaging

    · Free to sign up, engage with the programme instantly, and the prizes are free of charge to the school

    Important note – British Gas prizes are only available for schools in Britain. NI is excluded, as are teachers who are not associated to a school.

I would love to hear from you